Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Cross is now an Embarrassment

Watch this video

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

The greatest mode of deception is to openly profess to believe something, and then so change its focus, direction, and essence as to render your belief as meaningless, and more insidious, as unbelief itself. You will notice that Rob Bell seems to be part of some theatrical troupe as he presents his view of what God did and is doing through the resurrection. All this nebulous and upbeat “God has not given up on the world” rhetoric is energizing to the flesh but void of any Biblical message. But let us zero in on something very obvious but mostly missed. There is, as usual, no cross.
The cross of Golgotha has become like an embarrassing wierd uncle who we admit is related to us but are very uncomfortable speaking about him. These new streams of Christian teachings including the differing branches of the emergent movement have one thing in common: They all have hidden the cross of Christ. One such believer told me that the resurrection was more important than the cross, as if they could be untethered and assessed separately.
But there is nothing so central and core to the Christian faith than the cross. It was there that redemption was purchased through the sufferings of the Incarnate Savior. Assuredly, it can never be fully explored and never fully exalted to the place of eternal prominence it so richly deserves. The most profound and expressive words from the pen of Charles Spurgeon fall pitifully short when it comes to completely glorifying that crimson tree of eternal life. Of course the resurrection substantiated and authenticated that cross and the identity of the One who adorned its Roman planks, but it was upon that hill of death where the Eternal Word suffered, bled, and died for the sins of the world. God’s heart was there exposed and His sacrifice was openly exhibited for the angels of heaven to wonder.
These new and modern movements are many and varied with all sorts of intellectual titillations that excite the flesh and create a false sense of spiritual elevation, but in the end they are nothing more than attacks on the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ is a stumblingblock and a scandalon to the fallen mind. It does not meet the expectations of the modern, sophisticated taste. The ancient landmarks have been removed and the lure of post modern sirens are drawing millions away from that old, rugged tree.
This is not about methodology or even ecclesiology; this is about Christianity itself. The same words are used and the name of Jesus is sprinkled just enough as to be recognized, but this is not the Christian faith. These “messages” cannot save and without the cross all we have is a new start and turning over some new leaf exhorted by some esoteric words that connect with the carnal intellect. Men like Bell will continue to be more and more prolific, and their mystique will grow exponentially as spirituality increases at the expense of truth. The message of comprehensive redemption of the universe through the resurrection is one of the most insidious deceptions of this new age.
To downplay, and even discount, the necessity of personal redemption through faith in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross is to preach another gospel and another Jesus. And make no mistake about it, the cross has become an embarrassment to the church both doctrinally, publicly, and as a lifestyle. And this teaching that exalts a new life while circumventing the cross is nothing but legalism and the works of the law.

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The cross is God’s glory, and the church is making a mockery in the way we soft peddle it, minimize it, and even ignore it. How many would be invited on Larry King to discuss the cross of Jesus Christ? And yet all sorts of professing believers are invited to discuss all sorts of issues. And most of the time confusion and error reign in those forums.
We desire resurrection’s glory without Calvary’s suffering and shame. We are living in the last days and at the heart of these evil days is the rejection of the cross of Jesus Christ. Church signs are full of upcoming series about the family, finances, sex, politics, and all kinds of interesting topics. But if you see a church advertising a series on the cross I would suggest you wander in and listen expectedly.
Who would have suspected that the place where God gave His Son to the unspeakable torture of human redemption would one day fall out of vogue in the evangelical community? The cross has become an embarrassment to most of the western church, and most of the western church has become an embarrassment to God.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Justification by Faith
but Where are the Works?
When anyone suggests or even implies that salvation can be achieved through human works, and usually works of the humanitarian variety, many come running to defend the truth that faith in Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to eternal life. That is a Biblical battle that always must be fought with conviction as well as humility. But what is curious and disturbing to me is the way in which many use some preamble that usually goes along lines like this:

Now I agree the church should feed the hungry, care for the orphans, and meet the needs of the widows.”

After that we launch into our “justification by faith” treatise which is infinitely easier to prove than it is to obey the humanitarian commandments of the New Testament. In fact, we agree that we should take care of the orphans and widows and then we do not. Get it? We offer a disclaimer so that no one can accuse us of not believing the New Testament as it concerns ministering to the earthly needs of people, and then we do not do it. And please do not cite some pitiful ministry that centers around some food bank and claim we are passionately seeking to meet the needs of people around the world. But let someone focus on those needs and our doctrinal energies seem boundless.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.

We have a duty, and yes a commandment from Christ, to seek out the poor and minister to them in earthly things as well as the gospel. But western believers live in comparable opulence while much of the world goes without the basic necessities of life. And yet we are such staunch defenders of certain doctrines while we stand naked and indicted concerning the obvious calling of our Lord to help people.
Works without faith are useless, but faith without works is dead. And by works we cannot feel comfortable with avoiding smoking, drinking, adultery, stealing, or all the usual sin suspects. What about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoners, and being consumed with helping the downtrodden and the impoverished around us? And curious enough, are not those the things that Jesus found lacking in the goats as He separated them?
The next time you see someone defend the doctrine of justification by faith while he also acknowledges our responsibility to minister to the poor, remind him of how disgraceful are our efforts to obey what we claim we believe. We seem to believe on Jesus and fall short of believing what Jesus said.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Let Him be Accursed...

There is nothing like knowing Jesus and His exclusive salvation. There is no one like Jesus and the infinite ways in which He reveals His Person to each believer. And the Spirit guards the Person of Christ and His gospel with a jealous zeal. The Apostle Paul designated two people who should be accursed, including his “anathema maranatha” condemnation. Those who preach another Jesus, and those who preach another gospel are to be considered enemies of the cross. It is the one line of demarcation over which God will not extend mercy, and these two issues are those that God commands us to be unwavering in our rejection and condemnation; even condemnation of the people who spread such lies.
Liberty University, the school founded by the late Jerry Falwell, has invited a Mormon to speak at their commencement ceremony. Oh how the mighty have fallen! Nationalism and politics have now ushered in a new level of compromise and heresy. Read the list of Godly men who have graced the pulpit in years past at Liberty at commencement and look what 2010 has wrought. It is startling, it is amazing, and it is profoundly sad and pitiful. The love of “conservative values” and America has enveloped the love of Jesus Christ. But this is no trivial matter; this is as serious as it gets.
This kind of compromise rivals the Rob Bell’s, and the Rick Warren’s, and the health and wealth lies. This man, Glenn Beck, besides being a caustic idolater who holds the ”founding fathers” in admiration, is a practicing Mormon. Who would have believed the largest evangelical university on the planet would bow so low to politics that one who teaches another Jesus would be invited to speak at the university, and most spectacularly at the commencement ceremony itself? Jesus has left the building. What does the Spirit say about such behavior?

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Unparalleled are the Spirit’s contempt for those who would preach another Jesus and another gospel, and in fact, God makes it clear that He holds those who join with them in any way, including inviting them into your presence as friends, accountable for their wickedness as well. It is unconscionable to see the depth of such compromise and deceit. Have we reached the point where we cannot find a Godly man who can come and lift up Jesus and His gospel and give that as a commission to the graduating class of professing believers? Talk show hosts, and Mormons at that; that is where we are today?
Hold fast to your faith. The end is upon us.

We have constructed our own evangelical tower of Babel which in the end leads nowhere. We have mixed the holy with the profane. We have become a wild ass, running and frolicking without any restraint. We have jumped the fences of the Lord and we are grazing in the pastures of the heathen.We dine at Hollywood's trough on Saturday night and lift up dirty hands on Sunday. Our church buildings are our glory and our prayer closets are our shame. We worry about the economy but sleep well while souls perish. We make celebrities of preachers and show disdain for praying grandmothers.We herald politicians and refuse to preach Christ on the street. We criticize lost sinners but speak well of the harlot church. We have become prisoners of America's hedonism and yet we proclaim we are free.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: We are in desperate need of a massive and church shaking revival that breaks our earthen vessels...

Rick Frueh circa A.D. 2008

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Saint Awaits Life
* Wendy went to be with Jesus just hours after I wrote this post. She is presently experiencing a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

A friend of mine is moving toward life everlasting. Oh death thinks it is about to be victorious, but in the end life will triumph. Go ahead, Death, enter her room and search for her sins…you will not find them. They are gone. But you have witnesses, you say? Let God be true and every man a liar. This sinner named Wendy has been forgiven, redeemed, and given eternal life. It was not deserved and it certainly was not earned.

The sufferings and the horror of Christ’s death was imputed to her forever simply because of childlike faith. Oh death and oh law, how can you compete with that? Go ahead, parade ever jot and title of the law, and demonstrate how this sinner broke them all, and all you have done is further illuminate the grace of Jesus. Accuse all you want, but it falls on the deaf ears of her Judge who declares her righteous before the angels of heaven and the company of saints.

You have come to enjoy a victory but all you have is a shell once used by a redeemed sinner. This death is the last enemy, and yet God has waited to perform His promise to each and every one of us. You think cancer will take her life?? You are eternally mistaken, and in fact, no one can take that which belongs to Christ! The sorrow will be ours who remain in this world, but when this saint enters the Gates of Splendor and sees the Risen Christ in all His glory her joy will be transcendent. On this earth she has been a blessing to many, many others. Her passing will stand as a spectacle of a godly woman who with many flaws served a flawless Savior. I have wept with her, prayed with her, worshiped with her, witnessed with her, and, yes, I have danced before the Lord with her. I have seen her publicly admit she was wrong. I have seen her energy as she hurried to minister to others. She and her family have loved me and my family like none other on this earth.

But in the end there is only one thing that matters; this woman believed in Jesus and her life was changed forever. And like me her sins and faults were many, but six hours on Golgotha and one moment of resurrected glory wiped those handwritings of ordinances that were against us, and soon her redemption will become an eternal reality. In actuality, her life has always been hid in Christ with God since the day she was born again. I have loved her and her husband.

She has fought a good fight; she has kept the faith; and she has finished her course. If the Lord sees fit to keep my decaying frame alive much longer, I will remember her often. But more often, I will imagine her weeping, praising, worshiping, and, yes, dancing before the Lord who saved her. Jesus will soon come for you, my friend. I may not be far behind…

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Church and the Gay Issue
Hypocrisy at its Finest

A singer named Jennifer Knapp, of whom I had never heard before last week, used to sing gospel songs. She disappeared from the Christian scene and last week re-emerged and stated she was gay. She also said she could not reconcile her same sex attractions with what is usually accepted as the Biblical norm, which is that practicing homosexuality is a sin. OK, we have heard this story before. I both disagree with her lifestyle and Biblical perspective, but I also anticipated the hypocrites to pounce upon this issue. Peruse the internet and behold – I was correct.
Let me make some observations. Yes, there are verses, not to mention the physiological design that clearly reveal God’s intent as it pertains to same sex unions. But while we jump up and down upon that safe zone it is also true that for every New Testament verse about homosexuality there are at least ten about covetousness, greed, and the love of money. And then there are verses like these:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

And not only do most western believers ignore those verses, even the strictest literalists twist and change them in order to accommodate the hedonistic, western lifestyle. See - the verse about homosexuality being a sin is literal, but the verse about laying up money for yourself is, well, a figurative suggestion. In fact, most believers claim their investment portfolio, or their 401k, or their large house and cars, are a gift from God and meant to lavish upon themselves - as if God takes pleasure is heaping prosperity upon some while He watches other believers starve. And which God would that be? The same believers who are effervescent in their "homosexuality is a sin" badge can sometimes be found on a "Christian" cruise complete with hefty pricetag, open gluttony, and a host of unbiblical behavior concerning money and excess. John Wesley would have roundly condemned as have I - here.
Oh how easy it is to use someone’s struggles as a platform for parading our orthodoxy as concerns CERTAIN sins. If we could investigate the average orthodox congregation we would find these sins:

* Large retirement accounts
* Unforgiveness
* Murmering about the president
* Judgment
* Divorce and remarriage
* Praylessness
* Lack of witnessing
* Self righteousness

And in fact, some of those sins are practiced as if they were in God’s will. What does this tell us? It reveals that we are a most self righteous and uncompassionate people who personally rely of God’s grace to save us but who dispense law to those whose sins we have never tasted. So if you desire to display your credentials about homosexuality being a sin – Bravo! You are awarded the Orthodox Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
But upon further inventory of sins not associated with same sex relationships, we just might see that you and I are every bit as guilty as Jennifer Knapp. Most of us do not know, have not prayed for, and do not love this sinner named Jennifer. But she has inadvertently provided some red meat for those orthodox carnivors who specialize in scouring the news items in order to find misery, failure, heartbreak, struggles, and every sin that they can claim as personally alien. They do not love their doctrine...they love themselves.

And let us be perfectly clear: If a sinner cannot believe on Christ for their eternal salvation and still be deceived about certain sins in their lives…well then…no one will be saved.

Two years ago I wrote this out of a heart of compassion and a realization of my own hypocrisy.

An Inconvenient Truth

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Profound Simplicity

In 1975 I heard the Spirit’s call; I then understood who Jesus is; I believed and I was given eternal life. Profound simplicity.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Defending Doctrine

Doctrine (Latin: doctrina) is a codification of beliefs or "a body of teachings" or "instructions", taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system.
(From Wikipedia)

There are two major movements afoot in these modern days concerning doctrine. One is defending doctrine, and one is dismantling doctrine. I have found both movements to be substantially hollow and counterproductive. In my view there are two doctrinal pillars about which Paul even warns about changing. They are the truth about Jesus and the truth about the gospel. Much of the evangelical world gets all caught up in doctrinal tributaries and denominations are formed primarily because of such fringe or non-essential teachings. But it is true that there are men today who either openly, or with cunning and sweet sounding words, have reduced the gospel to works and have stripped Christ of His exclusivity. That is what we rightly call heresy.

But it is quite easy to identify such heresies and condemn and confront them; much easier than to confront your own doctrinal disobedience and ambivalence. In fact, most of the western orthodox community has revolutionized Christianity in order to exist comfortable with the culture with specific emphasis on the believer himself. It is a form of humanism with a Christian label. And think of all the doctrine/teaching that fills the average believer’s life. Every week he hears his pastor expound doctrine; every week he discusses doctrine in Sunday School; every week he hears teachings on the radio and television; he many go to conferences and he may have teaching Cds; He may read books or magazines that teach Christian doctrine; and so the western believer is fed a constant stream of doctrine via many venues throughout his life.

And in the midst of all this teaching he may hear someone use the false teaching of someone else to Biblical authenticate what that person is teaching. It is not uncommon for a pastor to explain some form of heretical teaching in order to repudiate it from the Scriptures. And that is good and beneficial when it is given in the midst of a living family of teachings that find more expression through deeds than through systematic theology. Which brings me to my premise:

Teaching and defending Biblical doctrine without corresponding life manifestations is nothing more than self righteousness. A large part of defending doctrine is exhibiting it. Imagine for a painful moment that after the ascension of Jesus the Holy Spirit directed His followers to live lives of sacrifice and humility. Imagine believers unconcerned with money and careers, ambivalent to the trends of culture, and uninterested in earthly governments. Imagine pockets of believers living so remarkably and so gentle and humble, that those who came in contact with them were regularly prompted to inquire of them as to their motivation. Imagine a community of faith who actually demonstrated a belief that their lives were hid in Christ with God, and that all their affections lay in the world to come. Imagine a society of faith who counted their own comforts, their own needs, and even their own lives as sweet smelling sacrifices before their Lord.

And so I ask you…why do we have to imagine such a thing? Unless you are convinced that God does not wish us to live such lives, then we are forced to gaze into a mirror of spiritual indictment. What I am openly saying is that to a large extent, a very large extent, we have barely held onto the saving gospel of Jesus Christ in regeneration, but we have long since left the Biblical and Jesus model of allowing the Spirit of Christ to live in and through us. And do not think that I speak from an elevated platform looking down, no, I am right in your midst. As a matter of fact, many of these things I have identified became known to me through the Spirit’s magnification of things in my own Christian walk. Oh yes, we are all in this together.

But we do not need to stay where we are, and we must be vigilant and guard against any hint of self righteousness. Even our strongest words must never condemn without hope or indicate a victory that we have not yet experienced. We must learn again what it means to be clothed with humility. We must not compare ourselves with ourselves and find some morsel of carnal contentment. Jesus must be the template for everything, and the great doctrines and teachings of Scripture must be expanded once again to include the most uncomfortable and inconvenient life practices revealed in their pages. The Sermon on the Mount cannot just be great oratory; it must be the commands of Almighty God. The do’s must be equal to the don’ts. Something is wrong when God’s people can sit week after week, and year after year, and listen and learn what is being said and what is supposed to be believed, and yet with such an astonishing lack of conspicuous, if not spectacular, manifestations of those teachings in the men and women who hear and say they believe God’s Word. One of two things must be true: Either we do not believe God’s Word, or what is being taught is only a fragment of what should really be a panoramic expose of what it means to walk in His steps. And in believing that pitiful fragment…we have grown content, self righteous, and in many cases arrogant.

Imagine for a moment that what you and I have learned and aggressively espoused as Biblical truth has been flawed, incomplete, convenient, and contoured over the decades to accommodate even the most uncommitted and unsacrificial lifestyles. Imagine for a moment that the ears that are being tickled are not just the heretics and liberals, but they are ours as well. Oh my. When God called the Jews in captivity in Babylon back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and the temple, most did not go and many did not even hear God’s voice. Why? Because they had built prosperous and contented lives in Babylon, and to return to Jerusalem would require a sacrifice they had never known and were not willing to give. They had no guarantee that Jerusalem would be rebuilt, and many good and Godly people they knew in Babylon said the idea was just fanaticism.

And so it is today. Generations come and go with each new one building upon the shifting sand the former used. Comfortable and affluent lives are lived by professing believers in the west while millions struggle for food; even millions who name the name of Christ. The Apostle Paul is arrested in Jerusalem and led away in chains to be brought before the council. His very life was in jeopardy. However as they took him up the stairs, he asked the soldiers if he could speak to the crowd. That was the very crowd that was in an uproar over Paul and his teachings. And Paul witnesses of Jesus, not from the comfort of a pulpit, but in chains between soldiers and to a violent crowd and on his way to an uncertain future. And we say we believe men who die without Christ are lost forever but witnessing is not our lifestyle and passion. Most professing followers of Jesus will not actually witness to one soul in a year, and invitations to church suffice as “witnessing”.

We are cold and we are dead, and yet we say we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. But imagine if God sees us as naked and poor and blind. What if takes the destruction of our present model in order for the Potter to make another? Are we willing to suffer the loss of all things to win Christ? Are we even willing for a mild reordering of our steps and priorites? Are we willing to die to ourselves complete with crucifixion, burial, and the glory of a resurrection that finds its eternal joy in serving the Risen Christ? Are we willing to even consider any of this?

We can continue to preach and teach doctrine. We can continue to point out the heretics and pat ourselves on the back because we are not like those men. We can continue to rush to the Sunday gathering and leave once more with a smile and the knowledge of religious obligation, but without the arresting and transforming power of God’s Spirit. And when we drive back into our neighborhoods and see the heathen man mowing his lawn, we can be assured he sees us as one of many in a hedonistic western culture, and in fact, he sees himself in us.

Imagine those who travelled from Babylon headed for Jerusalem. Some never made it and died after months of travel. And when they arrived in Jerusalem there were no stones and mortar waiting there, and there were no Home Depots with supplies. There were enemies that sought to destroy them, and there were ethnic Jews who criticized them and attempted to make them doubt. And back in Babylon those who claimed Jewish heritage continued to ignore God’s Word. At least they did not claim that Babylon was God’s creation and the Babylonian founding fathers were passionate followers of Jehovah.

I know, I am a curiosity if not an outright extremist. Enough for now. But I exhort you to read Matthew chapters 5-7 through several times, and in all honesty, see if you see the western church in those teachings. But if those words are too severe, we can run to the security of the doctrine of the Trinity or inerrancy and build our fortress around that. Remember, homosexuality is a sin. (applause here)

Friday, April 16, 2010

God's Grace

I cannot fully describe grace sufficiently through human words. And to attempt to surround God’s grace with words is an awesome journey whose destination can be found in the journey itself. Suffice it to say that we have only scratched the surface concerning the grace that is only found inside the shed blood of God Incarnate. Because we have minimized the depravity of our own sin, not just the concept of sin theologically, it follows that our definition of grace lacks the depth that would be revealed against the relief of the true nature of our sin. We are great theologians concerning sin, but when it comes to identifying our own personal sin, even after knowing Christ, we are woefully inadequate and mostly volitionally shallow in our assessment of our sin as compared with the sin we so easily observe and forcefully condemn in others.

But the life is in the blood. And life eternal comes only through God’s grace which is only found in that same shed blood. It sounds so medieval and unsophisticated in this climate of technology, psychology, and a general exaltation of human endeavor of any kind. But that grace alone is what saves, what sanctifies, and what provides a door into the Divine. All good works and deeds should lift up that grace and should never lift up any man or even the works themselves. There is only One that is good, and there is only one good work, and upon that finished work stands or falls all other works that claim to be good. In Jesus’ name they are good deeds; apart from the name of Jesus they are counterfeits designed to lift up man himself.

But how easily we who have received of God’s grace demand law from those without. The gospel is grace and grace alone. Just believe and be saved. How arrogant it is for those of us who have been rescued from the dunghill and eternity’s horrors by grace through child like faith, to rise up and condemn sinners for behaving in a manner consistent with their nature. Our message is “look and live” and our banner is Yeshua Hamasia. If this isn’t the age of grace what is? Do not fret over anything, beloved, but in passion and love preach and live the grace of God through the Person of Christ. We stand on the Rock called Grace and from that Rock we persuade men with a genuine love for their souls and gratefulness for God’s grace in our own lives.

Release the things of this world and let words of grace and redemption flow from your lips. But what about the evils of this present world? The greater the sin, the louder the call of grace. The gospel is good news for the unrighteous and bad news for the self righteous. Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, so allow Him His mission, and in fact, be a true yokefellow of His heart. Some will be saved with compassion, making (an eternal) difference.

Let us strive to be conduits of gospel grace and not dissonant voices that condemn from the safety of God’s grace. Judgment will come soon enough, but for now we must lift up the Redeemer in thought, word, and deed. The days are evil and the time grows short. Most of the harvest is in the barn, but the fields still bear the whited grains of fruit not yet plucked. There is no higher privilege than to present the good news of Jesus Christ to the vilest sinners among us and see what work grace can accomplish in the heart of a former enemy of Jehovah.

I stand as one of those and publicly admit it was all of God and His grace and none of me. It continues to be so today and it will redound to the glory of God throughout eternity!
I Guess I'm a Liberal!

I believe in liberal love, liberal grace, liberal mercy, liberal philanthropy, liberal faith, liberal hope, liberal atonement, liberal forgiveness, liberal prayer, and liberal obedience.

I guess I’m a liberal!

Disclaimer: I do not believe in liberal/conservative labels. They are manmade and lead to judgment and self righteousness. There are only saved sinners and lost sinners. The above is meant to show the counter productive nature of labels through satire.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

His Glory Manifested

There is no glory like the glory of the Risen Christ. All other claims to glory are frauds and counterfeits. Within every believer dwells that glory. We can never be content with the inward dwelling of Him and His glory; we must strive diligently to break the alabaster box of our selfish lives and let those in darkness see and experience His glory living through us.

It is time the world sees a dynamic and authentic level of Christianity that is more reflective of the Sermon on the Mount and the One who preached it. The entire world, from our next door neighbor to those in far away lands, need to see Jesus alive today. Not gimmicks; not success; not bravado; and not the power of the flesh. Where are the self denying, humble, eternity seeking, and powerfully meek conduits of the Savior of the World?

Answer: We are still embracing the cross of Christ but rejecting the cross with our name upon it. We live - He dies. We die - He lives.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Living in His Kingdom

The New Testament is addressed to believers and provides us with the mind of God on many subjects both practical and spiritual. One of the most overlooked, and in fact tortured, subjects is the relationship a believer and the body of Christ should have with the country in which they live. In America we and our children have been taught that America was birthed as a Christian nation and that it came into being by the hand of God. Of course everything exists under the sovereign auspices of Almighty God, but the suggestion is that God directly orchestrated the Revolutionary War in order to begin the country known as America. Even the Pledge of Allegiance has the words “one nation under God” in its wording. And the words “Creator” and “God” appear in the Declaration of Independence.

And although none of the founding fathers could be considered evangelical, it is true that some of them may well have been believers even though some of them were slave owners and had problems with infidelity. The Lord knows the beginning from the end of everything, and it is without controversy that God has used the body of Christ that would live in this new nation. And it is also without controversy that the hedonistic and humanistic culture in this nation has slowly enveloped God’s church until it made the Scriptures bend to accommodate such behavior. Teachings like the health and wealth gospel, the go into debt building programs, and the alignment of Christ and allegiance to the nation are a result of the culture. All of these core teachings and practices were borrowed from the culture and incorporated into ecclesiastical belief and practice.

But the New Testament only commands us to obey the laws, not to form any alliances with any earthly nation. Even the obvious prophetic hints concerning God and Israel in the future carry no suggestion that we align ourselves with Israel. We are a holy nation, and our citizenship is in heaven. All earthly citizenships can be leveraged for the kingdom’s sake as did Paul, but Paul, being a Roman citizen by birth, would never have shown any allegiance to that secular nation. And who could imagine Paul accepting the role of a Roman soldier and being used to defend or expand the Roman Empire?

Romans chapter 13 is a guide for Christian behavior under secular governments, but it has been misused to suggest that since God can and does sovereignly use earthly governments for His own purposes that we as believing followers of King Jesus should get entangled with the affairs of this world. And now the church has long since waded into the murky and carnal waters of politics and presented the gospel of Jesus Christ as some moral and conservative cause. Much of the lost world in America sees our faith as a moral crusade that includes marriage, capitalism, democracy, and all sorts of issues. They are blinded to the redemption of Jesus Christ because we have presented a message of condemnation rather than redemption. It seems Christ’s followers have forgotten that He Himself did not come to condemn that which is already condemned.

When you travel to other countries around the world and speak with other believers, you may find that most, if not all, hold very little allegiance to their native country and many are offended at what they deem the arrogance of America’s believers. We have been duped by a falsehood that proposes that not only is America interested in the good of all people, but that God is on her side. The New Testament truth is that all nations are before Him, and that there are none that are good and there are none that seeketh after Christ and His kingdom.

My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

There is only one heavenly kingdom, and it lives within the heart of every believer. It knows no earthly nationality; it knows no race; it knows no gender; and it only receives the word of one King. Every believer lives with certain providential aspects of his life. His birthplace, his parents, his physical attributes, and a host of other issues began with the providential plan of the Father and are being manifested by all of us. But the Father never planned for us to grow an affection for our environment and to parse out our loyalties to anything and anyone but the Lord Jesus. All our earthly obedience, all our humanitarian ministries, all our participation in the mundane issues of life, and everything about our lives must be lived through the power of the King and with the unmistakable and undiluted fragrance of His exalted and unique kingdom.

How can we be so content as to blend in with political agendas and national interests? How can we Americanize the gospel and be distracted by issues that cannot save and have no eternal essence? Where did we lose the axe head and yet continued to pretend we are still sacrificially following Him who blazed a trail of redemption through His own culture? How is it that we claim to be inhabited by the Creator of the universe and yet remain so unremarkable within a kingdom of darkness? Can we not see that we have constructed a gospel of convenience and ease that mirrors the surroundings in which we live?

The blood has long been absorbed by the ground on Golgotha, and the tomb has long since given up its dead. The upper room set a handful on fire with the gospel message and that fire lit the known world with the light of Jesus Christ. That light was so bright and brilliant that men either embraced it or killed those who shined. But one thing the world could not do was ignore that light. But today in America we are given a seat at the pluralistic table, and we cling to some indigestible scraps of revisionist history that claim a Christian origin. That’s all we have, brethren? Some historical argument over which religion some of the founding fathers seemed to espouse? Our power is somehow manifested in quoting dead men and interpreting them in order to leverage respect for our so called Christian roots?? What a pitiful lot we are!

Where is the Lord God of Elijah? Where is the power to which we claim access? And why is Jesus so much more prominent in our teachings and theology than He is in a living and vibrant display of our lives insomuch as sinners cannot help but notice the distinctiveness of our existence. Away with all labels that attach themselves to us without bearing the Savior’s reproach! Away with conservative or liberal; away with Democrat or Republican; away withMoral Majorities or Religious right; and away with proudly claiming to be an American, the country which murders the unborn and embraces all gods. The nation that fares sumptuously while children starve. The country which uses violence to achieve its national interests. Away with anything but Christ and Christ alone.

Radical, you say? I challenge you to read through the New Testament in one week and ask the Spirit to make it know to you once more.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Without hashing over whether we should sell everything, let us begin with “What do we actually sacrifice for Christ and does it even remotely reflect that parable?” Warning: Unless you are willing to see things that make you uncomfortable, then as the sign says, “I’d turn back if I were you!”

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Patriotism is a subtle form of paganism.

Rick Frueh circa A.D. 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

All of Him

I have no goodness in me, and I own no claim to eternal life through any works of my own. This day in which the church calls Easter, is actually the day of resurrection celebrated every first day of the week. And it is upon Christ and His finished work of redemption that I place myself wholly and without anything added or taken away.

One million years from today I will be worshiping Him all because of Him and none of me.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A True Story

Last week my best friend and his two sons (15 and 13) went with a church group to minister to Haitian pastors in a week long conference. There were small groups during the day and revival services every night. There were three people delivered from demonic forces during those services which resulted in a public burning of many voodoo artifacts.

But as most of you know, I have consistently suggested that the western church continues to drift from the love of Christ. With that in mind I share this story which happened this week at the pastor’s conference in Haiti:

It was about 11:00 AM and my friend was teaching a class about being a Christian man. As he was speaking the door to the 15’ x 15’ room that was to hold 40 men opened and seven pastors walked in. They motioned for the interpreter and asked him to apologize to the group for their tardiness. The reason they were late? They had to walk 7 hours to get there.

I will share other stories in the future, but let this one exhort us to take inventory of our own commitment.