Monday, May 31, 2010

Thy Face Will I Seek

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Memorial Day

There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spiritual Silence
Silent meditation on the Scriptures, the Savior, redemption, and other related spiritual issues is healthy, edifying, and convicting for every believer. We all talk way too much and listen very little.
God Deliver Us
Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."
Upon hearing the testimony of the blind man who Jesus had healed with spit and mud, the Pharisees declared themselves to be “disciples of Moses” and accused the now seeing man of being a follower of Jesus. The law was their foundation and from its vantage point they were comfortable in condemning everyone. They said they knew God spoke to Moses but that this man, Jesus, was a sinner and God does not speak to sinners.
They had many deceptions in their theology. There are times I feel sorry for them and times I am angry with them. But exposed inside their words are things that expose me as well. I am so given to condemnation and accusation and my words sometimes reveal Moses more than do they Jesus. I am not rejecting any kind of correction or even discernment. But I am openly lamenting my uncertainty about the line of demarcation between correcting and condemning, between discerning and judging, and between standing for truth and self righteousness.
I am not a follower of Moses, and I believe that the grace of Jesus Christ is an ocean that cannot be plumbed by the human mind or even theology. I have a collection of sins that disturb me and a much longer list of personal sins that seemingly disturb me much less. My sins, the ones which no one knows about but me and my God, and the ones which haunt my mind, refuse to allow themselves to become a blog post. And inside this castle of sin are little and great foxes.
And it is this hidden safety which affords me, and you, the license to condemn others so freely and with such verbal authority. But what authority would we have if our thoughts and perhaps some of our deeds were made as public as they have with others? And without the humility that embraces our profound reliance upon God’s grace, we have become nothing less than the Pharisees who claimed to see the speck so perfectly in others. And just so we can all feel comfortable, I do not discount the need for correction and the discernment of spirits.
But I do feel the need to point our discerning beams inward as often, and maybe more often, than we do outwardly. No revival will ever come without the following believers of Jesus Christ being personally broken over their own spiritual walk. And what I do claim to know is this:
While we go around drawing Mohammed, and being obsessed with heresy, and stuffing ballot boxes, and preoccupied with money and things, the church refuses to repent and seek God’s face in the closet of passionate prayer, and ultimately we have become obsessed with the church and have left our first love…Jesus.
Unless there is an unusual revival in the western church we will continue as we are.
God deliver us from what we have become.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Valley Forge - A Holy Place?
Some believers are adamant about tracking the associations of other believers. And when some questionable association is uncovered they are effervescent about exposing that yoking and castigating any and all involved. However, these same believers feel no conviction about joining with unbelievers when it centers around American issues. It seems being an American is the one unequal yoke that is allowed by many orthodox believers who use that verse for almost all other unbiblical associations.

Being tethered to unbelieving Americans is every bit an unholy alliance as is being tethered to unbelieving Iranians.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dead Men Walking

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.

Look upon the cross with the eyes of your spirit. See the marred face and the horror of that bloody mess. Resist the temptation to succumb solely to sentimentality or saccharine feelings of pity. But do welcome passion and emotion and even unspeakable pathos. But look deeper and with penetrating discernment and personal reflection. Look and find you, both then and now. Look until you see your raison d’etre.

This crucifixion must be our reason for being and our motivation for living.

You see, how easy and worthless we have made the Christian experience and the walk of faith? How can we 2000 years later incorperate that crucifixion in our lives? Sure we see the love, the sacrifice, and the redemption, but what is at its core that God desires from us? Our walk of faith centers around money, the family, morality, nationalism, music, Christian books, theology, and even missions. But God’s walk of faith, and the exclusive point of glory for the Apostle Paul, is the cross. Our journey walks on feet; His walks on nails.

We have been called to die. Macabre to some; freedom and glory for those who follow Him.
He is Made in Our Image
There were many prophetic glimpses and many shadows and even ceremonies that pointed to something and Someone to come. The religious leaders thought they knew and Israel as a whole became deceived and even indifferent. But after all the laws, all the violence, all the hatred, and all the amplified ceremonial structures, look Who “emerged”.
He was a liberal in today’s parlance. He came against the orthodox crowd and taught things that surely seemed contrary to the generally accepted understandings of that day. He even ignored certain observances and rubbed shoulders with sinners both men and women. He was in every sense a religious and cultural liberal, at least as men bestow these monikers upon whom they desire. He would be considered a rebel today.
He was far from being a capitalist, and in fact He was a socialist in the general sense of our definition. What conservative capitalist encourages men to give both coats to one who asks of them? What capitalist glories in a fox hole as His home? What capitalist insists that the love of money is the root of all evil, and what economist demands that people do not save up money for themselves? To be more accurate He was neither a socialist or a capitalist. He was the ultimate Giver.
He taught pacifism unless you strip His teachings to mean something else. Those who take some obscure verse and make that their foundation are many times those who claim proper context. No one can read the New Testament and claim that God approves of killing of any sort after He allowed the sacrificial murder of His only Son. Jesus was the Prince of Peace and had no allegiance to any nation.
He was the exact image in human form of God Almighty. He was the Creator, and yet He allowed the spit of wicked men to adorn His face. Such humility is both alien and horrific to our sensibilities, but His followers today retaliate when disrespected. Humbly and silently taking castigation is a sign of weakness in today’s evangelical atmosphere of carnal boldness. And as He was being crucified He asked for forgiveness to those who should have been where He was. We have made the cross a religious museum piece and a doctrine rather than a personal model.

We have lost the vision of who Jesus was and is, and in His place we have constructed a facsimile that bears a striking resemblance to…
I am ashamed to say it…

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Moses and Paul

Interceding for, and even standing in for the obviously guilty, is the essence of the cross. Both Moses and Paul stood and pleaded for their guilty countrymen. Where is that spirit in today’s church?

It has been swallowed up in nationalism. Those that have been given grace demand law from others. That is not what being a follower of Jesus is all about. To be more concerned with dishing out justice than the redemption to sinners is to be aligned with the Accuser and at odds with the Intercessor.
The Gospel to the Poor

Once the issue of redemption through faith alone in Jesus Christ is understood, then one can see something quite interesting throughout the New Testament. Many parables and teachings deal uncomfortably with works, and even with some that seem to use works as the dividing factor between sheep and goats. In fact, without the clear doctrinal teachings of Paul we might be tempted to believe in a works salvation. But there is irrefutable Scriptural evidence that lays out the truth that without faith, and faith alone, no one can be saved. Upon the first sighting of any human work as it pertains to redemption that redemption is eternally poisoned and is an enemy to grace itself.
But after that foundation is established we can see how important works are in the life of a believer. And not just the usual list of dos and don’ts that the western church has constructed, but a list of works that God deems paramount and revealing of an authentic believing follower of Jesus Christ. And central to these works is the ministry to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the social outcasts. From the very moment that the church in Jerusalem understood that Gentiles could be saved they immediately made mention of a ministry to the poor. Jesus Himself was faithful to identify His own poverty as He walked as a man.
I did not see this clearly in my early years as a believer, and I was quick to defend certain doctrines while giving pitiful lip service to others. I mean who could be against the ministry to the poor? At least with our lips, and as a doctrinal aside, we acknowledged such. In my Bible College there were many classes on certain doctrines and even some entitled “Systematic Theology”, but there were no classes on the divine call to minister to the poor and downtrodden. In fact, most "orthodox" and "conservative" Bible colleges treat any kind of social ministries as the liberal wing of evangelicalism and they often and loudly warn of its dangers while assuring everyone they believe in such things as long as they are free from gospel entanglement. But that does not square with the tone of the New Testament and the passion that Jesus had for those who were without upon this earth.
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. What light was supposed to shine to those who need to see our Heavenly Father? Was it because we do not smoke? Or drink? Or do drugs or commit adultery? I have heard atheists and agnostics notice that the church falls short in this area. Even such outspoken atheists like Bill Mayer and Christopher Hitchens have often pointed out the western church and their lifestyles and lack of sacrificial passion for the poor and downtrodden, as well as our preoccupation with the sinner's sin and the supposed divine destiny of America. Sadly, from the mouth of unbelievers comes truth. However that also reveals that the lost see the ministry to the poor as spiritual and they know nothing of any doctrinal disputes. That seems to be the city on a hill that would draw men to ask us of our faith and hope. So when believers take political sides and castigate the gay community, and demand all illegals be deported, and treat Muslims with contempt and ridicule, what must the lost person think of our faith? He dismisses our faith as just another set of moral rules and political perspectives, and now we are not known for Jesus…we are known for our causes and moral crusades. And when someone like Bono spends time and energy in an effort to raise money and awareness for the poor and sick around the world, the orthodox church is quick to discredit him lest we allow the Spirit to use someone of his "ilk" to chasten our own lethargy.
The fallen man cannot know the things of God, but the Spirit will use the gospel to draw that same lost man if we do not place these earthly stumbling blocks in his way. The western church is consumed with greed, nationalism, hatred, arrogance, and carnal boldness which have created an atmosphere of powerless rhetoric that diminishes the Lord we claim to follow. And Sunday after Sunday men speak from pulpits as if God approved of all our debt, lavish lifestyles, and dead religion. The whores, and the addicts, and the alcoholics, and the homosexuals, and heterosexuals, and the imprisoned, and millions of children are without authentic love and hope, and many are being systematically tortured. They, like Lazarus, watch as we build bigger barns and store up our goods for future days and we continue to be willingly oblivious to people's plight to say nothing of God's written desires. But God sees what we do as well and He hears as we attach Jesus’ name to what we do. Jesus has nothing to do with any of it.
Many in the orthodox community spend inordinate energy and time defending the inerrancy of the written Scriptures while boldy disobeying many of the "inerrant" teachings of the New Testament. And when presented with such a suggestion they recoil and retreat to the safety of their systematic forts and "heretic" label makers. Introspection does not seem to be their best suit. Believing and teaching the inerrancy of Scripture, including confronting those who dismantle and change its teachings, are worthless and hypocrisy at its zenith when it is accommpanied by a blatant disregard for the very teachings we claim are inerrant. Defending the faith consists of two major principles: Defending Jesus by word and deed - and the deed is much more than lip and pen service. In fact, this kind of defense is actually a redemptive offense.
That does not mean people are not saved since salvation is purely by faith and faith alone. But it does mean that we in the west have bought into a ecclesiastical system that has disemboweled the very essence of what it means to be a believing follower of Jesus. In our playbook a true believer is a church member, a tither, pro-life, conservative, and careful with his finances. Just a cursory reading of the New Testament would suggest a true believer is a verbal witness, a painfully humble person, meek, moderate, loving and gracious, and he is passionate about the poor and disenfranchised. What are the hot issues that usually take up our thoughts and banter? Gays, Muslim extremists, Hollywood, Miley Cyrus, Voting, the Judeo-Christian ethic, and a host of other things that benefit no one. Rarely are we energetically engaged about how we can reach starving children around the world, or how we can reach more prisoners, or God forbid how we can reach out and help undocumented Mexicans in this country. God has every single one documented.
And some of the same believers who would disobey any law that forbid us to read our Bibles, defend the mercurial and financially motivated laws that attempt to find and deport many poor people who have come in search of the common necessaries of survival. But what they fail to see is that the government's views and laws about undocumented workers is every bit as antichrist as would be a law forbiding Bible studies. You see, we are in favor of confronting a law that would forbid a Bible study, but we happily support a law that forbids our obedience to the teachings supposedly learned in those "Bible" studies.

I again challenge you to read the New Testament all the way through in one month. And at the conclusion ask the Spirit to reveal to you what God desires of us who claim to know and follow Him.

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

(By a complete study of the New Testament we see that salvation comes by faith alone, so that cannot be what is suggested here. However these words came from the very lips of God. They must mean something very important.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Draw Mohammed Day
Recently there was a campaign called “Draw Mohammed Day” in which everyone was encouraged to draw Mohammed which would incite Muslims of all stripes. It began with humanists claiming it would confront the need for free speech and to show courage against threats from Muslim extremists. In short, it is the world battling the world with carnal weapons.

We as followers of Jesus should know better and be lovingly broken over the eternal plight of all outside the redemption of Christ. To purposely incite people from other religions goes against the teachings from the Founder of our faith. How did Jesus "confront" the false gods of this world? He went to the cross and sacrificed Himself. He calls us to do the same.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Grace of Jesus

Jesus, I have no other gods before me. I have failed you perfectly in so many ways, but my shame showcases the eternal incandescence of your matchless grace. What words of mine can magnify You and Your redemption? That You would embrace a sinner like me is unthinkable, but the reality of such salvation turns a rebel into a son. And not one single work of righteousness is mine.

If it is not all of grace then no one will be saved…most of all me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

He is All in All
There is nothing like knowing, and yes experiencing, Jesus. All human endeavors and pursuits fade into meaninglessness when compared with having even one moment with the Creator, Savior, and Redeemer. Just to pause and fellowship with Him is hope itself. Let others draw whatever they can from the shallow and bitter well of this present world, but some of us can only dream of the next moment with Him and the first moment of being in His presence forever.

After 58 years this month upon this world there is nothing left but Him. The “life” in eternal life is Jesus who is our life. I feel His return is coming soon, and that day will be the culmination of the divine plan that was with God before the worlds were spoken into existence. And somehow I was included in that eternal plan. In my mind no one deserved it less than did I.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Fallen Systems of Men

Communism, totalitarianism, socialism, Nazism, and capitalism are all fallen man made systems. To defend any of them is idolatry. Did I mention the fallen system called democracy which is defined by fallen men governing themselves? Democracy began with the coronation of a man called Saul.

Rick Frueh A.D. 2010
I Saw a Hypocrite This Morning

When I used to attend rock concerts (Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Jethro Tull, etc.) there was a camaraderie among all of us that broke down unnecessary walls. It did not matter about backgrounds, social standings, race, or most anything else. We were “brothers and sisters” so to speak and the hospitality was tangible.

That atmosphere is sorely missing in the body of Christ. Why? I have come to the conclusion we have complicated the gospel and the message of redemption. Systematic theology with all its accoutrements has built up unnecessary walls of separation that have nothing to do with redemption and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The early believers knew nothing of the finer points of theology; they only believed that Jesus was the Risen Christ and the only Messiah. The truth that tied believers together was that eternal life could be found by faith in Jesus Christ.

Fast forward to the year A.D. 2010. Thousands of denominations have sprung up; each with their own set of distinctive doctrinal particulars. Eternal life has given way to fine tuning and deriving benefits from this earthly life, and Jesus has become a moral politician that desires national reform rather than personal salvation. We have taken the simple gospel message and exchanged it for a message that is joined to all kinds of other issues both moral and theological. And in so doing, we have not only created little ecclesiastical forts, but we have left the gospel itself.

“Look how they love one another” is a bad joke today. We cannot stand each other to say nothing of love. And in the midst of this colossal evangelical quagmire…we do not even really care. We have nothing by which to judge ourselves because during our lifetime it has always been like this. Our grand and glorious systematic theology books are like the Encyclopedia Britannica, and yet we profess to believe the “unless you become like a little child” exhortation. The Greek language has become an idol, and everyone must believe in Scriptural inerrancy regardless of the many conflicting interpretations even among the ardent inerrantists. So the interpretations are not inerrant but we still must espouse inerrancy or be deemed a heretic? How about this: You are not a heretic if you do not believe in inerrancy, but you are a heretic if you do not obey the Scriptures…starting with I Corinthians chapter 13.

I saw a hypocrite this morning.

You can see one also.

Gaze into a mirror.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Without Love
It is sometimes suggested that anyone who sins willfully cannot be a genuine believer. The adverb “willfully” is usually associated with certain sins. But in light of I Corinthians chapter 13, and in light of the way most believers do not even attempt to fulfill its commandments, we all are living in willful sin. Ambivalent, contented with failure, and exhibiting no more or less love than do those who walk in darkness.

In fact, the western church has long since lost the knowledge of what it means to truly love each other, to say nothing of loving our enemies as did Jesus upon the cross. No wonder we have to manipulate sinners to come to Christ through programs, entertainment, and strategies. I am convinced that the greatest stumblingblock to lost sinners is not the moral failures of pastors, or the iconoclast attacks from the devil, or even the Biblical illiteracy of the average church goer.

It is the abject and blatant lack of demonstrable love of the individual believer and the church of Jesus Christ as a whole. Without love we have nothing but powerless, theological words.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Poor Excuse for Christianity

Theology is a poor excuse for Christianity.

Rick Frueh circa A.D. 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Undocumented Workers
The Atmosphere of Hypocrisy

A few hundred years ago an indigenous people set up communities all over their land. They lived off this wonderful land for many years. But one day some undocumented people came ashore and set up their own community. Some of the indigenous people objected to this intrusion, especially since these undocumented people began to take food out their mouths by killing their buffalo herds by the millions. Very rapidly the indigenous people began to lose their land to these undocumented people, and eventually the native people were decimated through overwhelming violence. To a large degree, these undocumented people committed genocide.

Many years later, the descendents of these undocumented people now enjoyed the fruits of their forefather’s takeover of this land, and by sheer numbers and power they now claimed to be the native people. But one day some undocumented people began to cross these new borders, mostly looking for work and to escape the bondage of poverty. Well, these new native people were energized to protect what they had rightfully stolen (Princess Bride), and they set out to find these undocumented people and send them back to where they came from. Although these undocumented people were not attempting to wipe out the descendents of the first undocumented people, the new natives felt like they were losing jobs and money.

So the people, who enjoyed the results of genocide by their undocumented forefathers, were not about to show some compassion to any undocumented people of today.

A king called for a man who owed him a large amount of money. The man begged for time and the king was moved with compassion and forgave him the entire debt. But that same man went out and found a man who owed him a few dollars, and that man had the man thrown into prison.

That parable illustrates blatant hypocrisy. To not see a connection with the undocumented workers is to be willfully blind. And my comparison is on an earthly level. We as believing followers of Jesus Christ should rise to a higher standard. Let the government do what pleases them, but as ministers of reconciliation and love, let us move in communities of compassion.

Our standard is Jesus...not Ceasar.
The Path of Grace

The path of grace that leads to life is littered with many manmade obstacles as well as many shortcuts that lead to death. But when you reach your destination and you turn around to see your footprints that carried you to Jesus you might be surprised when you find you left no footprints at all. Human footprints do not lead to Jesus.

Rick Frueh circa A.D. 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Resurrection

I posted an article about a leading emergent’s presentation of the resurrection. You can read that post here.

And now I humbly ,and with an admitted incompetence, attempt to reveal the power and glory of the resurrection of the God/man called Jesus. But inherent within the glory of Christ’s victory over death are the sufferings endured upon the place of torture and death we concisely call the “cross”. That term, the “cross”, has become a word that many times engenders fondness, sentimentality, and even religious thoughts. It has become a cultural term that indicates a religion called Christianity, but it has effectively lost its redemptive quintessence which forms the entire embodiment of its eternal significance. And without that understanding, not only does the meaning of the cross lose its power and glory, but so does the resurrection.

To put it simply, to misunderstand, misappropriate, or even dilute the cross of Jesus Christ immediately compromises the colossal meaning of the resurrection which authenticates, validates, and eternally confirms what was accomplished upon that cross. Of course it is insignificant and unsophisticated to the fallen mind, but to those who have been enlightened by the Spirit and changed by that same power it is the source of our redemption. The cross to us is an ongoing exploration of an eternal mystery through which we see more clearly who Jesus is and what He has done in our place. That is why it is sacrilegious to present the resurrection as some form of “God hasn’t given up on the world”…whatever that means. I wonder how the starving children in Darfur can process that declaration in light of their present circumstances.

The gospel isn’t a message that God has a positive attitude about the world. The resurrection at the most basic level reveals openly that although God gave His Son for the sins of mankind that same Son did not stay dead. He is risen! And if Jesus rose from the dead then He is the Son of God and whosoever believes in Him is forgiven of their sins and has eternal life. As Paul said, if Jesus did not rise from the dead we are still in our sins. That is the message of the resurrection: We who believe are not dead in our sins because upon the cross they were paid for in full. How do we know this? The resurrection!!

How shocked must be the angels of heaven when they see that resurrection being manipulated to mean something other than what God has said in His Word. Think about the two angels whose message was to say, “He is not here…He is risen”. And why were the soldiers paid to lie and say His body was stolen? Not because people would believe that God hasn’t given up on the world, but that people might believe on Jesus Himself as the Savior of the world. Up until Sunday morning even His disciples saw the cross as a defeat, but when Jesus was raised from the dead He was declared to be the Son of God by the spirit of holiness. The resurrection eternally identifies He who suffered and died on that cross.

How dare we downplay and even ignore those precious wounds and those unimaginable sufferings. If we lose sight of what Jesus did upon the cross we lose our faith regardless of how many positive spins we put on the designs of God. Should Jesus tarry we can be assured that more and more false teachers will present another gospel that uses the same gospel words but are substantive departures from the faith of Christ. Those who refuse even a measure of discernment may fall prey to these teachings and not be aware of what they are believing. I have often said this to those entrusted to my spiritual care, “With the shallow spiritual state of the church, who do people believe? Usually the one they heard last or the one who has the most effective and creative way to present their views”.

But let us leave the comparison. I have personal reasons for loving and exalting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus rose from the dead for me. I cannot explain it and I cannot fully understand it, but when Jesus died upon the cross and then resurrected from the dead He was doing it collectively for all and personally for each. And I have never adequately shared how sinful I really am and what sinful thoughts I have entertained in unguarded moments in my 58 years including 35 knowing Christ. I am convinced that try as we might we all have a built in defensive mechanism that admits to depravity and fallenness while still retaining a significant and structurally sound wall of protection. I am far more sinful than anyone knows.

And even with that admission I realize that God knows infinitely more about my sin than do I. And even with my self serving compromised view of my own sin I cannot but embrace and love He who died and rose for me. Yes, the gospels were written for me to know how much God loved my and gave for me. And when I think of the implications of God Himself enduring the punishment for my sins, including all the sins I have committed after I believed in Jesus, I am undone.

I am undone. I deserved hell.
The only worth I have is what Jesus did for me.
The glory of the Risen Christ will be on display for all eternity and purely be God’s grace I will be allowed to see and worship Him.
I am undone.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Rick Frueh Comes Out of the Closet

With all the professing Christians coming out and admitting to having same sex attractions, and with all of the easy pouncing being done by “discernment” blogs on such people and their struggles, I felt it time I come out of the closet myself. I have been a hedonist for almost all of my 35 years as a believer including many years as a pastor. I encourage all the discernment crowd to follow my example and come out into the light of spiritual freedom as well. How do I know I am a hedonist? Here are just a few items that are unmistakable:

* I have a swimming pool with hundreds of gallons of water when millions do not have enough drinking water.
* Over the years I have thrown out embarrassing amounts of food.
* I have spent four times as much on food in restaurants while millions starve.
* I have had a savings account while still professing to trust God.
* I have several rooms with televisions in them.
* I have bought cars above that which I needed.
* I have given money to help a church building pay interest to secular institutions that use it to lend to establishments we would not support.
* Over the years I have had an enormous amount of clothing that I did not need.
* I have spent thousands of dollars to attend various Christian conferences.
* I have spent much money to buy Christian signs, bumper stickers, fish symbols, Bibles, Bible covers, crosses, and Christian pictures.
* I have spent much money on preaching tapes, Christian books, Christian magazines, and Christian music tapes and CDs.
* In 58 years I have spent an obscene amount of money on entertainment, all while knowing people are starving.
* I have actually paid money to hear a Christian sing.
* I am not content with food and clothing.
* I have bought things for my children that they did not need.
* I have spent much money on dogs over the years.
* And many other tell tale signs of a hedonist.

Now I was involved with the hedonist community where we all practiced such things and even suggested God’s blessing and approval on our behavior. If Larry King had asked us to appear on his television show we would have gladly explained why we were hedonists and that God wanted us to enjoy the good things in life. And when Larry quoted some verses in the New Testament that suggested otherwise we would have told him he was interpreting them out of context. But still we would not admit that being a hedonist was wrong.

But today I am coming out of the closet and openly and before God admit that I am in many ways a hedonist. I want to deny the Scriptures but they are so very clear I cannot twist them enough to make room for 35 years of my Christian lifestyle. I was born this way; being selfish and seeking that which benefits me supremely. There are many in my community that are afraid to come out for fear they will be criticized and even mocked. In fact, many are so perplexed about their lifestyles that they still believe God is blessing them in their way of living.

A few years ago I was so very comfortable in castigating other groups that lived lives that reflected the western culture rather than the “in His steps” culture. The gay community always provided for me and my community a convenient whipping boy that elevated their sin and camouflaged our own. To this day most of my hedonist brothers and sisters are offended by any suggestion that they lead anything less than a life that accurately reflects the New Testament life and teachings of Jesus. You see, we held onto our orthodox view of Scripture and used that as a protective doctrinal fort which blinded us to some of the most obvious ways we lived in disobedience to the Master.

So today I am coming out as a practicing hedonist in direct defiance of the open understandings of the New Testament teachings. Again I exhort those brothers and sisters to take the hedonist plank out their own eye before they pillage the lives of others who struggle with other sins. I do see a connection with my hedonist community and the gay community. Both are blind to their sin and both say that they see clearly. There is redemption for both.

Let us hope that a person can be a genuine believer and still be a hedonist.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Where are our Hearts?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What in the world did Jesus mean by these words? Be careful, you who are militant about literal inerrancy; you who strain at the homosexual verses but have no problem dismissing these words. You may notice Jesus did not say to make sure your heart does belong to the treasures you store up for yourself. No, Jesus says that your heart will be where your treasure is, and if you store up money upon this earth your heart will definitely be in that treasure.
Go ahead and listen to preachers who reject the prosperity message but are only too content to explain away these words from the Master they profess to believe. Have we not been consumed by this Babylonian culture and in so doing we by necessity need to soften and even change the open and literal meaning of the words of Jesus? What if it was revealed one day that if all the money saved up in western bank accounts of believers could have been used to spread the gospel many more souls might have heard the gospel message? What if that money could have been used to feed starving children and help brothers and sisters in Christ in need around the world?
What if was revealed that if we had let loose of this earth’s treasures that our hearts could have been so much closer to Christ and so much less stressed and worried? And what if the billions upon billions of dollars that were paid to secular institutions through church mortgage interest payments would have been used to help the poor, widows, and orphans? Who can righteously come forth and say that the God of the Scriptures would choose buildings over orphans? And who could argue that God is hoodwinked by our token humanitarian efforts which never even mean a sacrifice that requires us to endure something like these:
· Less food
· Less dining out
· Less pets
· Less movies
· Less clothes
· No air conditioning
· No vacation
What kind of God approves of money that could buy food for people who starve being saved up for some future self expenditure? What lesson was the Master teaching in the story of the rich man and Lazarus? And the same people who change the words of Jesus to mean “lay up for yourselves treasures on earth as long as those treasures do not have you” are the very same people who castigate gay people who change God’s Word to accommodate their lifestyle. One group modifies God’s Word to accommodate a sexual lifestyle while the other modifies God’s Word to accommodate a hedonistic lifestyle.
Please tell me how God separates one hypocrisy from another. I realize that in order for us to actually entertain the notion that we have altered the Christian faith and practice we must unravel and repent of decades of heretical teachings that have taken place in orthodox pulpits. We would have to read the New Testament again and afresh with a passion to reject everything we may have learned that is not in concert with the teachings of Christ and the epistles.
It is so much easier to elevate the sins of the emergent church and the gay community and the liberal theologians because it keeps us from pausing with a polished mirror to see ourselves in the context of the New Testament teachings and the very life of Jesus Himself. We do not need to tweek this system we espouse within the community of faith. We need to scrap the entire thing, fall on our faces before God, and beg God to fill us with a passion to seek Him whatever the cost.

Or we could just go on as we have been doing.
I’m sure God will continue to be impressed and pleased.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

What Would Jesus Do?

Would Jesus demean and castigate lost sinners?

Would Jesus become one of many political participants?

Would Jesus feed dogs before He fed hungry children?

Would Jesus approve of coarse language coming from His followers?

Would Jesus endorse capitalism?

Would Jesus kill people to protect an earthly government?

Would Jesus attack and denounce those He said He came to seek and save?

Would Jesus seek the applause of those who agreed with Him?

Would Jesus have a large wardrobe?

Would Jesus save large amounts of money for His retirement?

Would Jesus endorse profiting from writing books about His book?

Would Jesus hire a well paid staff?

Would Jesus construct a one hour worship time?

Would Jesus live consistently without tears for lost sinners?

Would Jesus offer redemption or condemnation?

Would Jesus be pleased as many missionaries are barely supported while the western church lives in comparable luxury?

Would Jesus be content with a lukewarm, hedonistic, and culturally comfortable band of people who claim to be following Him?

What would Jesus do?
I have my thoughts...