Tuesday, January 01, 2013

And in Him was Life

Anyone who was born again as an adult knows experientially what it means and actually feels like to one day walk in darkness and the next day be translated into the kingdom of light. I was almost 23 years old in 1975 and one cold night in March I climbed up Garret Mountain in Wayne, New Jersey at about 7:00 PM, and after a couple of hours I climbed back down. I climbed up a seeker and I came down a believer. I cannot fully explain the emotions that coursed through my body that night. I actually felt like a brand new person. As I went to my room in my Aunt’s house where I lived I went to bed speaking with Jesus. He was finally real.

When I awoke the next morning it was if I had been dreaming, but this was no dream. I left early for work and drove up to the park on top of Garret Mountain and I had my first devotional time with Him. For the next several weeks I was like a man possessed. I spoke about Jesus to almost everyone. My boss had to listen to me incessantly since I was his only employee. In a few years I would leave for Bible college and begin my training; God had called me to preach. I later rejoiced as I heard that my boss had gotten saved. Those seeds bore fruit!

I had been raised in a liturgical Protestant church and I was confirmed as a member. I took my first communion but I was lost and still had not been born again. So when I began to read the Bible after I was saved it was like reading a wonderful treasure. I could not believe what was in there even though I began by just reading the words in red. In fact, if the church just read and believed and obeyed the words in red we would be a much more pure and powerful witness for Jesus. But of course as I read further I was amazed at how much divine wisdom and glory those pages contained.

In two years I will have been a born again Christian for forty years. Before I was saved I used all kinds of drugs, I sold drugs, I drank heavily, I was promiscuous, I was violent, and there was hardly any sin that was not part of my life. And after I was saved I was delivered from many sins, but I still was and am now still in the process of sanctification in which the Holy Spirit identifies sin in your life and guides and empowers you to forsake it. Even some of the little sins are hindrances from completely embracing and experiencing Christ Jesus in all His fullness. Yes, I am not what I could be and I surely could walk in a much deeper spirit of surrender, but praise His name I am not what I used to be!

But after knowing Christ for almost forty years I can boldly and without the slightest reservation give witness to the fact that there is no life - NO LIFE - outside the life that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ! Nothing in this world can satisfy and or even compete with the life in the Spirit. This world and all that is in it is against Christ. Life cannot be found in money or things or nations or governments or success or power in this world. True life, life that transforms you from the inside out, can only be found in Jesus Christ who IS our life.

The world attracts our flesh and present many alluring promises, only to disappoint us time and time again. And we deceive ourselves into believing we can have the world and the fullness of Christ together. In these days false teachers like Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes and Rick Warren present a faith structure that embraces the temporal and propels people into seeking earthly success and gain, which in the end may well cost some their souls. Success in this world is a vapor, it is here today but will be gone tomorrow. It has no spiritual substance and it is a system of antichrist. These men and thousands like them are hucksters for Satan. They are the pied pipers of darkness who wear nice clothes and a warm smile but whose mission is sinister.

And in fact there are millions of professing believers who seek the riches and admiration of this world and who have even experienced different levels of worldly success, but that my friends is a very dangerous path. No man can serve two masters. And if you are serving money and yourself, you cannot be serving Christ. And here is the ultimate dilemma. When you set your affections on Christ and refuse to seek that which is below, you still will have to battle your flesh and the forces of darkness. Many will be your victories, but many will be your setbacks. Oh yes, walking in the Spirit is no earthly pleasure cruise and it does not come just from enjoying praise and worship music. No, the life which walks in His footsteps is the path less traveled. It is both laborious and glorious. It is very difficult and yet free from the cares of this world. It is self denying and lifting Him up. It is both rich and poor. It humbles and exalts you. There is nothing in this world that can compare with walking with Jesus, nothing…nothing at all.

This new year will bring increasing challenges to any who wish to live in Christ and offer their lives a living sacrifice. Many will be the challenges that come from the non-religious world, but legion will be the delusions which emanate from the lips and lives that claim to know Christ. Oh yes, the deception within the visible church widens and deepens. The false prophets will expand their dark power and will make disciples after themselves. And with things in this world getting worse by the day, many will follow in their pernicious ways. Millions will be deceived. The entire western American evangelical church will slide into a deeper apostasy and will continue to join hands with false cults and forms of Christianity which are false. The word ecumenical has lost all its meaning since it will become the accepted norm.

But do not allow your heart a moment to contemplate all that is swirling around you. The spirits of darkness will appear as spirits of light and they will contend they offer a new and more productive way to know and follow Christ, but they are lying spirits. There are not and never have been any so called “new ways”. Knowing and following Christ still requires repentance and prayer and self denial and witnessing and a rejection of all that seems right in this world. Yes, with each passing year the deception becomes more powerful and the apostasy widens. But the opportunity to know and experience the glory of the Person of Christ is still available and will provide a fullness of life unspeakable and full of glory!

Is a sliver of truth enough to nourish your soul? Is a quick and passing peek into His glory all you desire? When was the last time you heard an entire message on the cross of Jesus? When was the last time someone preached the crucified life with power and humility? When have you heard an entire message about the resurrection of Jesus and that power being infused into your own spirit? How can we walk in His power and illumination if we never hear of Him or personally seek Him? Why has Jesus become a doctrinal appendage and been muscled out in favor of all kinds of earthly issues? Have we fallen out of love with Jesus while still retaining our dry doctrines?

Is it politics you desire, then you shall have it. Is it nationalism you seek, then it shall be yours. Is money your pursuit, it may be yours. Must you have a constant stream of entertainment, that will come to you easily. Do you enjoy a good moral crusade, then you will be revered within those ranks. But of you desire Christ and all that is Him, then you will have to sacrifice what your flesh desires, and you will have to daily deny yourself. The end is coming, but the end is not yet.

The struggle deepens, the battle intensifies, and the war rages! And a word of caution for us all. We must speak out against the false teachers of our day, but that must never consume us. Like Abram of old, let us not get so caught up in chasing the birds that we leave the Sacrifice. Christ is our life, and it is and always be He who we look for. He is coming in the clouds and His reward is with Him. But until that glorious day He is still our reward. We are the New Testament tribe of Levi who God did not promise material things but to whom promises Himself as our inheritance! Oh my!! Jesus Himself is our inheritance and our glory. And He has granted unto us eternal life by His grace through His faith.

And with eternal life safely and securely tucked away inside us by the power of His matchless grace, who can complain before Him? Who among us should demand more? And as we admit ourselves as unprofitable servants, He makes us His sons. Where is there room to ask for more? We are yours, Jesus, use us fully to Your glory alone, for in that light we find our lives. Let this year, as men measure time, be a year where we are used as vessels fit for the Master’s use, and may Jesus Christ receive all the preeminence!

Amen and amen...


Cherie c. said...

Part 1

Dear Pastor Rick,

"When was the last time you heard an entire message on the cross of Jesus? When was the last time someone preached the crucified life with power and humility? When have you heard an entire message about the resurrection of Jesus and that power being infused into your own spirit?"

To answer your question with great sadness, NEVER. And I have been to many churches looking for preaching of truth. I am not above being convicted. I long to learn and be convicted. The Holy Spirit taught me through the Word. But I do believe that the Lord has Godly men after His own heart to preach the True Gospel, and the True power of the Cross and the Resurrection.

You Pastor are one of those Godly men, whether you know it or not.

I do not seek to puff you up, but there is a reason why myself and so many others have found your blog. True church is not in a building, it is where God has placed Pastors to preach and lead His flock. It is with great sorrow because of the wasted time spent in the church system to still be a babe in Christ when after 36 years as a professing follower of Christ that only real change in my life has come this year! The tears are still flowing.

I say these things to you with great fear that one of two things will happen. One, you will reject what I am saying, or two, your flesh will rise up and change who you are in Christ just like other pastors who were seduced into apostasy.

More so the first because if you haven't guessed by now, how malnourished I am for the Word and for convicting and edifying preaching and teaching. And that when much is given (your position as Pastor), much is expected and you may not want that.

Cherie c. said...

Part 2
Living for Christ can sometimes be very lonely and sad, but with joy and contentment at the same time, it is so hard to describe.

I am grateful for this cyberspace church for the unchurched, and I Praise God for it. It is the true assembly of His Bride, and I am overwhelmed with joy that it makes me cry for fear of losing it.

Yes the days grow darker, and more devious, and it is here in the assembly of the Body of Christ with Christ that I long to stay. To spend time with brothers and sister in Spirit, not just flesh and blood. A true family with God our Father and Jesus, oh so glorious Jesus who's Love is unmeasurable and amazing.

Love amongst the brethren is like no other family I have been a part of. I cannot stress how precious this is! We follow the command of Jesus to love one another, and it is real and it is joy, and it is because of Jesus.

I am truly scared some days knowing it is not the secular world we have to be weary of, but the so called religious world. Both because of persecution and deception. The very arrows spoken of. That is where the whole armor of God comes into play. But the church system has not matured the flock, so us, the unchurched flounder like a fish in shallow water, weakly trying to doge the arrows.

Pastor, I ask you, If I am remiss, or is your calling more evident now than it was when you first began? Do you know how strong the call is that those from around the world come here to hear you preach? Yes, it is written in words, but the words can be heard by the Spirit. Do not think I am puffing you up, I do not envy you. You are called to a calling that carries a heavy penalty if you turn away, but we all know that you will fall, and that when you get on your face before the Lord, you will get back up again. Does that deter you? Does what I am saying make you angry? Fearful? Want to delete my post? I pray not.

It is so hard to tell who is real and who is a fake. But I rest assured that if you do error, God will lead me out. But I do not believe that will happen. It is too close to the end and the scripture regarding the gathering together of the brethren especially in these last days keeps coming into my mind.

You call out the brothers and sisters in Christ with each and every post Pastor. I am asking you to be our Pastor, and keep leading the flock that you were given, straight to the Mount of Olives where Jesus is going to touch down; prepared, mature and ready to meet our Lord and Savior face to face. Yours is a calling of great joy, reward, and sacrifice as well as sorrow, frustration and fear and trembling.

Others call you Rick, I will call you Pastor as long as you want to be. Thank you and may God continue to Bless you with your calling, as well as the strength to stay humble, on your knees and every hungry for Him.

I ask other brothers and sisters that if you agree with me, please post Amen. As the flock we need to keep in prayer those who are called to lead us, and with man's time table of a new year, I am asking as your fellow sister in the Lord, to let Pastor Rick know that God has given Him leadership over some of His flock, and that we will remember him in our prayers and keep him before the Lord. And to thank him for following God's call to him in this sacrificial position.

His post for the 1st day of this New Year convicts again, and for our edification. He writes what the Spirit of God leads him to write and the response of the brothers and sisters on this blog is evident of his correctness because they reverberate the same thing, with, Praise God, scripture and truth. It can't be anything but Jesus' stamp of approval. We will know, and I see that we do because Pastor posts all comments even those against what he says.

Happy New Year Pastor. May the task the Lord has set before you bring you blessing and great reward from our Lord and Savior even in your darkest day you may have this year.

Happy New Year in Christ to my brothers and sisters in Jesus.

Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

Part 3

I am not saying that a church should be built. I am talking about a leader as described in Titus & Timothy, nothing more. The Ecclesia is not a building but the people of God. We must be careful not to recreate that which we came out of.

Pastor as leader, but Jesus is the Master. Receive a teaching, but always, always study the Word and be in prayer. Though it was important to clarify what I meant in my earlier post. I am an unchurched(system)follower of Jesus Christ and I will never go back. I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

Praise God for godly and wise men of the Faith.

Cherie c.

mrs k said...

And again, AMEN!!

My brother Rick, I've been reading your blog for some years now. How you manage to write basically the same thing repeatedly yet make it sound so fresh can only be an amazing, dynamic work of the Spirit. Well, praise is He!!!

Keep up the soul-piercing work. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have said before: Rick is a true pastor, a shepherd after God's own heart. Only the Great Shepherd, not other people, can call and make a man such. Thank the Lord!
(However, I eschew using titles to address people in the family of God, convinced it is not biblical and implications lead to problems. Brother or Sister is gloriously sufficient.)
If only I can live up to the call of Christ, which Rick exhorts and challenges and encourages us toward! The more my spirit desires to conform, it seems the more I find my ugly corrupt self coming out. I appreciate your prayers. Love to you all, Victoria

Brenda said...

Dear Pastor & Fellow Saints,
As Cherie C. says ~~ thanks for sharing your teachings and convictions with humility and grace.

Cherie, I'll bet we'all wish we were further along in our sanctification than we are. And really, what is 36 years in the scope of Eternity? (: I pray that God may use your time in the desert to equip you to share your insights with others, who are currently in that place and could use a word of encouragement from someone who understands. "For God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

I pray that this year God might dwell in us all richly, that we can more brightly shine forth His Light and Love with less of our fleshly blemishes. That through His Indwelling Holy Spirit we can point others toward a saving faith in Christ Jesus our LORD. God Bless you all! In Christ Alone. ~Brenda

Cherie c. said...


You're sweet, thank you. But I still feel like I have wasted so much time. I was watching a sermon by Leonard Ravenhill last night about the Judgment Seat of Christ and I really felt the remorse that comes with conviction regarding the time wasted. I know our sanctification is a process and won't be done until Jesus returns, but if nothing else it gives me resolve to do better for Christ.
If Pastor Rick allows, please email me at genesis2.22woman@gmail.com God Bless!

Hi Victoria, I hope this comment finds you well in the Lord. I have to disagree with you dear sister with love, but the Bible is very clear about church hierarchy. As I did in my post, please refer to 2Timothy and Titus. It also says that some are called to be pastors, etc. please see

Ephesians 4:11

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love;

3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

God has called Pastor Rick to preach to His children, and he will face a stiffer penalty if he should be derelict of that calling.

I wanted him to know that I was directed to this blog by no accident and that I understand the weight on his shoulders due to his calling and I will be praying for him. I also wanted to thank him for taking on this great weight for the sheep of our great shepherd Jesus. He preaches the truth and most do not want to hear sound doctrine. Those who come here looking to read or hear something to make them feel good about their sinful life will be disappointed. The Bible says to give honor where it is due, and we need to remember how difficult it is for Pastors to preach the truth and not be seduced by the enemy.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, but there is a church (not a building) and there are leaders in that church. I can see by your posts that you appreciate Pastor Rick, and we must respect what God has done regarding placing Pastor Rick in the position of Pastor.

God Bless you.

Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rick,
Thank you for preaching the true Gospel, the good news of the Saviour, Jesus Christ!
Thank you for edification too.
I've been born-again for a short five years, and in my fifties, at that. I thank the Lord, Who changes people's hearts, and that He has changed yours and He has changed all of ours, and we can come here and be fed.
Praise Him Who is faithful!


Anonymous said...

Cherie: thanks for the Scriptures. I'm so happy to fellowship with you here. I can relate to your experience and your feelings about "church" and about this blog's teachings and exhortations.

I agree with you about there being pastors, and they are made by the Lord for and in His Church. Certainly we can identify some men as "pastors." However, I do not believe one can make a biblical case for addressing people with titles on their names such as "pastor Joe" or "apostle Bill", (titles describe people and functions and offices)and that is my conviction. The New Testament scriptures do not indicate that people were called by or addressed by titles. I understand that many folks nowadays do that out of the best intentions of honoring, etc., but I see problems can arise with it: tending toward unbiblical clergy/laity distinction, flattery, respecters of pesons, etc. that I do not want to participate in. I have more of a restoration type background and no doubt that has influenced my sensitivity about this issue of titles.

I will revisit the Scriptures you cite and prayerfully consider that I may need correction.

In any case, I can say again how much I appreciate the shepherding I receive here from Brother Rick, and enjoy the fellowship and discussion with everyone.

Cherie c. said...

Victoria, God Bless your heart. I enjoy fellowship with you and all that come here.

I will look again too for direct titles, but Paul mentions titles and how they should conduct themselves, and says they will face even tougher scrutiny then us because of the ministry given to them. When Paul addressed the people of Corinth he didn't mention any names directly, but one could make an educated guess that the letters went to someone in leadership and not the congregant.

It is not a matter to squabble about, but I tend to try and stick to the letter of the Bible. I do know some ministries that disagree with some things in the New Testament and that concerns me because the Word says it is not an allegory, but literal.

So we need a good Pastor to preach the Word. Pastor Rick is such a pastor. Thank you Lord. It is refreshing to have the Word of God preached in truth. God Bless you sister. Hope to chat with you again.

Cherie c.