Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Long Live Our Sacred Germany!

Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!
On July 21, 1944 at about 1:00 A.M., a Nazi firing squad lifted their rifles, and lit by the headlights of cars, they executed their human target. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg fell dead, having been executed for his major part in a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. But it is his last recorded words that should be a learning experience for us as believing followers of Jesus Christ.
Just before he was shot he shouted "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!", which means in English “Long live our sacred Germany!”. When we as believers inspect and assess such a statement we must be moved with grief for such allegiance. But that patriotism is definitely in line with the cultures and upbringing in many, if not most, countries. The rich and embellished histories of countries are carefully spoon fed to the children at the youngest of ages and then strengthened with ceremony, pledges, flags, and nationalistic music. It is this kind of misguided teaching that has led to many unfortunate historical episodes and wars, not the least of which was the rise of the National Socialist Party in Nazi Germany. But this is to be expected in the world and it will continue until Christ comes again.
But what has been most unfortunate and even deadly is the way American evangelicalism has bought into such teachings, and even given an unashamed allegiance to the country in which they were born. This year July 4th will fall upon a Sunday, and on the day which is supposed to be for the celebration of the resurrection and the worship of the Risen Christ, many American churches will observe a “patriotic” service complete with nationalistic songs, the celebration of this nation, and even overtures of allegiance and love. All of which is nothing more than overt idolatry and sacrilege within the gathering that must always be exclusively His.
I do not hate America; I hate idolatry. And lest you get the impression that my hands are clean let me reveal this to you. I once led the songs and I once was filled with emotion in patriotic services and I once pledged allegiance to the flag. So I do not judge anyone, but I must judge the actions that continue to take place within the church. It is this “Long live sacred America” view that has drained the church of her God given power and made us nothing more than patriots that happen to be religious. And this nation is no better or no worse than any other; they all are fallen. Political freedom has become an idol as well, and democracy is worshiped. We would do well to remember than when Christ comes to reign again on earth He will not set up a democracy.
Listen to the talk show hosts as they warn us about losing the lifestyle we once knew and how our freedoms are being taken away from us. That may be true for the unregenerate, but for the redeemed this nation cannot take anything away from us at all. Our freedom is in Christ, our joy is in Christ, our salvation is in Christ, and our very lives are in Christ. And when the world brings darkness it only presents an opportunity to shine the glorious light of Jesus and His gospel. When our reactions mirror those of the lost then we have left Christ.
And so I ask you, on this Sunday, to open your heart to the Spirit and see how God actually feels about all this national revelry. Jesus must be Lord, and if that does not become conspicuous and remarkable within any culture and nation, then He is only Lord in words and not the heart. It is past time that the church come out from among them and be different. Not in moral self righteousness, but in humble power that lifts up the Christ in word and deed. Until then we can continue with our religious and national amalgam and feel good about ourselves.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Light of Death

Many white professing Christians say that President Obama is destroying America. Many white professing Christians said the same thing about President Lincoln. During all the politics and nationalism Jesus has been moved from the heart to the head. Like a doctor who instead of giving his dying patient the heart transplant he so desperately needs, the doctor loudly chastens his patient about the wrinkles in his hospital gown.

Protecting and defending a nation has never been our calling. Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ is our exclusive calling. We have seen the results when we attempt to do both. Instead of the glorious light of Jesus Christ shining through the church, we now reflect a light which shines forth as red, white, and blue.

That light is eternal death.

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Impossible Vision
Years ago it might have been very difficult to imagine that one day a man would be paid almost a billion dollars to talk, or that same man would brag that he leaves every light in his mansion on all night, or that he would be working on his fourth wife, or that he would pay an openly and militant gay man 1 million dollars to sing at his wedding, or that he would blaspheme the name of God on his radio show, or that his show would contain endless self righteous statements of braggadocio, or that the consuming content of his radio show is attacking, complaining, and incessantly lifting up an economic view as a divine idol. It would have been very difficult to imagine such a scenario.
What would have been impossible to imagine is that someone could endorse such a man and still claim to be a believing follower of Jesus Christ.
Donating to God's Enemies

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

The church borrows much more than those thirty pieces of silver from the spirits of antichrist today. How many pieces of silver in the form of usury, coming directly from the local Christian assemblies, are used for causes in direct conflict with the gospel of Jesus Christ? It is amazing how easily we can abrogate the clear teachings of Scripture when those teachings stand in the way of something we believe to be good. Many things we believe to be good and right are actually hindrances to the gospel. The practices of any culture must never be allowed to supersede Biblical teachings and slowly eradicate the remarkable essence of the church.
When the church has to borrow funds from the antichrist banking system and pays its loans back with substantial interest it openly shows the world that our God cannot provide and that we are willing to support causes that we are against in order to build meeting places. Banks use interest to make loans to abortion clinics, planned parenthood, bars, strip clubs, and all kinds of other enterprises that preachers preach against with their lips but lead their congregations to support with their wallets. Our hypocrisy is astounding and like Samson we do not even realize it.

Constantine has become the George Washington of the modern church construct.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Christianity is not just a person who believes a set of truths alone; it is a life lived remarkably in light of those same truths. Believing and living those truths are symbiotic and are equally essential for authenticity.

Rick Frueh A.D. 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Place of Experience (s)
in a Believer’s Life

Nothing supersedes the revelation of Scripture, and any experience must expand, compliment, and illuminate the Christ revealed in Scripture without adding, subtracting, or changing that foundational revelation. As Dickens said, “This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of what I will share”. Sometimes, in a genuine concern over truth departures and cult like teachings, many believers become afraid and suspicious of experiences as a believer and a passionate seeker of Christ in all His fullness. There are many and varied spurious and heretical teachings that claim to have emanated from personal experiences with the Spirit of God that are obvious counterfeits that lead away from the Risen Christ and usually elevate some man or woman. We all can be vigilant concerning such things.
But we must not eschew the notion of deeper encounters and life changing experiences with the Christ of God through the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. The enemy has been successful in immobilizing the body of Christ in the west and alluring us with the sirens of morality, nationalism, and cold systematic theology and doctrine. I have met believers who espouse the same theology and one will be a cold and rigid person who clings to his theology as his standard, and the other is a humble and pliable soul who weeps easily, prays with brokenness and passion, and who seeks a deeper experience with Christ that both strips him of worldly affections and allows him a sacred glimpse into the mystery of the Incarnate bloodshed. And as I have said, both believe basically the same theology.
So what do we make of any experiences with Jesus? Many of God's Names are nouns of experience - Deliverer, Healer, Savior. Let us examine a few Biblical examples of how God used experiences to illuminate His people into a fuller revelation of Himself as well as create a greater and more urgent thirst for more of Himself. God almost incessantly reminds the children of Israel that He delivered them through the Red Sea from the hand of the Egyptian oppressors. In fact, God calls Himself the Deliverer and uses that name prophetically when He refers to the coming Messiah. And deliverance is both a doctrine and an experience. I have personally experienced the delivering power of Christ, and still beseech Him to deliver me more and more from me.
Peter reiterates his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration and was careful to place the written Word as primary and as “more sure”. But the Spirit directed that experience to be initially recorded as well as remembered by Peter in his second epistle. Many are the experiences recorded in the Book of Acts, and many were instrumental in bringing sinners to Christ and believers to repentance. And the Apostle Paul himself acknowledges the many experiences he has been graced with concerning revelations of the Christ and even of heaven itself, but the same God who gave him such wonderful mysteries also gave him a thorn in order to keep him from being puffed up or self righteous. Experiences of the Spirit, when received in brokenness, humility, and gracious thanksgiving should crucify us more fully and resurrect the Risen Christ within and through us. “That I might decrease and He might increase.”
These experiences are more often than not void of any visible manifestations or miracles. And most will be birthed in the closet of prayer or an extended season of worship or an elongated meditation of the Word itself. And if we take our sacred experiences and attempt to force them upon others or even share them in such a way as to exalt ourselves and our relationship with God, then we are operating in the flesh and not the Spirit. And experiences vary in depth and occurrence. Personally I have had scores of genuine experiences with God that I would consider extraordinary, but I have had only six or seven in 35 years that I would say were life changing. And none of my encounters ever drew me away from the Scriptures, and in fact, I came away with an insatiable appetite to learn and know more of Him through those same Scriptures. Along with a personal alteration, both inwardly and outwardly, I was allowed a fresh breath of the Spirit. And most times I was changed and challenged in ways I could not have foreseen. Sounds mystical? It is.
And Paul states this desire which is an immeasurably profound statement that goes far beyond being acquainted with all the organized theology and original language familiarities.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Oh my. Oh my. This is the apostle that met face to face with the glorified Christ and learned at His feet. This was the apostle that was led to Christ by Christ Himself. Paul was given the whole gospel and commissioned to witness of Christ to the entire world as well as the embryonic church. And Paul was given revelation upon revelation and experience upon experience that stood apart from all the other disciples. And Paul was awarded the glory of martyrdom for his majestic Savior. And still Paul hungers to know Christ more. The word “know” in that verse is the same Greek word used in Matt.1:18 that said that Joseph “knew not” his wife until Jesus had been born. Think on that! Paul wishes to know Christ is such a depth that it approaches an intimacy known by a husband and wife. And we have heard such teachings many times over the years, but please tell me how we can move into such wonders without an experience?
Must we memorize Strong’s Concordance? Or become conversant with Koine Greek? Or any and all systematic theologies? Or even memorize the New Testament itself?! We cannot know Christ without the Scriptures, but knowing the Scriptures does not always mean a proportionate knowledge of Christ. Studying the Scriptures just to uncover more truth that substantiates the truth you already know is nothing but using the Word to defend yourself. But searching the Scriptures, along with agonizing internally about knowing more of Jesus personally, and allowing the Spirit to circumcise your heart, bring you a glorious revelation of the Christ, and then painfully and marvelously crucify you into more of His image, is an unspeakable glory. Discipleship goes beyond does and don’ts.
We cannot be transfigured into His image if we are ignorant about just what His image looks like. Do we weep over the lost and the prodigal? Is our prayer life such that people ask us to teach them to pray? Are our affections so set above that others must ask us about our hope? Are His daily mercies experiential or doctrinal knowledge? And are we even a little unnerved and embarrassed that we have so little power, fruit, and as many experiences with Christ as do our lost neighbors? Do we desire revival?

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Appropriate Repost
I rarely repost any of my writings, but I believe this is both poignant and helpful in our present discussions and meditations.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To Know His Sufferings

A blog friend and brother posted this and commented how God was judging America.

I do not believe God deals with nations anymore as He did in the Old Testament. The word nations is ethnos and it refers to people. America is not being "judged". Jesus did not come to condemn but to save. Judgment will come later as individuals stand before God at the White Throne.
I do not judge the motives of these men, but when you bring recording equipment in preparation for documenting your persecution you are sensationalizing your activity. I read no pathos for those lost Muslims, and when we bemoan some supposed judgment of God on this nation we miss entirely the redemptive motivation of God in these gospel days. And since when does persecution, if it be so, mean God’s judgment?
Peter rejoiced in his persecution, as did Paul and the others. Even Stephen asked for forgiveness for his murderers. They did not spend time outlining how unfair Rome was to believers. The obsession with this nation continues to distract us from our calling and ministry, and in fact lead us away from Christ. When we see sinners as eternally lost and in desperate need of Christ and not in any ethnic or national context we will have moved closer to the heart of God.
Let us pry our hearts away from any allegiance or even affection for anything on this earth, especially a secular and fallen governmental construct within whose jurisdiction God's providence has placed us. We are here to be salt, light, and a city on a hill, not to be a part of a self elevating view of a nation which not only considers itself better than all the rest, the devil has deceived the church into believing it used to be and still might be Christian.

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

Let us pray for Muslims everywhere and that God would soften our hearts concerning the most violent and hateful among them. The Lord is extending His nail scarred hands toward them just as He did toward us. Being a believing follower of Jesus does not unravel in predictable ways. We should not be concerned with ourselves, and if we are to be arrested for doing good then let us sing as did Paul and Silas. It was the heart of rejoicing that led the jailer to Jesus, not some debate on what rights Paul was being denied.
I don’t deserve to be arrested; I deserve to die and be separated from God eternally. I have no rights of my own since I am both a slave and a son to the King of the Universe. And that King looked down when He was being crucified and asked that they be forgiven since they did not really know what they were doing. And such are these precious, precious Muslim people. We continue to be manipulated into looking differently at Muslims than we do at others, and yet they are in dire need of redemption.
Will we allow harsh words, threats of violence, or even death dissuade us from sharing redemption with these sinners? Were it not for grace we would all still be the enemies of God, but as it stands we have been received into His family and made righteous in His sight. We must be living sacrifices that think nothing of our rights or comfort; we must be about our Father’s business. And any persecution we might endure should bring rejoicing in our hearts and a deeper call for prayer for our persecutors.
In the June edition of the magazine “The Voice of the Martyrs” there is a story of a Muslim terrorist who actually murdered believers. He had been trained as a terrorist, and he actually secretly entered an evangelical church in order to infiltrate them in order to do violence to its members. He went forward and disingenuously announced his faith in Jesus and was even baptized. His mission went better than he had ever expected and month after month he gained more information, and his acting was so convincing he was asked to help minister to the youth. But the believers showed him so much love and kindness it began to move his heart. He began to fall in love with these people although he fought it. One day a guest preacher came and preached from the text, “How long will you halt between two opinions?”. This man went forward in genuine conviction and brokenness and admitted publicly that he was a fraud. He made his profession of faith and was gloriously saved. He is now sought after by Muslim extremists, and in fact his son has been killed by terrorists.
But he loves the Muslim people, and he cannot but share the grace he has found in Jesus Christ. The entire account is not to bring notoriety or sympathy for him and his family, but it was written to let us all know that God can reach these Muslims, even the most violent among them. And it also should chasten our behavior to be more loving, more forgiving, and more redemptive. This isn’t about us regardless of what we might endure for Him. This is all about declaring His sufferings and His resurrection in a humble and loving boldness that refuses to complain about our situation. We are to live for Him in any situation. And in the west we are so used to living in convenience that the slightest persecution brings forth umbrage and outrage.
David Wilkerson was called to New York City (Where I am from) to bring the gospel to the gangs. The leader of the most violent Latin gang was named Nicki Cruz. In one confrontation Nicki told David that if he spoke about Jesus one more time he would cut him to pieces with the knife he was wielding. David replied that he had no doubt that Nicki could do that, but that if he did then every piece of his body would still say, “I love you, Nicki”. Nicki Cruz eventually became a believer and is now a minister of the gospel. (You can read his account in a book called, “The Sword and the Switchblade”)
Elizabeth Elliot’s husband was murdered by the very people he was attempting to reach for Jesus. Bitterness and outrage? Never! Elizabeth became broken for the souls of her husband’s killers and many of them came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Brothers and sisters, let us release the offenses of the lost and proceed with grace and love into the darkness and without expecting anything but the honor of suffering for His sake. Jesus Himself told us that many would hate us, but He also set an example of loving sacrifice in the face of spiteful treatment. The Amish who had lost several little girls at the hands of a deranged murderer attended his funeral and refused to speak evil of him. They helped his widow as well.
Are we not crucified with Him? Are we not dead to ourselves and alive to Him? How can a dead man complain? And when the pallbearers accidentally drop the corpse, does the corpse sit up and express outrage? And if the preacher says something harsh about us, does that same corpse defend himself? And when that corpse is refused burial at a certain cemetery, does he reiterate his democratic rights? Our life is not here; we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God. There is nothing like serving Jesus in all circumstances…nothing. It is to my shame that more people are not drawn to him by me and that I do not suffer more persecution from sinners. But by God’s grace and truth this is not my life, it is His. And I have not rights but to love God with all my heart and my neighbor as myself. As a former God hater I can honestly say I would have welcomed a good battle with religious people, but what would have disarmed me would be an uncommon love and humility that was much more difficult to attack.

I have said all this to beg, yes beg, us all to turn our eyes toward Jesus and look full in His wonderful face and let the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Essence of Redemption

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

And if God does not extend redemption to His enemies, then He Himself does not follow His own teachings. The word “enemies” should always emanate from someone else and not believing followers of Jesus Christ. Some consider us as their enemy, but we must always approach them redemptively. Redemption must be our heart’s passion and motivation, and nothing must constrict or dilute that redemptive passion. God has loved the world and Jesus suffered for the sins of the entire human race. And armed with the grace of that gospel message we must extend an uncommon and dangerous love to the vilest of sinners…just as our Master has done.

To those who commit the horror of abortion we must extend redemption.
To those who live lives of immorality we must extend redemption.
To those who desire to fly planes into buildings we must extend redemption.
To those who worship Satan we must extend redemption.
To those who abuse and are abused we must extend redemption.
To those who enter America illegally we must extend redemption.
To those who are in cults we must extend redemption.
To those who wish to legislate immorality we must extend redemption.
To everyone who seeks to humiliate us, and take advantage of us, and misrepresent us, and point out our failures, and blaspheme our Savior, and restrict our freedoms, and mock our beliefs and lives, to all these and more we must extend redemption. Why? Besides the legions of teachings from our Master’s lips, let us never forget that redemption was extended to you and me…a most vile and unworthy sinner. That kind of unspeakable and immeasurable grace demands a life that is lived within that same redemptive framework
A life which is a theological conduit that channels a powerful and luminescent expression of a Person and not just a set of rules and doctrines. This redemption does not return power for power as the world measures power. This Redemption, and in fact this Redeemer, accepts the lashes upon our backs, and receives the pummels from violent hands, and even allows the spit of wicked mouths to drench our believing faces, and rejoices in all of it without revenge. Persecution is an honor and an opportunity to more fully reveal a humility and selflessness that cannot but draw curiosity from those who have placed themselves as our enemies.
The world understands the battle for rights and even differing perspectives on morality. What they can not understand, and what they still have not seen lately, is a throng of people willing to lose in order to attract an audience that sees us en masse point to Jesus Himself. You think that winning is passing legislation, or combating evolution, or in a struggle to make darkness accept traditional marriage? Your eyes are pointed in the wrong direction. You wish to see genuine victory?
Turn your eyes to capture a bloody corpse nailed to a wooden stake just outside the gates of Jerusalem and within that event you will not only find eternal victory, but you have now seen the only template for the lives of those who believe in this wondrous mystery. Redemption can only be found in death, this death, and redemption can only be shared by death…ours.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Stockholm Syndrome
The western church has been caught in a spiritual Stockholm syndrome.
Rick Frueh A.D. 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Has Democracy Taught the Church?

It has taught us to join with unbelievers
It has taught us to crusade for moral causes above the gospel
It has taught us to murmur and complain and call it speaking out
It has taught us to protect our wealth
It has taught us to elevate certain men
It has taught us to despise the lost
It has taught us that change can come through the weight of human effort
It has taught us that we have power aside from Christ
It has taught us that carnal men, dead and alive, are heroes
It has taught us that women can leave their home and children for elected office
It has taught us that more money is always the goal
It has taught us that the gospel is just a compartment in our western lives
It has taught us to believe liars
It has taught us that war is a way to spread democracy and a Christian option as well
It has taught us to be nationally self righteous
It has taught us that the Tower of Babble is still possible

And in summation, democracy has taught the church to leave Christ and embrace Babylon and exonerating ourselves by suggesting we can and should change Babylon by a combination of politics and religion. We do not need to reassess our priorities and thought processes; we need to repent fully and come out from among them and be separate. Until then the church will continue to be saltless, lightless, and powerless in a dark culture. Unless you believe mere words and espousing certain theologies constitutes salt, light, and power. The early church had much more salt, light, and power than they did an intricate theology. And their King was Jesus not a more conservative Caesar.

It cost them their lives…a fate from which this church has nothing to fear.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Fallen Systems of Men
Liberalism and conservatism are both man made descriptions of related systems. One suggests that a fallen government can solve man’s problems while the other suggests that fallen man has the capacity within himself to solve his own problems. Both are humanistic attempts to achieve a better life on earth which usually centers around material prosperity and the pursuit of human happiness through the things of this world.
They are both lies and antichrist. There is only one life and that is found exclusively in and through Jesus Christ. And that life is neither dependent upon or nurtured by conservative or liberal philosophies. The life of Jesus Christ in a believer rises or falls solely upon the commitment of that believer to die to himself and live his life completely to Jesus Christ. It is not affected at all by what government or what cultural philosophy happens to surround him, and in fact, the worse the spiritual darkness the brighter the life of Christ shines through him.
And when the Christian community actively seeks one government or philosophy, believing that one or the other will help or hinder the promotion of spiritual growth, it inevitably leads to a diluting of that life of Jesus Christ by enjoining it to an earthly system. And it is altogether possible that the government or philosophy that seems more inclined to provide a climate that is more hospitable to Christianity is actually much more insidious and destructive to authentic spirituality because so many believe that system aids them in living a productive Christian life. Hence, the classic definition of deception.
And those who tout democracy as the greatest system on earth and even one of which God approves, seem to complain the loudest when the fruits of that system elevate people of whom they do not approve. And when we complain about who governs us we reveal a clandestine element of humanism, to say nothing of disobeying the same Scriptures we claim to believe. It suggests that we would be much better if someone else was in power, when in fact we have no king but Jesus and we have no kingdom but the kingdom of God.

I have no country but God’s; I have no constitution but the Bible; I have no flag but His banner; I have no citizenship but heaven’s; and I have no King but Jesus.
God help me to live up to what I believe.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

There are no crown-bearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.

C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Vessels of Redemption
When a lost sinner is drawn to Jesus he senses something unexplainable taking place within his heart and spirit. This happens in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of sinners. The one constant is that all are sinners and Jesus is the only Savior. But the fear of death mingled with the uncertainty of purpose lurks within every lost sinner. Blindness is the great equalizer, and regardless of the comparative depth of sin all sinners are blind until they receive the ability to see spiritually by God’s grace through the Lord Jesus. Thus the term “born again” explains what happens when a sinner is born into the kingdom of God.
And when this sinner now is a child of God, and when he now realizes just who Jesus is, then and only then can he worship Him who is now both Lord and Elder Brother. The mystery of such truth is profound, however we are allowed glimpses and unfolding revelations that are sometimes experienced by others and sometimes deeply personal. And along with the knowledge of Him and His redemption, God allows for some times of refreshing as well as moments and seasons of humbling glory that for moment, or a day, or a period of time lift the veil and allow us to see Him more clearly than our usual comprehension permits.
It is in those times that we are disarmed and brought low and high simultaneously. To enter into the presence of Jesus in a way that is extraordinary during a time of worship, or a time of penetrating prayer, or even listening to a song of praise changes us. We, by God’s grace, exhale more death and inhale more life. There is no drug or vicarious experience that can compare with touching the hem of His garment by faith through the amazing power of the Spirit. It may lead to tears, it may lead to joy, it may lead to repentance, and it may lead to celebration but when we meet the Risen Christ in reality we cannot treat it as just another episode in life’s mundane journey. If you can file it among all the rest then you have not really touched and been touched by Him.
It seems so mystical and esoteric, does it not? It surely is and anyone who has entered into the “Holy of Holies” as it were identifies with my description. These moments do come as an aside, and they are not an everyday or even every Sunday occurrence. They come to those who earnestly and sacrificially seek Him and His manifested presence. I do not speak of the wild, weird, and often contrived events by some of our denominational friends. Often times these times are so personal they cannot be revealed and are beyond verbal communication. But know this: regardless of how far you have gone with Jesus there is so much more. Not so you can be entertained or even amazed, but so you and I can continue to be changed from glory to glory.
Is your testimony relying heavily on what God has done in your life during the first year or two after you were saved? Where is the freshness of what God is doing in your life right now? Has the changing ceased with the rescue from addictions and habits, or is Christ’s refining fire burning new avenues of love and grace and witness in the life you now live? Are we breathlessly running to tell others of His resurrection or has it become a church doctrine alone? Do others observe that we have “been with Jesus” or are we identified by what we are against and what we say we believe?
The emergent church has asked some important questions but has come up with the wrong answers. The answer for the church is a revival of Jesus Himself. Doctrine is important, but when it replaces a vibrant and unmistakable manifestation of the life and spirit of Jesus being lived out in each and every believer, then doctrine has replaced a living faith with a library of written confessions that far outdistance their living revelations. And should not a living expression of Jesus be more and more luminescent as the darkness of culture grows ever so more deep? As it is we have been assimilated in so many ways and are unremarkable amidst so many who live and breathe unreceptive darkness.
Oh that men would see the radiant goodness of God in our lives, and in fact be drawn to us simply by the power of a sacrificial life that reflects the Risen Christ. The Philippian jailer saw the hope that made imprisoned men sing praises to God and he was moved to ask of the hope that was in them. How often do we complain about circumstances today and broadcast the sins of the unregenerate instead of praising God for this great opportunity to shine His redemptive light? This life we live and this time and place in which we have been born is a providential act of the Creator and when we complain about the sin of others we do despite to the unmerited grace that we received.
To know and serve the Savior is the ultimate life, and to increase His knowledge can only be done by reflecting His life and spreading His Word. It is a calling and privilege that no sinner ever deserved nor has the ability in himself to accomplish. Praise to His matchless Name who by the sickle of the cross has harvested a worthless crop and made it into a company of saints who will reflect His glory forever. And in the end it will all be about Jesus and His glory. In the center of heaven stands a Lamb, as it had been slain, and we will all with heavenly voices sing His praise forevermore. It all seems like some fairytale, and like some dream, but the reality will far surpass any and all imaginations. It has not even entered our finite minds what God has prepared for us.
And so, this that we call redemption, is a sacred trust that goes far beyond what we can ever imagine. Holding it high it shines like the heavens against the blackest night. But bring it down among those who desperately need it and it gets messy. It seeks out those who we would not seek, and it clings to some of the most undesirable among us. It finds the whore and passes by the elder. It finds a voice through an illiterate Sudanese mother and holds its tongue when the self righteous speak. It bows down to an eight year old and yet remains hidden to a genius. Redemption rests in straw and rejects the bed of down and extravagance. And what are to make of this? Redemption reaches out through the lips of Spurgeon and Wesley alike. Finney and Whitefield. MacArthur and Graham.
Oh the glory of God’s redemption! Would that men who claim its reward and are claimed of it as well would so illuminate its glory that sinners would run to us. And if our lives would manifest such redemption as we claim in our theology, well, who could withstand such convicting and drawing power? We would either gain a seeking audience or we would be put to death. To blend would be impossible. Jesus told us that lifting up Him would draw men to Him everywhere. And so why are men not drawn to Him today? Why does it take extravagant evangelistic programs and catchy sermon series and organized outreaches to draw sinners that live among us to show some interest in the gathering we call “church”? Why do men neither run to us or from us?
Could it be that we are living our lives and not His? To suggest that there are millions of believing followers of Jesus, inhabited by the Holy Spirit Himself, living in this darkened existence and yet with such little effect and with such spiritual ambivalence is a boast that cannot be true. And it isn’t just the formal churches, or the seeker sensitive ones, or the emergent brand, or the purpose driven type. No, it is all of us…all of us.
Dear Lord, help us to let go of this life and cling entirely to Yours.
The Words in Red

If the words of Jesus do not mean everything...then they mean nothing.

Rick Frueh A.D. 2010

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Our Message is not Law

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

The moral crusades that many evangelicals become embroiled in are nothing more than a ministry of death and condemnation. Even in places like Nigeria there are movements that have so condemned homosexuality that the laws have been changed to include capital punishment for the offenders. “That is going too far!”, you suggest? In the natural, to be sure, but in the realm of the spirit it carries death just as certain.
The law was a schoolmaster to bring the world to Jesus Christ, but without the gospel the law is death. People who desire the Ten Commandments be placed upon the walls of public schools are greatly misguided. The Ten Commandments represent certain spiritual death since no one can completely adhere to them and if you break one you have broken them all. The pitiful and self righteous attempts to contain and even alter the behavior of sinners by outward means may be the role of the government, but the church must provide a panacea that cures the heart.
I am not pro-life and pro-heterosexual marriage because I was convinced by any physiological arguments. I believe what I believe because of the grace of God that changed me some 35 years ago. But even what I believe about those issues is irrelevant in the realm of spreading the gospel. When Jim Elliot and his brethren went to find and witness to the Auca Indians they did not attempt to persuade them to cover their nakedness. They went with the gospel and it cost them their lives. Later on believers went again and many Aucas were saved by the power of the Good News. How counter productive and absurd would it have been for Elliot to bring some moral crusade to this tribe? But that is exactly what some believers and churches do in the midst of a dark community that is every bit as lost as were those Auca Indians.
But the grace of God through Jesus Christ is the portal that leads to freedom. Be not mistaken, though, all of us journey upon a path filled with stumbling. And therein lies another wonder of redemption and sonship. A man is driving his car and sees the sign that says 55 miles per hour. He realizes that is the law and sometimes, not all times, he drives under that speed limit. That is the law. And in the Old Testament the law was written outwardly and obeyed with varying degrees of consequences for those who disobeyed it outwardly.
But in the New Testament this same driver now travels a road where there is no speed limit; there is no law. But he has been implanted with a communication device that advises him when he is driving too fast and unsafely. And when he reaches 55 miles per hour that voice inside tells him to slow down. The man slows down, not because it is the law, but because he loves, respects, and even worships the One whose voice is speaking to him.

Christ is the end of the law to all who believe.

rethren, let us not be ministers of that which kills and has passed away, for if we were still judged by the dictates of the law we would all be put to death, both physically and spiritually. Let us minister the Good News that God has come as a man and has provided a way, the only way, for a sinner to gain eternal life. And purely by faith in this God/man a sinner can be eternally forgiven, and the residual effects will change him in this life as well.
So often the church has come across as a self righteous old man who cannot wait for your soccer ball to be kicked into his yard so he can race to confiscate it. We must be different. Jesus rubbed shoulders with the vilest of sinners, and if you believe that all His followers became perfect you have not read the New Testament or even some accounts of the early church. So many believers act as if they are fearful of being portrayed as condoning sin, and in that fear lurks self righteousness that blocks a redemption that is far from being fearful of sin. In fact, the redemption of Jesus Christ seeks out sinners and their sin and when allowed that redemption defeats sin and rescues the sinners.
The law has dropped us off at school, Jesus Christ University, and when we enroll by faith the law which dropped us off dies along with Christ who is the end of the law for everyone who believes. We no longer strive to lead lives that glorify God because of any law, but the love of Jesus Christ constrains us. Through Christ we offer a hope that transcends human endeavor and self rehabilitation. It is a glorious message that bids all sinners of every stripe and lifestyle to come and dine with your Redeemer and Creator. A new life awaits you which ends with an eternity in the presence of the King of all Kings. It's an offer of grace that is unbalanced in the sinner's favor.

And that life is still offered to whosever believes in Him.
(In 1975 I took Jesus up on His offer. Since then I have broken the law in thought, word, and deed many times. If there was a law, that is!)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Our Real Founding Fathers
Some of the observable characteristics of early believers that drew a level of attention from the lost world were a humble lifestyle, an unexplainable hope, a contentment with their plight in life, a detachment form politics, and a willingness to be persecuted for Christ without retaliation.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Unlimited Atonement
The heart of God is redemption, and he has offered it to every sinner. To say that God hates most sinners and loves a miniscule number of sinners makes a mockery of the truth that “God is love”. To those who espouse a limited offer of redemption for a very small number of sinners you might change that verse to read “God is a little bit love”.

(I once observed to a renowned Calvinist that if a brand new believer who had no church background was given a Bible and sent to spend two years on an island alone, he would never come away from that experience believing in limited atonement. The man replied to me, “That is why we have teachers”. Let that logic sink in.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A True Seeker
To seek His face. Two lovers are sitting at a table. Where do they look? They are gazing into each other’s faces.
And so exhorts the psalmist and the Apostle Paul. The glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ. So do we even know how to seek His face? Is obeying the tenants of the faith, and avoiding certain sins, does that life count as seeking His face? And if the Scriptures teach us to seek His face, then it must mean His face can be found. He rewards those who diligently seek Him, says the writer of Hebrews.
We seem to be diligent about so many things, but are we diligently seeking Him? I do not mean diligently seeking doctrine, or theology, or even sinners. Do we seek His face? It seems so ethereal and so esoteric and even so mystical, and yet it is Scriptural. But the western lifestyle has lured us into Martha’s kitchen and made obsolete the place of Mary’s resting.
Has Jesus become another facet of our faith or is He the life breath of our existence? Do we know the theology better thaqn we know the Redeemer? Am I just a believer or am I a seeker as well? I must return to the passion I once had when I had just met Christ and knew nothing of doctrine and theology. In some ways I knew Him better then than I do now.

Thy face, Lord, will I seek.