Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Elections

In an election, the people vote, but the people do not win.

Political power always wins an election.

And the spiritual powers of evil that manipulate political power never lose.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Donald Trump

Bill Bonner seems to sum up Donald Trump better than anyone.

Just a few short years ago, in 2015, Mr Scaramucci told Fox Business that Mr Trump’s palaver was “anti-American” and that he was just a “hack politician.”

That must have been the most inaccurate assessment of his future boss ever made. “The Donald” is the opposite of a hack. Hacks are reliably dull and serviceable, like a kitchen faucet. Trump is more like a loose fire hose, shooting water all over the place and soaking everyone.

Nor is Trump a politician. Politicians are smooth operators who will say whatever they need to say to get what they want. What is endearing and refreshing about Mr Trump is that he is not a politician.

As near as we can tell, the president is more like a playground bully. In and out of scrapes all his life… failed casinos, failed marriages… vulgar, indecent, and mean… he is as “The Mooch” described him – an “inherited money dude from Queens County” who somehow ended up in the White House.

And anti-American? Wrong again.

Mr. Trump captures the zeitgeist of his era better than anyone – when middle-aged Republicans long to hear the F-word in public... law-abiding Christians from Iowa can’t wait to send a drone to kill people in the Hindu Kush... and every geezer, coast to coast, seems happy to have the feds pay for his pills with money his children and grandchildren haven’t even earned yet.

Mr. Trump is a brawler. Now, he’s in the fight of his life, and he loves it.

Around him, his lackeys, sycophants, and handlers scrap for places at the table – the Goldman guys on the left, protecting the fake money system... the generals on the right, protecting the crony empire.

A third of the country loves him. A third of it hates him. And a third – the most intelligent group – doesn’t give a damn.

Meanwhile, the whole spectacle is entertaining for everyone, like a traffic accident or a nasty divorce. The press can’t take its eyes off Donald Trump.

It’s Trump. All Trump. All the time.

And more.
Donald is a lot of things. He is a skilled street fighter… a practised brawler… a lusty scrapper. But he is woefully unprepared for the battle now upon him.

The president spent his entire career building his brand – big, brash, bold… and somewhat buffoonish.

Like a professional wrestler, he was able to charm the crowds with his brawling style and winner image.

Pick fights. Say outrageous things. Stay in the public eye. Slam his opponents with scurrilous or irrelevant epithets (“Little Marco” Rubio… “Bleeding From a Facelift” Mika Brzezinski… etc.).

Substance didn’t really matter. Trump steaks? Trump University? Trump Airlines? How could any human being possibly be good at so many different things?

Of course, he couldn’t. He just had to be good at building the Trump brand. And that meant sticking to his swashbuckling, confident style.

He was even able to take his brand all the way to the White House, using the same techniques on the campaign trail that he used on his reality TV show.

And once he took office, the plan was simple. He would surround himself with the top guys from the Deep State – the moneymen and the gunmen… the Goldman guys and the generals – and he would go on being Trump.

But something went wrong.

Mr Trump seems genuinely perplexed by it... And he, the president, is doing exactly what he is supposed to do – distracting the crowds while zombies feed upon them and cronies pick their pockets.

People should be happy, he thinks. They should be enjoying the show. Instead, the battle grows more intense and mean.

And the mainstream media – which was supposed to play along by engaging in pointless, showy squabbles with the president – has turned vicious.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

American Nationalism

Anatol Lieven has an interesting book about American nationalism called America Right or Wrong. He says,

America enjoys more global power than any previous state. It dominates the world not only militarily, but also to a great extent culturally (p.1).
Despite this reality, many Americans are frustrated and angry. Lieven explains that they hold deep-rooted beliefs that often conflict with each other, and also with reality.

Most believe that Christian faith has made America great. Yet...

The religious beliefs of large sections of this core population are under constant, daily threat from modern secular culture, above all the mass media.
The extreme tension between fundamentalist religious values and the modern America mass culture, which now surrounds them is an important cause of the mood of beleaguered hysteria on the American right, which so bewilders outside observers (p.9).
Wealth
A “moral economy” prevailed for most of American history, whereby a man who worked hard, was honest and did not drink or take drugs could be assured of a steadily rising income, enough to support himself and his wife in their old age and go give his children a head start in social advancement through education (p.219).
Unfortunately, this seems to have stopped working.
Perhaps of equal importance in the long term will be the relative decline in recent decades in the real incomes of the American middle classes where these groups are situated socially.
This decline has had the effect of forcing more and more women to work, thereby undermine traditional family structures even among those groups most devoted to them (p.9).
Goodness
Like European imperialists of the past, Americans genuinely see their country’s national interests as coterminous with goodness, civilisation, progress and all the interests of humanity (p.28).
This belief in American innocence, of “original sinlessness” is both very old and very powerful. It plays a tremendously important role in strengthening American nationalism and in diminishing the nation’s willingness to listen to other countries, viewed in their turn as originally sinful (p.53).
Other nations are declared to be irrationally, incorrigibly and unchangeably hostile. This being so, it is obviously pointless to seek compromises with them or try to accommodate their interests and views. And because they are irrational and barbarous, America is free to dictate to them or even conquer them for their own good. (p.17).
Openness
Americans believe they are an open nation, welcoming refugees. Yet the long-standing tendency in American culture and politics reflects an expression of social economic, ethnic and above all racial anxieties.
These anxieties stem from the progressive loss of control over society by the “original” White Angle-Saxon and Scots Irish populations, later joined by others. Connected to these concerns are class anxieties.
In America, the supremely victorious nation of the modern age, large numbers of American feel defeated. The domestic anxieties this feeling of defeat generates spill over into their attitudes to the outside world, with 64 percent of Americans in 2002 agreeing that “our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence”.
These fears help gives many American nationalists their curiously embittered, mean-spirited and defensive edge, so curiously at variance with America’s image and self-image as a land of success, openness, wealth and generosity. Over the years, the hatred generated by this sense of defeat and alienation has been extended to both domestic and foreign enemies.
Unfulfilled dream
This sense of America not just as an unfilled dream or vision, but also as a country with a national mission, is absolutely central to the American national indemnity and forms the core of the nation’s faith in its own “exceptionalism”. It was inscribed on the Republic’s Great Seal as America’s birth as a united nation Novus Ordo Seclorum: A New Order for the Ages (p.33).
Informally, an important part of the creed is also the belief that the United States embodies and exemplifies the only model of successful modernity in general: “Americans see history as a straight line and themselves standing at the cutting edge of it as representatives for all mankind”.
The myths attendant on the Creed include a very widespread belief that the United States is exceptional in its allegiance to democracy and freedom, and is therefore exceptionally good. And because America is exceptionally good it both deserves to be exceptionally powerful and by nature cannot use its power for evil ends. The American Creed is therefore a key foundation of belief in America’s innate innocence (p.49).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Keith Giles

I recently listened to the podcast of an interview of Keith Giles by Preston Sprinkle. I was amazed and impressed.

  • Keith Giles is a trained theologian who has served in many church roles, choosing not to take a salary and working with a church in his house. That does not happen often. Especially one that would consider it a failure if he ended up pastoring a thousand people. He seems to be working out some of the principles that I described in my book called Being Church Where We Live, which describes a radically different model for doing church. It focuses on shared leadership with balanced gifting.

  • Keith goes on to talk about his book called Political Entanglement. The clarity with which he exposed the problem was stunning. Looking from the outside, it is obvious the church’s entanglement with politics is wrong and damaging. So it is great to hear someone from the inside, challenging Christian entanglement with politics.

His talk is worth a listen.

I agree with Keith that politics is not the solution to the problems that Christians are using politics to solve. In my book called Government of God, I advocate a solution based on voluntary sharing and caring, rather than political power. The book explains how a radical model of church can resolve the problems of politics.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

US Foreign Policy

Last weekend, I read a coup of interesting articles about US Foreign Policy.

Michael Brenner argues that American governments assume that, because they are the most technologically advanced and richest nation ever, any objective they choose will be achieved if enough resources are committed to it.

There are features of how the United States makes and executes foreign policy that help to explain why Washington is repeatedly thrown into confusion by unforeseen developments. Most significant is a certain linearity of thinking and action.
Every objective must yield to American know-how, ingenuity and strength of will.
He calls this linear thinking. This belief has several unfortunate side effects.
1. Policy failures caused by contingent developments are not recognized as such – neither the negative outcome, nor the disruption of the original plan by unforeseen developments. Hence, nothing is learned.
2. Unforeseen impediments are treated not only as troublesome surprises, but as somehow illegitimate and offensive…. Of particular interest is that developments which are entirely natural and logical given the circumstances are pronounced are unnatural and surprising because they disturb the linearity of American thinking.
3. In other words, the linear mindset blocks out all non-conforming realities in the present and those contingent elements which might arise in the future. Nor does it pay the slightest attention to how achievement of that objective, or some approximation to it, could provoke reactions that carry new dangers and new threats down the road.
4. Yet another tack taken by linear thinkers to avoid confronting the full implications of their limitations is the insistence on “another try.” That persistence has little to do with cool-headed determination of the objective’s importance. Nor is it justified on the grounds that the fly in the ointment (monkey wrench in the gears) that doomed previous efforts has been identified and removed. Rather, it is an expression of a primitive belief in the ultimate triumph of the will. That is an attitude that fits well the deeply rooted American “can-do” spirit. And that failure is not an acceptable word in the American lexicon.
5. The most extreme method utilized by the linear mindset to prevent constructive or ambiguous factors from disturbing their pre-set plans is to negate them – to ignore their existence.
6. A variant of this particularly immature psychological ploy involves the disparaging the importance of unforeseen occurrences.
Brenner gives examples for each side effect.

Harvey M Sapolosky gives further explanation.

Absent a rival on the scale and power of the now dead Soviet Union, the United States is a very secure country. We are the richest country in the world, protected by two big oceans and a military that is second to none. Our population is big (we are the third most populous nation) and resourceful, claiming the leadership in nearly every line of science and technology. And we spend a fortune on our defense, and have done so for decades. So mostly we meddle....
Our wars, though constant, are without victory... There are no wins because we really don’t care that much. Our security isn’t at risk. Win, lose or draw, we are safe. The other people live where we fight.
One president gets us involved in some distant conflict because he fears being shamed for not leading a global posse to right the wrong. The next president tries to get us out because our allies in the fight are shirkers and/or totally corrupt and the costs of buttressing them are too high. Mostly we are half in and half out of every crisis. Nothing requires a fight to the finish... we are drawn to—and easily distracted from—every fight.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Political Change

Some time ago, I sensed that a spirit of destruction had set up a throne the gate of the city of Wellington (the capital city of New Zealand).

We appeared to be heading up to a boring election, but in the last two weeks, we have seen the careers of two national political leaders being destroyed.

The first leader to be destroyed Andrew Little was the leader of the main opposition party in New Zealand. He was a sincere man, but his position was weakened by poor opinion polls, and some unwise comments to the news media that exposed him to a move to replace him. The new leader of the Labour party is a younger woman with charisma and television presence.

The second leader to be destroyed was co-leader of the Green Party. She resigned after coming intense media pressure. She had announced that twenty years ago when she was a sole mother she had given false information when applying for a benefit.

This is not politics as usual, but a sign of what the spirits of destruction and confusion when working together.

The general election is only eight weeks away. I suspect that another national political leader out of Wellington will be destroyed before that day comes.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Prophets to the Nation

God has been restoring his prophetic ministry. He now has many prophets to his church, but still very few prophets to the nation.

Prophetic people should be clearer about who they are addressing. Many say they have a word for America (or the United States) when really it is a word to the Christians in America, ie the church.

The destiny of the church and the nation can be quite different, especially when the church is a minority.

Many Christians in America feel like they are under pressure. God is telling them to press in and he will turn their situation around and lift them up. Many prophetic people are speaking that way to America, but this is actually a message for the church in America.

God's message to the nation and its political leaders is different. America is the most powerful nation in the world, but it seems to have lost its way. The leaders of the United States need a clear word from prophets to the nation, not an encouraging, but irrelevant word from prophets to the church.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Surprised

When Peter and John healed the crippled man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, the people were astonished. Peter said,

When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you (Acts 3:12).
That’s an interesting question, one that we all need to think about. The crowd were astonished, but Peter was suggesting that it was not surprising. This was normal, now that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Peter explains:
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see (Acts 4:15-16).
God has raised Jesus from the dead. He is the author of life. The crippled man has been completely healed by in Jesus.

Jesus has been raised from the dead, so healing of the sick is now normal. Peter and John were applying Jesus’ standard method for sharing the gospel.

  • Go to a public place
  • Heal the sick
  • Wait for the crowd to gather
  • Proclaim the good news of the kingdom.
We should not be surprised if the method that Jesus told us to use actually works. Peter does not seem to have been surprised. He had seen Jesus use this method. He had used it when he was sent out with the Twelve.

If we think that a crippled person being completely healed is surprising, we are standing with the unbelievers in Jerusalem, not with Peter and John.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

War Zone

Here is a question?

Would you walk across Afghanistan on your own (with a pistol in your pocket). Most people would say “No!”, because there is a war going on and it would too dangerous. That is sensible.

Here is another question. Which is the most dangerous? The physical war in Afghanistan or the spiritual war in the place where you live and work.

I don’t know what you would answer, but I believe that the spiritual war is more dangerous than the physical war. More people are hurt and injured by spiritual war than physical war. Yet we spend most of days wandering around on our own (with our bibles in our pocket).

Actually there are plenty of secure place in Afghanistan. There are large pieces of territory that are secured and controlled by the side that you identify with. If you stay on this territory, you will be relatively safe (nothing is guaranteed in life and war).

Getting back to spiritual war, where is the territory that has been secured by your side. In the days of parishes, churches took territory seriously. Now Christians drive to church, so no one cares about territory. There is very little territory that has been secured by the people of God. This makes life dangerous for followers of Jesus.

Government of God explains the importance of territory for Jesus, and how his people can secure territory for him.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Positive Vision

We live in a culture where everyone is critical. Televisions screens and newspapers are full of material critical of the powers that be. Twitter takes this to a new level.

I believe that sharing a positive vision, and of course, living it out so the world can see is more important.

When I was re-writing my book Being Church Where We Live to correct some things that had been misunderstood, I felt the Lord tell me to remove all critique of the existing church and concentrate on sharing a positive vision. I think I succeeded, but funnily enough, some people said they preferred the previous version. Sadly, I think their enjoyment of the critique, prevented from seeing the vision being articulated.

In my recent book Government of God, I had to include some critique of the existing establishment, because the vision is so radical, but I put it in a separate section at the end, where it can be ignored. I wanted to concentrate on communicating a positive vision.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Peter

After Peter and John were released from prison, they prayed and quoted a prophecy by David.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together against the Lord
and against his anointed one (Acts 4:25-26).
Peter understood that the rulers of the nations are opposed to God’s purposes. God responded to the prayer by re-filling them with the Holy Spirit.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31).
God was doing something much bigger than the nations and their rulers. He was bringing in the Kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Many Christians still hope to use the power of the nation state to establish the Kingdom of God. Peter understood that God could do something more powerful through the Holy Spirit.

Government of God

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Chosen Nation (4) Kingdom of God

Actually, there is no hierarchy of power in the Kingdom of God. Neither for people or nations. The Kingdom of God looks like this.

The Holy Spirit can speak to every follower of Jesus. They can all hear his voice and know Jesus will. They do not need another person to tell the what Jesus is saying.

Distinctions between nations break down, as loyalty to nations is replaced by loyalty to Jesus. Citizens of the Kingdom have no nation.

The only special role in the Kingdom of God is that of elders (some are pastors, some are apostles, some are evangelists, some are prophets, others are judges). Their role is to serve the people that God has entrusted to them. This mostly involves watching from a distance, praying for them, giving advice and warning about possible mistakes. The elders do not control the people they are caring for. Their only authority is what people have freely submitted them. Because it is freely submitted, it can be freely taken away again at any time.

So the Kingdom of God really looks like this.

The elders are at the bottom, because their role is to serve the people. That have no authority, except what people gave to them.

I describe this more fully in Government of God.

Chosen Nation (3) Self Chosen

Some Christians actually think that the Kingdom of God looks like this.

They assume that God want the chosen nation controlling all the other kings and nations of the world. For many people, the chosen nation is the United Sates. God has chosen it to dominate the world to make it a better place. This view does not come out very well in the book of Revelation.

Johns Vision
John saw a vision of a Woman riding on a Beast. In this vision, the chosen nation is the woman and the nation that controls the other nations of the world is the Beast (Rev 17:1-6). The woman is Israel (Rev 12:1-6), and the Beast is a powerful nation that dominates the nations of the world.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Chosen Nation (2) Incorrect Views

Many people have a distorted view of the Kingdom of God. They think it looks something like this.

They assume that Kingdom of God comes into reality when the King or President is a Christian, or at least lead by God. This is why contesting elections have become such an important objective.

The problem with this view is the duplication of kings. A kingdom cannot have two kings. If Jesus is the king of the Kingdom of God, then other kings cannot have a role in his kingdom. A kingdom with multiple kings will be a divided kingdom, that cannot stand.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Chosen Nation (1)

Before Jesus came, God worked through a chosen nation. God did not choose the children of Israel, because he liked them better than other people. He chose them because Abraham was faithful and he had a task for them to do in the world. God needed Israel for two key reasons.

  1. He needed a place on earth where he had permission to operate freely. That place was the promised land. He would eventually make this a safe place to send his son.

  2. God wanted Israel to demonstrate the benefits of living under his law (Deut 4:6-8). If Israel had applied God’s system of government, local judges applying his law, the nations would have seen how well it worked and copied it.

Israel failed to live up to its calling.
  1. They rebelled against God, and went into exile. The promised land was ruled by foreign empires: Babylon Persian, Rome. God’s authority to operate in the land was significantly constrained. He had to wait a long time before it was safe to send Jesus.

  2. Israel rejected God’s system of government and chose to be ruled by a king, like the other nations. The wisdom of God’s law was never demonstrated.

This difficulty did not hold God back, because it was only the first step in his big plan. He sent Jesus to get the second stage of his plan underway.

Jesus did not come to restore the chosen nation, although that was what was expected (Acts 1:6). The chosen nation was just a step on the way to God’s much greater plan for redeeming the entire world. Jesus announced the Kingdom of God, which is a much broader concept than a chosen nation, because the Kingdom of God covers the entire world.

Jesus did attempt to restore the chosen nation. He announced that it would be destroyed soon after his ministry on earth was complete and the Kingdom of God had been inaugurated (Luke 20:9-15; 21:20-24).

Jesus explained that the Kingdom of God does not need a chosen nation, because it would be within them (Luke 19:21). This does not mean that the Kingdom is invisible. Rather Jesus was saying that the Holy Spirit would be within each believer, telling them Jesus’ will and empowering them to obey it. God’s kingdom comes as Jesus will is done. Jesus’ will is done, as people obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he poured out the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not just come on the chosen nation. Rather, Jesus poured out the Holy spirit on people from all the nations who had gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5-11). They would take the gospel of the Kingdom back to their homes and spread the Kingdom of God into all the world. They would teach the people of the nations to do Jesus’ will (Matt 28:20).

The outpouring of Pentecost and the inauguration of the Kingdom of God made the chosen nation redundant. A few years later, in AD 70, the chosen nation was destroyed by the Roman Empire and the Jewish people scattered among the nations into exile. A chosen nation was no longer needed, because the Kingdom of God had come.

God no longer needed a piece of land on earth in which to work, because the Holy Spirit could work in people all over the world. He would be a river of living water flowing out from within them into the surrounding people (John 7:38). The ministry of Jesus shifted God’s scope of activity from a small piece of land to the entire world (Matt 28:19).

God will eventually save the chosen nation, but not by restoring them as a nation with their own king. Instead, they must become part of the Kingdom of God, through trusting in Jesus, and obeying the Holy Spirit (Rom 11:26).

The chosen nation no longer responsible for bringing salvation to the world (apart from proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom). Rather it finds salvation by coming into the Kingdom of God.

God has been happy to let his Kingdom run on for 2000 years without a chosen nation. Clearly his kingdom can function without one. Not that different people have not tried to become a chosen nation for him. The kings of the Holy Roman Empire thought they were the chosen nation for a couple of hundred years. Then the people of British thought they were the chosen nation. Now many people in the United States assume that it is the chosen nation. Some believe that the United States and Israel have this role together.

The truth is that when God scattered Israel amongst the nations, he did not appoint a chosen nation to replace it (except in the sense that all citizens of the Kingdom of God are a chosen nation (Rev 1:6)).

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Mary's Prophecy

When Jesus was still a baby in her womb, Mary gave a wonderful prophecy. She said,

God the Mighty One has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
The prophecy has not been fulfilled yet. Mostly because the church has colluded with the rulers sitting on thrones.

Government of God explains how kingdom communities can lift up the humble, so that human rulers become redundant, and Jesus becomes the only ruler, from his throne in the heavenly realms.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Missing the Boat

I became a Christian in the early 1970s. It was an amazing time to be a follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was moving in amazing ways. People were coming to faith all over the place, in the oddest ways. Demons were being cast out and people were being set free. We went to conferences where people were being healed. The worship was amazing. There were no worship leaders cavorting on the stage, but the presence of God was so strong, you could hardly stand.

Our generation’s experience of the Holy Spirit in the 70s and early 80s was unprecedented. A few heroes in earlier generations had greater intensity, but not the widespread move we experienced. It was like the Spirit was “poured out on all flesh”.

Yet looking back to that time, it feels like our generation has missed the boat somewhere. This generation received so much, but we do not have as much to show for it as we should. The church is stultified and the culture is going down the gurgler. That is not what I would have expected following such an amazing move of the Holy Spirit.

Much is expected from those to whom much is given. Something must have gone wrong.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lamp of the Body

Luke 11:33-36 is an interesting passage.

One meaning is that we must be careful about what we look at. If we fill our eyes with evil things, it can contaminate our entire being and living.

However that message does not seem to exhaust the meaning of the passage. The context of these words is that Jesus had just finished comparing the Queen of Sheba and the people of Nineveh with the current generation of his nation. The former sought wisdom and repented, but Jesus own people did not.

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light (Luke 11:33).
The message of the lamp is a challenge to his nation. It was supposed to be a light to the nations, but that light had become dark hidden under a bowl of sin. In our time it is a challenge to the church, which is also supposed to be a light to the nations.

The church is a lamp that must not be hidden. It should be on display, so that people will come to see its light. What causes the church to be hidden?

The eyes are the lamp of the body.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness (Luke 11:33).
Jesus was referring back to the words of Isaiah the prophet.
Yahweh has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep,
and he has shut your eyes, the prophets,
and he has covered your heads, the seers (Is 29:10).
The prophets are the eyes of the church. The prophets are the eyes of the nation. If the prophets are doing their job, the church and the nation will be full of light. If the prophets are distracted or deceived, the church and the nation will be filled with darkness.

The Pharisees were like prophets in Jesus time. They claimed to know the right way, but they were filling their nation with darkness.

If there is darkness in the church and our nations today, it is because the prophets are not fulfilling their role.

See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you (Luke 11:35-36).
When the prophets are functioning, the body of Jesus will be full of light. People will also be drawn to its light.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker was a guru of business management. He taught at Wharton School of Business. He was a Christian, and was involved as an advisor at the beginning of the mega church movement. Lance Wallnau (at 46 min) described his views as follows:

Peter Drucker said that the local church should be the deliverer of the community. A non-profit organisation (501(c)3 in America) is the only entity without a self-interested agenda. You cannot trust the government. If you give money to a government, it expand inefficiently, because it is non-profit motivated. If it fails, it demands more money.
The only safe way to solve our city’s problems is for Christians to start non-profits and plug the gaps that governments cannot meet.

This was Drucker’s dream for the mega church, but it has not happened.

Strong churches could extend services into social problem, and become the bridge between what government cannot do, and the citizens need to do. No one is philanthropy motivated like a kingdom person to get the job done.

Drucker said we could transform cities if non profit organisations became mega economic powers, with people with an agenda to fill the gap.

It never happened, due to self interest. Mega churches are only interested in increasing the number or people, number of views, number of staff and the square footage, because growth is a sign of success. They are only interested in serving their constituents, with a new building, a new program, or new gymnasium. The dream that Drucker had for the mega church was never tried.

Churches are not known as the people who have solutions to the problems of the city. They are known for their programs. These are five churches a good reputation, but they are not known for having solutions.

Creative non-profits should be coming up with newsworthy solutions to problems that the world will never solve. They should have solutions that other will copy. They should be problem solvers for the city.

This is a Jewish thing. The Jews got to be safe from persecution by being indispensable.

If Christians were smart, rather than just having big buildings and big gatherings, we would be indispensable to our city’s welfare. We should be the last people they want to persecute, because we would be the first people with the answers to problems.

In Government of God I explain how local community-based churches can provide services to the people in the community in which they live. They have an interest in doing this, because that is the only way they can survive and grow.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Gospel Healing

In the New Testament, healing and the gospel go together. However, Jesus said something challenging to the seventy-two disciples.

When you enter a village, heal the sick who are there (Luke 10:8-9).
Jesus does not say to pick someone out by word of knowledge and pay for them to be healed. No. He says to heal all the sick people who are there.

That is a challenge for people of faith that few of us have even considered. I guess that is why Jesus told his disciples to wait until they had received power from on high.

But if all the sick people in a village were healed by a pair of disciples, the gospel of the kingdom would be hugely welcome there.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Prophesying to Political Leaders

When a prophet has a message for a political leader, they must ask the Lord how it is to be delivered. Jeremiah’s words got through to the king, even when he was under guard. The prophet should be asking the Lord how he wants your message to be delivered. If it is important, God will have a pathway and establish connections to get it there. God will establish relationships for the prophet to link up to the right people.

There is more to being a prophet to the nation than announcing judgments on political leaders. Often the political leader is not the problem. The heart of the nation is more important. The heart of the nation will usually have allowed an evil person to rise to power. A nation gets the leaders it deserves. An evil leader might be the judgement on the nation, rather than the one who need to be judged.

Jeremiah spoke to the people of Judah first, because their rebellion against God was the real problem. It had brought on the attack of the Babylonians and the despicable kings that preceded them.

Speaking to the political leader perpetuates the idea that political power is ultimate. It makes an idol of political power. It assumes that a change in political power will solve the problems. That is never the case, because the principalities and power that control the nation remain the same.

The prophet should be asking the following question. What principalities and powers control the nation? Why are they there? Who gave them authority to be there? How does God plan to remove them? If you want to see you nation changed you will need to understand the spiritual situation and how God plans to change it.

A prophet should understand God’s plan and purpose for the nation. How is this going to work out in the current situation? How is God going to bring it about? These are things that a prophet to the nation needs to understand. A message that judgement is coming is incomplete. An effective prophet will share a vision of God’s plan for the nation. They will explain to the people of God what they need to do to be prepared for what is going to happen.

What is the state of the church in the nation? When the political situation in a nation is a mess, it is usually because the Church is not doing its job. Is the gospel being shared effectively? Is the church proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom? I would expect that change will have to come in the church first. How does it need to change? Are the prophets speaking God’s word clearly to the church?

A true prophet will share a gripping vision for the future, and a strategy for how to get there. They do not just give warnings of judgment.

A prophet warning of judgment must have an understanding of the stage the nation is at? I have delineated the stages of judgment at Prophetic Events. The type of judgment varies depending on the season the nation is in. I explain this in Discerning Seasons.

The role of the church is different in each type of season. It will usually need a prophetic warning to prepare the events in the right way. God wills often not send judgment until his people understand and prepare for what is coming. His prophets must assist with that.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Spiritual Struggles

The spiritual powers of evil are a powerful hierarchy of evil spirits, but they are not united. They do not like each other. Throughout history, they have fought with each other for control of the hierarchies of power. At different times, different strong spirits have been in ascendancy. Often two powerful spirits have operated alongside each other.

I have just published an article on Kingdom Watcher that describes some of their conflicts and struggles. This article is a bit speculative, as the Bible does not give the spiritual powers of evil glory by describing their activities in detail. It just gives odd hints of what is happening. I have tried to spell out some of these hints.

To read more, follow this link.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dutch Sheets

In a recent talk, Dutch Sheets said,

Authority is government. All government on earth is supposed to be a direct extension of the government of God, flowing through human beings into the earth, to release his justice, his righteousness, his peace, his salvation, his ways into the earth.
However, Dutch did not explain how this would happen. Government of God describes how the authority of God flows through his people to bring his peace and justice to earth.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Healing and the Gospel

When Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples, he told them what to do when they entered a house.

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a person of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. (Luke 10:5-6).
We need to think about what Jesus was saying here. When the disciples declared “Peace to this House”, peace will rest on the person of peace in the house.

How does this happen?

The Holy Spirit is our peace. The fruit of the Spirit is peace. So when a pair of disciples made the declaration, the Holy Spirit passes from them to the people in the house. These people will have the Holy Spirit resting upon them for the entire time that the disciples are in the house, even if they not yet know Jesus.

With such a strong presence of the Holy Spirit, speaking faith, bringing conviction and offering peace, these people would soon to follow Jesus and trust in him.

If the owner of the house is not a person of peace, the peace will return to the disciple. The Holy Spirit will flow back to the disciples who are visiting. Matthew says that in this case, the disciples should shake the dust from their feet and leave the house (Matt 10:13). They should go to a house where they are welcome.

Jesus approach would only work if the disciples are aware of the Spirit of Peace flowing from them to the people in the house. They should also be aware of the Holy Spirit returning to them, if he is not welcome. That is a challenge.

If we are serious about sharing the gospel in the way that Jesus recommended, we need to learn how to declare peace to a house with faith, so that the Spirit of Peace flows out from us to the people in the house (John 7:38).

We also need to learn how to discern the Spirit of Peace returning to us, when he is rejected by a person who is hostile to him.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bizarre Behaviour

Looking from the outside, the behaviour of journalists, academics and politicians in the United States seems bizarre. I cannot understand how politicians, academics and journalist can make such a song and dance about American democracy, but then work so actively to undermine its results.

They all seem to have accepted the Russians “hacked” the US presidential election story. There is no evidence for this, and no one has explained how it actually happened. Hillary did enough to lose the election by running a weak campaign for the role she believed she was entitled to.

The best suggestion is that the Russians hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and released a stack of embarrassing emails. This was only a problem, because the emails showed that key democratic leaders were engaged in dodgy activities. You can hardly blame the Russians for their bad behaviour. If the DNC emails were boring administrative stuff, as they should have been, they would have been quickly forgotten.

The news media are not stupid, so they know there is nothing in it. The problem is that they hate Donald Trump more than they love the truth.

Before the election, they said that Trump was stupid and that he would not get elected. Trump bypassed them and proved them wrong, about the second point anyway. They like to think they have a big say in who wins the election. They seem to be angry that they were ignored and beaten by a man they do not like.

It seems that they hate Trump more than they love democracy. Trumps character may be a bit dodgy, but he was elected in a national election. None of the politicians, academics and media commentators seeking to undermine him were.

They say that they believe in democracy, but when they don’t like the outcome, they are happy to undermine it. That seems odd, but the elite knows best.

The worst thing about this situation is that the media and many politicians are spewing out hatred towards the Russian. I presume that they like the “Russia hacked the election” narrative, because if that had happened, Trump would not be legitimately elected, so they would be justified in seeking to throw him out.

They are pushing the hatred of Russia to justify their efforts to depose Trump. This is scary. The biggest risk to the word is not global warming, but a nuclear war between the Russians and they United States. A war that caused them to fire off their massive nuclear arsenals would be a huge disaster for the world.

I am old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis. I remember how scary it was, and how relieved the world was when Khrushchev and Kennedy agreed to an uneasy peace deal. The world heaved a great sigh of relief. If McCain rather than Kennedy had been in the Whitehouse, we would still be in the midst of a nuclear winter.

The world does not need confrontation between the United States and Russia. One of the few good things about Donald Trump was that he wanted to stabilise the US relationship with Russia. Unfortunately, that has not happened. Instead the news media and many politicians are stirring tension between the two countries.

Russia is not a threat to the United States. It is massively weaker than the Soviet Union. Its economy is slightly smaller than Italy’s. Russian does not have enough troops to invade and control Eastern Europe, and it does not seem to want to.

So the Russian mania is hard to understand, and the media knows this. The problem is that they need hatred of Russia to support their attacks on Trump. If Russia is not a threat, then Russian collusion with Trump ceases to be a problem.

I can only assume that the media, and many politicians, hate Trump more than the care about the peace of the world. They seem to be willing to risk peace by stirring up hatred of the Russians to bring down Donald Trump.

From here, I see a nation freely submitting to a spirit of deception, by choosing to believe a lie. The sad thing is that the "Trump is Saviour" crowd is surrendering to the same spirit, by choosing a different lie.

The irony is that history shows that great nations and empires are not usually destroyed by an invading enemy power. They collapse from within.

Friday, July 14, 2017

First Sin

Adam and Eve committed their first sin some time before they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They could hear God’s voice, but had decided to listen to other voices and decide if they really were evil. This was an insult to God, who is good and perfectly wise. Deciding not to trust God was their first sin. When they made this decision, God’s presence left them.

He was already gone when the serpent approached them, because he could not have come near to do evil, if God had been there. The serpent could not tolerate God’s glory, when he was planning to do evil.

Eating the forbidden fruit was not the first sin. It was the inevitable outcome of losing God’s protection. Without God, Adam and Eve were never going to be a match for the cunning of the devil.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Freedom and Truth

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticise power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
Timothy Snyder in On Tyranny (p 65).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tyranny

Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a repressive government will want, and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do.
Timothy Snyder in On Tyranny (p 17).


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Political Power

Christians have always been uncertain about what to do with political power.

  • The most popular option has been for the church to use political power to impose Christian standards on society. During the middle ages, the Pope was able to impose considerable control over the political leaders of Europe. Because most people believed themselves to be Christian, this was usually accepted. However, when people lost faith, they hated the Catholic church, because they saw it as a controlling organisation, forcing them to do things they did not want to do.

    The same thing happened in the United States, when the Moral Majority gained political influence. Some laws were changed in a Christian direction, but people who did not believe in Jesus started hating the church, because they believed, it was forcing them to behave in a particular way.

    Using political power has not really been a successful option, because it creates hostility to the gospel.

  • The other common option has been withdrawal from political power. This leaves the people of the world holding the reins of power. Unrestrained power often leads to evil. In the worst case, Christians are persecuted for their faith.

  • These days, most churches have adopted a Goldilocks option: not to hot and not to cold. They get sufficient involvement in political power that they avoid persecution and oppose really bad laws. But they do not get so involved that they can be accused of controlling society, or imposing God’s standards on people who do not believe in him.

    The Goldilocks option tends to produce a slippery slope away from the gospel.

Each of these options tries to answer the question, who should control political power. Should it be the people of the world, or the people of the church?

This is the wrong question. The real problem is not who holds political power. The real problem is with political power itself.

Political power allows one group of people to impose their view on another group of people. That is always wrong, even if the group in control is a majority. God has not given any group of people authority to control other people.

Political power also amplifies the power and control of the spiritual powers of evil that control cities and nations.

Political power is always the problem, not the solution, no matter who exercises it.

In my book, Government of God, I describe a system of government that does not need political power.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Redistribution

Bill Bonner writes well, and he has a sneaky sense of humour.

For instance, a robber puts a gun to our head. “Your money or your life,” says the well-read thief. And if you could engage him in conversation, you might find plenty of plausible “reasons” for the larceny.

He was abused as a child. He is a member of a disadvantaged minority. He went to public school. He needs the money more than we do. He is only stealing it to give it to the poor.

“Stealing from the rich,” he says, “will reduce wealth inequality. And since we know from reading Stiglitz, Krugman, Piketty, et al. that wealth inequality slows down growth, making everyone poorer, redistributing wealth will make us all better off. I’m just a facilitator. I’m helping to create a fairer society.”

You see immediately that the robber has a future in politics!

“The risks are lower… and the payoff is greater,” you tell him. “And the work is essentially the same – transferring wealth from the people who earn it to the people who are favored by the robber.”

Back-alley stickup men get caught... or shot... from time to time. The politician, almost never.

Instead, he is re-elected… moved from one committee post to a more powerful one… where he is able to redistribute more wealth.

And when he eventually retires, he has a job waiting for him among the plumy cronies – in the think tanks, lobbying firms, or big business.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Government of God in NZ

The paperback version of Government of God has arrived in New Zealand. Two weeks from South Carolina to Christchurch is not bad.

People living in New Zealand can now purchase the book directly from Kingwatch Books for $NZ12.00. Delivery is by standard post. Go to this link and scroll down to the New Zealand section.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Gang

Francis Chan was shocked by the response of a youth from a gang that he baptized. He was quite involved in the church for a while, but then stopped coming.

One of my friends asked him, 'Hey, how come you're not at Cornerstone anymore?' He said 'I didn't understand church. When I was baptized, I thought that was going to be being jumped into the gang where it's like 24/7 they're my family, because I didn't know it was just somewhere we attend on Sundays’.

That makes me so sick, that the gangs are a better picture of family than the church of Jesus Christ. I can't live with that... We're going to do something different.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Francis Chan

In a talk to Facebook employees, Francis Chan explained why he left his thriving mega church in California and started a house church.

I got frustrated at a point, just biblically. I'm going; wait a second. According to the Bible, every single one of these people has a supernatural gift that's meant to be used for the body... And I'm like. 5,000 people show up every week to hear my gift, see my gift. That's a lot of waste.

Then I started thinking how much does it cost to run this thing? Millions of dollars! So I'm wasting the human resource of these people that according to Scripture have a miraculous gift that they could contribute to the body but they're just sitting there quietly. Meanwhile, they go to their companies, and they are running big companies, and doing this and that, yet they just sit there and listen to me.

I got so convicted.

The Bible says we are supposed to love one another. That is not a small command. Jesus said this over and over again. They will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another. There are fifty one anothers in the New Testament.

I said to God, “I am so sorry”. Our people don’t even like each other. I make them greet each other for 30 seconds, but that is the extent to it. We like people if they are like us, so we pick little cliques.

I was like, God, you wanted a church that was known for their love. You wanted a group of people where everyone was expressing their gifts... We're a body. I'm one member, maybe I'm the mouth. But if the mouth is the only thing that's working and... I'm trying to drag the rest of the body along, chewing on the carpet...

What would a body look like where everyone is using their gifts, and where everyone is seriously seeking the spiritual gifts, like in 1 Corinthians 12. What would it look like? Is it even possible?

Could we, by the power of the Spirit, love each other so much that it would blow people’s minds? Where none of us have a need. Can we be known for this?

Monday, July 03, 2017

European Union

Diana Johnstone has an interesting comment about politics in the European Union.

The EU is in serious trouble politically, because the elites love it, and ordinary people do not.

This is scarcely surprising since for over half a century the elites “who know what is best for the people” have been forcing European integration down their throats, with massive propaganda to justify major binding decisions taken without consulting the people (or, when the people are consulted, the result is ignored).

The vast majority of Europeans were not even aware of how their democracy was being overruled and made obsolete. “Europe” meant escape from the bad past and the promise of a beautiful future of peace and prosperity.

The elites saw to it that the real existing “Europe” is based on two principles: “free movement” of everything and absolute respect for “competition”. Presented as the apex of European values, these principles are neither moral nor democratic. They simply give all power to international financial capital.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Political Systems

Most authors of books on political theology begin with an existing political system, usually their own, and look for scriptures that justify it. Sometimes, they will suggest modifications to the system to make it a little more Christian.

I have tried to work the other way round. I have spent years studying what the scriptures teach about economics and politics. I have now drawn those insights and principles out into a system of government.

The government that I describe in the Government of God is totally different from anything that currently exists, but I believe that it is the government that God wants for his people.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Poltical Heroes

I was intrigued by this comment by Paul C. Bermanzohn.

The US political system is arranged to assure that we remain passive – political spectators. And spectators need heroes. We the people are supposed to choose a savior every four years who will rescue us from our miserable conditions. This is why they all run on “hope.” Call it the mendacity of hope.

Heroes are as American as violence and apple pie. Most Americans have no real power under the capitalist plutocracy that runs our lives and commands our deaths. Yet official mythology says that all Americans have power because this is a democracy where all people have equal rights and the government is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

The yawning gap between the mythology and the reality creates a need and a market for heroes. Heroes are larger than life individuals who right the wrongs. Heroes make things come out as they should, with the common man’s rights preserved for him.

People should have their victories won for them, not by them. A core principle of the system is to keep the people passive, “to prevent insurrection,” as James Madison wrote.

The US has been saturated with heroes since its inception, but especially since the birth of the modern media. As early as 1932, the Lone Ranger in his white hat and black mask, rode across the Plains on the radio, and on his white horse, to protect the ordinary (white) settler family from evil-doers. In 1939, Superman joined him to fight for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

Many superheroes have joined since then. Kids dress up every Halloween as superheroes, proving the continued fascination with these icons of impotence. As politics merges with entertainment, the political leader becomes a superhero.

Powerless people hunger for heroes. Only changing the conditions that require heroes will free us from the American hero’s grip.
The Government of God does not need heroes, because the humble are raised up.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sharing a Vision

Writing a book is a challenging task. In my most recent book, Government of God, I had to put in a lot of wisdom and knowledge. Getting that written down was relatively straightforward.

I also have a vision for the way the government could be. Getting that down on paper is much harder. It’s one thing to see something in your minds eye. It is another thing to describe it in words that another person can read, and see what you have seen. I have tried hard to share the vision, but I am not sure if I have succeeded.

Time will tell.


When I wrote my first book, it was well received, but I soon realised that many of the people who said they like it did not understand the vision that I was sharing. I rewrote the book with diagrams to describe the vision more precisely (Being Church Where We Live). I think the vision was clearer, but some people did not like it as much.

That is life. Time will tell if I have succeeded this time.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Government of God

At last, it is done.

The book that I have been working on for the last two years is complete. Government of God is now available in paperback and kindle formats on Amazon (paperback books will not be available at Kingwatch Books for delivery in New Zealand until July, as they have to come from Charleston, South Carolina).


I believe that this is the most important book I have written. It has also been the hardest to write. I have had to organise and present a huge number of important insights and ideas about government in a way that can be easily understood. Not a simple task!

I suspect that the church is not yet ready this book. Most Christians still have significant faith in political power. They might be frustrated with the current crop of political leaders, but they still hope that the right leader could made a difference. They have not yet given up hope that this person will turn up and rescue their nation.

My task is to get this book out now, so that it is there, ready for the time when hope in political power is gone.

For those who are not ready, the book contains a huge range of insights about government, the nature of political power, God’s system of justice, caring for the needy, defence and war, and the morality of taxation.

Monday, June 26, 2017

America's Cup

New Zealanders love a David Goliath challenge. Taking on Larry Ellison and Oracle is about as good as gets, even if Emirates are the main sponsor.

Huge numbers of people in New Zealand are getting up at 5am to watch the America’s Cup on television. I presume that most Americans do not even know it is on.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Loss of Truth

Last week, I listened to a talk called The Loss of Truth by Ravi Zacharias. He describes how Western Culture has lots its way by ignoring God.

During the talk, Ravi read a poem called Creed by Steve Turner. It cleverly illustrates the futility and folly I have trying to live in God’s world while pretending that he does not exist. The poem is funny and disturbing at the same time.

Creed
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before during
and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated.
You can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha
Mohammed and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
his good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same,
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes The Nothing
because when you ask the dead what happens
they say Nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between
warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth
that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust. History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds.


Steve Turner

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vision of Cracks

I was struck by an article published on the Elijah List by Lana Vawser at the end of April. It was thrown out so nonchalantly, I wondered if she understood the implications of the vision she shared. Here is what she saw.

I watched as angels of triumph that had been positioned all across the United States began to stomp upon the nation with their feet. As they stomped their feet and the intercession of the people of God were rising up to heaven, I saw a great and mighty shaking that was happening and increasing in the nation.

Yet as these angelic hosts stomped their feet on the land, I saw cracks in the ground beginning to appear, and all the hidden things were being brought to the surface and exposed. What I noticed about these cracks is they spread far and wide all across the United States, but what struck me was the DEPTH of the cracks. As far as they were spreading wide, they were going deep. The shaking was going deeper and deeper and deeper and I heard the words “I am going to the foundations. I am going to the roots. I am uprooting and exposing the weeds and the snares in the foundations. I am uprooting and exposing the weeds in the roots and foundations.” As this shaking was taking place, and the people of God interceding for the nation, I watched as the Lord began to breathe down the generational line, and I saw curses that were established and spoken over the United States being broken. The shaking was revealing the curses and the poison and it was all coming to the surface and another level of the breaking of generational curses of the nation was happening.

I watched this shaking taking place and it was like an earthquake. Many of God’s people were feeling unsettled, some were feeling fearful and discouraged, and I heard the Lord say “Do not mistake the shaking! Do not mistake the shaking! Do not mistake the shaking! The shaking is leading to another level of the chains breaking. The shaking is leading to another level of the chains breaking.

Lana saw cracks spreading far and wide across America. She was stunned by the depth of the cracks.

I do not know how it feels on the inside, but looking from the outside this seems to be a good description of the United States. The nations with “United” in its name seems to be divided in so many directions.

  • political
  • religious
  • racial
  • north-south
  • east-west
  • urban-rural
  • fresh water v blue water economists
  • Progressive Christian v Evangelical Christian
  • 90% v 10%
  • security organisations v political authority
  • Washington elites v the rest
  • financial sector v productive sector
In the vision the cracks went down to the foundation. I presume that this is part of the problem. The cracks and divisions that are currently manifesting are rooted in cracks that were built at the beginning.

While there was a strong Christian influence at the foundation of the United States, there were many other influences all bound together.

  • enlightenment philosophy
  • Greek political thought
  • Roman law
  • free masonry
  • mercantilism
  • slavery
  • deism
  • faith in political power
  • faith in military power.
If I understand the vision correctly, God is allowing the surface cracks to manifest, so that the cracks in the foundation can be exposed. This suggests that the United States is in for some serious shaking.

Lana said that the Lord is declaring “Triumph”, but I am not sure what that means. In my view, the outcome of shaking depends on whether the people of God are prepared.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Gospel Keys (5) Place

Matthew 18:18-19 contains important insights about the Kingdom of God. Jesus promised that his followers will be able to bind the spiritual powers of evil and release angels to do his work.

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in the spiritual realms, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in spiritual realms (Matt 18:18).
Yet, we are not seeing as much of the spiritual powers of evil being bound as we should expect given Jesus’ promise.

Jesus gave the condition for his promise in the next paragraph.

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in my name, there am I with them (Matt 18:19-20).
The condition for the victory Jesus promised is two or three disciples gathering together in his name. We assume that if we get together for an hour on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening that is sufficient for Jesus to be present and give the victory promised. I suspect that Jesus had something more permanent in mind.

The first Christians were together in one place.

All who believed were in the same place (Acts 2:44).
Because they had come together, they had strong spiritual protection, and were able establish victory over the spiritual powers of evil.

In contrast, modern Christians are content to live scattered all over the place. Gathering together is limited to an hour on Sunday. This reflects a lack of understanding of the spiritual battle that we are engaged in.

In a war, gathering together is the best defence. The same is true in a spiritual war. Serious defeat of the spiritual powers of evil that Jesus promised, will take more serious gathering together.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gospel Keys (4) Power Pairs

When Jesus apostled his seventy-two disciples, he sent them out in pairs.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and apostled them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go (Luke 10:1).
We tend to assume this is optional, but it was an essential aspect of Jesus gospel strategy. The early Christians carried it on after Jesus has ascended.

John had been with Jesus for three years and understood his ways better than anyone. He had experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. If anyone could operate on his own, it would be John. Yet when he went up to the Beautiful Gate of the temple, he paired up with Peter.

By operating as a pair, and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, a crippled man was healed. They proclaimed the gospel boldly to the religious authorities (Acts 3).

Paul always operated in a pair with another person who could compliment his ministry.

To see the gospel advance rapidly, we need to learn how to operate as pairs. For more see Power Pairs.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gospel Keys (3) Go and Stay

When Jesus apostled the seventy-two disciples, he told them to go to the place he was sending and stay there.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and apostled them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house (Luke 10:1,2).

Jesus told them to go to where the harvest is ripe and stay there.

This instruction has been mostly ignored. The church tends to settle down where it is. People are invited to come to the church and attend a meeting. Sometimes Christians visit the place where they think the harvest is ripe and invite people to come to their church. This is the wrong way round.

If the gospel is to advance powerfully, there will have to be a lot more going and staying.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Policy Design Fault

Chris Floyd notes that in this century alone, the US and UK have helped destroy two largely secular, multicultural regimes that had stood as bulwarks against the Islamic extremism peddled by allies such as Saudi Arabia, namely Iraq and Libya. A third such country, Syria, has been the target of an ongoing regime change war in which the West and Saudis are openly backing al Qaeda allies and other extremists.

Given that the leaders of the UK and US claim have declared that Islamic terrorism is the primary threat to our civilization and thus counterterrorism is an overarching priority, he asks why they have adopted policies that undermine their objective.

  • If countering Islamic extremism is your priority, then supporting Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya is, to put it mildly, the wrong policy.

  • If it is your priority to combat Islamic extremism which threatens to radicalize citizens of your own country, then giving massive, continuous, unquestioning support to the brutal tyrants who have exported extremist Islam all over the world for decades is, to put it mildly, the wrong policy.

  • If it is your priority to defend your civilization from radical Islamic extremism, then launching war after war after war in Islamic countries with secular governments — and aiding extremist militias in those countries, like al Qaeda, al Nusra, ISIS, and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, founded in the 1990s with support from the West to launch terrorist attacks against the Gadafy regime — are, to put it mildly, the wrong policies.

  • If it is your overarching priority to prevent the spread of hatred, radicalization and revenge, then committing mass murder in drone strikes on villages, weddings, farmers and children is, to put it mildly, the wrong policy.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gospel Keys (2) Go into the World

In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus promised that signs and wonders would follow those who preach the gospel.

These signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

The question we need to ask, is “Where will they follow?”

Jesus gave the answer at the beginning of the message.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matt 16:15).
Deliverance and healing will follow believers when they go into the world.

The church in the west has tended to keep the gifts of healing and deliverance at the front of the church, ministering to long lines of believers. This is the wrong way round.

The gift of healing is for unbelievers, so that when they hear the gospel, they will know it is true. It belongs in the world not in the church.

We all want to see the Holy Spirit healing the sick, but we forget where it happens.

And wherever he went into villages, towns or countryside, they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed (Mark 6:56).
As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by (Acts 5:15).
Large numbers of people were healed in the streets and the market place. This is where the Holy Spirit prefers to work. I suspect that he sometimes gets bored with our meetings and longs to get out into the public places and heal the sick. If we want to see him doing this, we should follow him.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Gospel Keys (1)

Jesus instructed his followers to take the good news of his Kingdom into all the world.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).
He also gave a very clear strategy for how this should be done.

Unfortunately, there are a few parts of his strategy that the church has fairly steadfastly refused to adopt.

1. Wait for the Spirit
Jesus told his disciples that they should wait until they received the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).
This is fairly basic. The gospel cannot be proclaimed effectively without the power of the Holy Spirit, because the gospel needs to be confirmed with healings and deliverance that prove God’s love and mercy and confirm that the spiritual powers of evil have been defeated. The good news of Jesus death, resurrection and ascension if incomplete without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Powerful preaching, clever visuals, smart programs and great music will never fill the gap.

The fields are still white, so we desperately need “power from on high”.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Gospel is Real

Many evangelical believers prefer Paul’s letters to the gospels. I can sort of understand why. Paul expects us to believes that Jesus died and has risen to God’s right hand. In the abstract, these truths are easy to accept.

I have just been reading Mark’s gospel. It is full of healing and deliverance from evil spirits for ordinary people in the midst of everyday of life. If these things are not part of our every day experience, this is quite confronting.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Religious State

The Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush said something like this.

In a religious state, religion becomes vulnerable to politics. To criticise the state is to criticise the religion. If the critics of the state are right, religion could turn out to be flawed, even endangered. If religion could not be blamed, critics of the state must be apostates who cannot be tolerated.
The United States has had a religious state, but the last sentence in the quote did not apply. Criticism has been tolerated. However, the first part of the quote does apply. The failure of the state blackened the reputation of Christianity.

Now a new secular religious state is emerging in it's place. The last sentence in the quote does apply to the secular state.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Pentecost

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. All over the world followers of Jesus longed for a fuller experience of the Holy Spirit.

The songs pleaded for the Holy Spirit to come. Prayers implored him to come and refresh us.

The motives behind the songs and prayers are good, but I wonder if we have this the wrong way round.

The prayer and the songs make it should like the problem is with God, and that he needs to do something.

He poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and he has never called him back. He has already done his bit.
That means that if our experience is below par, the problem must be with us, not with him.

Perhaps we should be asking if we have grieved the Holy Spirit, and what we need to do to put that right.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Kingdom Authority

Authority is the heart of every kingdom. If there is no authority, there is no kingdom. Therefore, to understand the Kingdom of God, we must understand how authority works, in heaven and on earth.

Everything in this universe is shaped by authority. In the beginning God said, “Let it be” and it was. He had authority over everything. Two chapters later, God said, “Let us give authority to humans”. Why on earth did he do that? When Jesus was being tempted, the devil said, “I have authority over all the kingdoms of the world”. How did that happen? When Jesus preached the gospel, the people recognised his authority. Who gave him authority? By the end of the gospel Jesus was saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. How did that happen? The Book of Revelation says that Jesus has authority to open the scrolls that release God’s activity on earth. How does that work?

My book called Kingdom Authority describes the history of authority in both the spiritual and physical realms. It explains the big authority shifts that have had massive impacts on earth. Most theologies jump from the fall straight to the cross, without much need for the stuff in between. That is a mistake, as if we ignore the events described in the Old Testament, we will fail to understand everything God is doing, and the big authority shifts that have constrained him.

If we do not know about authority, we will not understand why evil has been so active on earth. God gave authority over the earth to humans. The forces of evil have been active on earth, because humans gave them authority, while God did not have the authority he needed to deal with evil. It took a special human do that, and until he came the powers of evil had a ball.

Big Questions
Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. This raises a couple of serious questions.

Jesus prayed that God’s authority would be done on earth and it is in heaven. How did the God who created the universe end up losing authority over the earth? What happened on earth and in heaven that meant his authority on earth has to be restored?

Why has God taken so long? Things went wrong on earth right at the beginning. Yet God let thousands of years go by before he sent Jesus to put things right. Why did he let evil go on for so long, before something about it?

To understand these questions, we must understand the working of authority and the big shifts in authority that have shaped history on earth. The big shifts in authority are described in Kingdom Authority. This book is a prequel to a book called The Government of God that I will be publishing in June. It will show how the principles in Kingdom Authority are applied in practice.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Seeking the Spirit

About a year after I chose to follow Jesus, I was feeling really frustrated. I felt like I had not made much progress in learning how to follow him. It felt like I had not changed enough.

I talked to the young woman who led the study and fellowship group we belonged to. She had been a Christian most of her life, but she did not give me answers. She wisely suggested that I read the book of Acts and see if I could find out what made a difference for the new believers in the church (Thank you Airini).

I quickly read right through the book of Acts looking for the thing that made a difference. The answer jumped out from every page. Things happened and people were changed because the Holy Spirit was active. I realised that I desperately needed the Holy Spirit in my life.

The next Friday night, I went to town and visited a Christian bookstore. I bought three books about the Holy Spirit. One of them was the The Holy Spirit and You by Dennis Bennett. He was better known for Nine O’Clock in the Morning, but I did not notice that one.

On Saturday morning, my wife went to work at 6.30 am. I did not get up, but stayed in bed and read the Holy Spirit and You. By midday, I had finished the book. At the end of the book, Dennis Bennett referred to a promise in Luke 11. I got my Bible and I read it carefully.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:9-13).
As I sat in my bed, it seemed obvious. I needed the Holy Spirit. The Father had promised that if I asked, he would give him to me.

So I asked.

And the Father delivered on his promise.

The Holy Spirit filled me with his presence. I began to speak in a language that I did not know (a spiritual language has been an important part of my life ever since.) It was like in the book of Acts, but in my bedroom.

About a week later, I felt led to pray for a member of my family who was sick. I just knew that if I laid my hand on her back and prayed, she would be healed. When she went to see a medical specialist a few days later, he could find no trace of the problem.

I have always said that once you have seen the Holy Spirit heal one person you are ruined. You can no longer say that God does not heal people anymore. You cannot say that the Holy Spirit does not want to heal people, because you have seen it with your own eyes.

I gained the joy of having the Holy Spirit in my life, but I gained the frustration of knowing that he could heal, but was not seeing enough of it.

When we moved to Dunedin, we belonged to a group called prayer and praise. The Holy Spirt was moving and we often prayed for people who were sick. Being a curious person, I got a notebook and listed every person we prayed for and what was wrong. The following week, I would check up and see how the person was.

After a couple of months I was surprised by the results. About a third of cases were uncertain. For example, a person had a cold and a week later, they were better, but it was not possible to definitely attribute that directly to the prayer, because they would have gotten better anyway. For another third, nothing happened. But the remaining third were clearly healed, and it seemed like it could only be the Holy Spirit who had done it. Over those few months, a dozen people were healed of sicknesses.

That experience set me off on a searching path over many years. I was puzzled why some people were healed and others were not. It was not because the Holy Spirit is not strong enough to do it. There had to be other reasons and I wanted to know what they were.

So I dug into the scriptures and looked for patterns. I investigated every healing in the Bible and studied every passage that dealt with healing. I discovered some real insights. Five years ago, I put everything I have learned in a little book called Healing. It does not contain all the answers, but the book does have some important insights.

In some ways this is the most important book I have written, yet is actually the least popular. I suspect that it because many Christians have given up on the gift of healing and just accepted sickness as a normal part of life. That is sad, because Jesus was beaten for our healing, so it would be a pity if his suffering were wasted.

Jesus told his disciples to heal the sick and preach the good news of the kingdom. That is what he did. We tend to preach the good news, but we do not bother about the other bit. But Jesus never said it was optional. The best proof of the reality and love of God, and his power to rescue, is someone being healed. In this secular age, the good news of Jesus will only be successful in the way we want it to be when it is accompanied by the gift of healing.

My prayer is that followers of Jesus will press into the Holy Spirit and discover more of the gift of healing that the Father promised.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Saudi Arabian Folly

I don’t understand why the leaders of the powerful G7 nations committed themselves to fighting terrorism, yet continue to cosy up to Saudi Arabia.

Donald Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia to offer a $110 billion arms deal.

In recent months, British Prime Minister Teresa May has signed special deals with Saudi Arabia to sell weapons and provide training for their military and security forces that keep the ruling family in power.

Why do these leaders support this autocratic nation that is the sponsor for terrorism all round the world. The Wahhabi sect of Islam that inspires terrorism first emerged in Saudi Arabia. From there, it has been exported all over the world.

The wave of terrorism that has engulfed the region when it ultimately emanates from one small but immensely influential Sunni sect. One of the great cultural changes in the world over the last 50 years is the way in which Wahhabism, once an isolated splinter group, has become an increasingly dominant influence over mainstream Sunni Islam, thanks to Saudi financial support. (Patrick Cockburn in the Indedpendent)
Mark Curtis explains that Wahhabism is an ideology promoted by the ruling family in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi role in exporting Wahhabism is surely well-known by now. In the past few decades, the Saudi regime has spent billions spreading its extremist interpretation of Islam worldwide, funding mosques and free madrassas – religious schools – supplying them with imams and textbooks.
Curtis explains that the is activity is well understood by UK and US leaders.
The British elite is perfectly aware of the insidious role that Saudi Arabia plays in fomenting terrorism. In October 2014, General Jonathan Shaw, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Telegraph that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires IS terrorists. He said:
“This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.”
He noted that UK/US bombing of IS would not “stop the support of people in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for this kind of activity” because:
“It’s not addressing the fundamental problem of Wahhabi Salafism as a culture and a creed, which has got out of control and is still the ideological basis of Isil – and which will continue to exist even if we stop their advance in Iraq.”
Curtis warns,
All the while the Saudis have been exporting Wahhabism and backing Islamist groups and terrorists, they have enjoyed a special relationship with London and Washington. The history is so long and deep it is hard to summarise: basically the relationship is characterised by extreme sycophancy, total military support, constant apologias and carefully-controlled media lines that serve to keep the public in the dark about the true extent of relations and the nature of the Saudi regime. It is hard to pinpoint whether Saudi Arabia is a client of the UK or the other way round: probably both, since both set of elites have been happily joined at the hip.