Palm Sunday Should Shake You

Christians around the world have/are celebrating Palm Sunday.  The following week, is “Resurrection Sunday.”

Currently, the entire world is experiencing shut down from a pandemic, that will have churches closed for what the traditional Catholic-parented denominations call “Holy Week”.

It’s a cruel spiritual irony.

Let’s start reading in Matthew 21

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Jesus sends two of his disciples into town to collect a donkey for him to ride on, the Disciples go out and get it, everyone is having a good time, they’re all praising Jesus and calling him the King of Kings, putting their cloaks and palm branches on the ground for the donkey to walk on, then Jesus gets off the donkey and begins wrecking havoc on the temple grounds.

To be fair, people needed to have sacrifices available to give to God for their sins.  Why not be convenient, and sell them right there in Temple?  I mean your church has a coffee bar right?  You can buy the coffee you don’t make the time for on Sunday morning, right?  Same concept?

No.

They were selling with wrong motives, they were taking advantage of each other– they were taking God’s name in vain.

The third commandment, should be one of the most powerful commandments adhered to as the Body of Christ.

DO NOT MISAPPLY THE NAME OF GOD.  ((Exodus 20:7))

To the Church, the most important part of Palm Sunday is NOT when Jesus is declared King by the people, we all know who He is and worship him as the King of Kings.  It’s when He immediately gets off the donkey, and angrily drives out the people in the Temple defiling it.

What kind of church do you attend?

Do you believe God doesn’t judge His people?

Do you practice deceit and cultural relevance in order to draw people in?

Do you charge people to attend the functions your members are encouraged to attend that is not opened up to the public?

How many denominations insists that only Pastors should know the Word of God in depth, and does not teach it’s congregation to explore the Word of God for themselves?

How many churches around the world willingly profane the name of God, and the people not knowing any better blindly follow it?

If you truly believe in Jesus, are you willing for him to crash the party?

There are members of the Body of Christ who do not believe in the active gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Thereby silencing the active and living Word of God in their body, effectively pursuing worshiping God by their own philosophies and religious system.

There are members of the Body of Christ who do not believe all of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in use today, thereby silencing the Prophets God sends them to correct their behaviors.

There are members of the Body of Christ who misuse the active Gifts of the Holy Spirit, running around prophesying in God’s Name, and interpreting for themselves what his word means.

Still yet, there are people so in love with the concept of the Holy Spirit, they make a mockery of him through the actions of giving themselves over to whatever spiritual possession could happen to their body.

All around the world, the Internet is muting the voice of Christianity so their own platforms can be heard.

It is no wonder the plague is happening right now, there is so little bearing on what the Church believes and the Body is not unified.  All the while the World is effectively taking it apart.

At the end of this plague, how many people will go back to church, after attending an online service?  How many are not even watching online services?

How many are actively meeting with the Body weekly for Bible study?

How many are checking in on the people who are supposedly apart of their fellowship groups?

How many people are being left out, wildly losing their minds in the uncertainty of our current times?

Today, on Palm Sunday, reflecting on the coming of Christ, what kind of shape is the Western Church in, and what would GOD say of our congregations if we all received a prophetic letter, as the seven churches did in Revelation?

Jesus is coming again.  People all over the internet are trying to figure out where we are in the End Times, watching for the Beast, for the Mark of the Beast, making sure we’re warning people not to take the Mark of the Beast, worrying for ourselves what the Mark of the Beast is…..

None of these things matter nearly as much as OUR personal communion with Jesus Christ, and where our hearts and our local body of Christ is at with God.

There are far too many churches caught up on being ministry to everyone outside of the church, they forget to minister to the people INSIDE of the church.

If this is not your church, great!  I am so glad your congregation is taken care of.  I myself have yet to find a body of Christ that ministers to EVERYONE in their church, and doesn’t push out those who are different from them, offering an alternative perspective to their denominational teachings.

Receptivity to God is vital.  And instead of Worshiping God and calling out to Him to heal us and heal our land with Jesus Christ, many of them are waiting on a vaccine.

It’s ironic WHO uses a snake on a staff.  Jesus was lifted up for us, and looking to GOD as our healing, hope and salvation, instead of the Snake on the Staff the medical community uses, is going to weed out the Wheat and the Tares as we come together again when our church doors open, to find out who is still here, and who has lost Hope in Christ.

Are YOU watching the numbers they project onto the screen, in fear and trembling? Wondering if you’re going to die with the rest of them, because your faith is misplaced?

Is your Faith solidly in Jesus Christ, and people mock you because you’re not taking this seriously, because you know GOD is greater than disease, and He’s already got the End in sight?

Chaos. Confusion. Hate. The internet is full of dividing us against each other, waiting on the World to find an answer to it.

GOD is clearing house.  The I AM is calling His people out.

We have set up idols in our households.  We worship the doctors who treat our family.  We worship the medications they give us.  We worship the vaccines they inject into our children, thanking them for caring for our Offspring, and we berate anyone who doesn’t worship the medical community for the God-send they are.

And during this plague, GOD is asking of US, WHO DO YOU WORSHIP?

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so also must the Son of Man be lifted up – so that anyone who believes in HIM would have eternal life. ((John 3:14-16))

Whatever you believe about the medical community doesn’t stand against the power of the God of the Universe who has already determined who will live, and who will die during this curse against Humanity.  The only thing He has asked of us is to BELIEVE he is who he says he is.

 

Who Is Your Savior?

WHO IS YOUR SAVIOR_

Here in the United States of America, our churches have cancelled services all across the country during one of the most important times of the Christian year. This being, our reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of our faith. If Jesus did not shed his blood, as the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, there would be no redemption for our souls.

In the last 100 years, somehow American’s have gotten caught up in the idea that only doctors can save our mortal bodies. They do whatever the doctor tells them to, and take whatever medication is prescribed without a second thought.

It has gotten so bad in Western society, if you even question the medical community – which we all know is severely imperfect – you’re automatically labeled anti-science, and written off as an idiot.

God established perfect order for the world, even to the point He gave us plants that would heal our ailments and illnesses. Ailments and illnesses we have because of the Curse.

The Creator of the Universe loves us so much He planned every last detail of our Exile.
As I sit and write this, my heart is overwhelmed with joy and sorrow by this concept.

Christianity in the world today is a ritual. We go to church, we sing about God, we go home and we do not include that same God in our daily lives.

We don’t ask Him if what we do is good for us, or if what the doctor has given us would be best for our bodies. We put more Faith and Trust in the snake on the staff, than we do our own God.

Many times in Scripture, Jesus addresses the Pharisees at the core of the issue – they are not acting in the interest of God, they are acting on behalf of their own idea of God.

Matthew 15:1-20 is where we’re going to start.

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.”
He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that whoever tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,’ then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ ((Isaiah 29:13-16))”

Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?”
He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”
But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.”

Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Kind of an appropriate place to start in this current plague, the Pharisees come up to Jesus and they’re like, “Hey, why don’t your disciples wash their hands before they eat? Because- it’s what we teach, and it’s one of our traditions.”

Hygiene is very important. Let’s all stop and acknowledge this. Road signs off the highway currently tell us to wash our hands. Washing hands prevents the spread of disease and keeps people healthy. BUT! Jesus doesn’t care about the washing of hands, Jesus cares about their motives.

His response to them is, “why do you break the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition?” In the recording of this story in Mark 7, it says Jesus also added “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition.”

What traditions do we follow in our society that set aside the Commands of God?

You might be saying, “Jesus fulfilled the Law, the Law doesn’t matter anymore” and according to some denominational teachings, you would be correct in your perspective. However, if you further study on your own outside of leaning on the understanding of your pastor and denominational doctrines, you will find this is untrue.

Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice and therefore we no longer have to sacrifice animals for our redemption, but through the law, Paul says, we become conscious of sin.

Jesus re-established during his time on earth, it is not the law that matters, it is how WE interact with GOD that matters.

Paul is pretty concrete when he says you can’t serve two masters. You have to pick one.
Either GOD is most important, or the Traditions of Man is most important.

Satan is an evil, frustrating demon. From the beginning of time he has been looking for the opportunity to become greater than God. Each time he has ascended to “greatness” God has knocked him right back down through the Glory of His Goodness and supreme reign over the Universe.

So, along comes the Serpent to establish a new, fresh way of conquering God and His people. Their health and wellness.

Let’s talk a minute about the Snake on the Staff. The real one, of course. From the Bible.

Read with me in Numbers 21:4-9

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Ironic, right?

Jesus references the snake on the staff is a symbol of HIS own death and salvation.

In the beginning of His ministry, one of the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked Him who He was and what He had been sent by God to do. ((John 3:1-21))

We’re only going to look into a small part of the passage for right now:

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

vs 13-16

Our salvation is entirely dependent on the sacrifice of Christ, who was lifted up on a cross to shed his blood for US.

Is your faith and trust dependent on the medical community “finding a cure” or “creating a vaccine”, or is it in the God of the Universe who has already planned ahead of time this would happen, and gave us the cures to our illnesses in nature?

This Resurrection season, it is seriously time to focus in on who your savior is.

If it is Christ, Serve HIM.

Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern.”

“Go up to Gilead and get balm,
Virgin Daughter Egypt.
But you try many medicines in vain;
there is no healing for you.

A Letter to God

Dear God, it’s me.

I don’t know if you remember who I am. But I remember you.

I’ve kind of fallen back, and as I’ve fallen, found my faith gone slack.

I’m trying to find who I am, out of who I used to be.

Times have changed. I’m divorced, but I’m still a parent, and I’m about to be a bride again.

I’m afraid of your grace, and your judgement. Trying to find your plan in all of this– it isn’t easy to set aside all that I’ve been taught, and trust you.

I want to trust you, but every time I do, something seems to go wrong. Do I do it?

I’ve not been looking for you, while I’m finding myself. I don’t know what’s wrong with my failing heart, losing hold of everything I love.

Motivation, desire…. I fade slowly into nothing. The corner of the room is right where I fit best, self-inflicted woes to bear my scars out loud.

This is not who I was, and it’s not who I want to be– help change me to who I am meant to be. Because all I know is I want more than this hollowed shell I’m existing in.

Consume me. Make me yours.

Church Hunting

It seems the worst thing a person could put themselves through, is the experience of church hunting.  Finding a place to call “Home”, and a church “Family” to be apart of.

Several things that stand out as you walk into a church, is the interior.
Where are your children going to be during service?   Is it easy to find?  How many hallways do you have to wind through before you find it?
Where are the restrooms?
Is there carpet?  Is there concrete?
Will your expensive cup of hot coffee have to cool in the car while you sit through over an hour of service?

The next thing people note, are the people.
They look friendly, but are they going to talk to you?  Is the church even small enough to know when there are guests?
Will the Greeters be the only people who make your acquaintance?  Will they care if you come back next Sunday?
Are you going to meet somebody genuinely interested in who you and your family are?
Will the person who told you you can’t have your coffee in service be the only person who reaches out to you?

And then you sit down, and service starts.
Why do churches spend so much money on a sound system, when no one knows how to use it?
Either the acoustics are too loud, or the sound is muddy, or you can’t hear the vocals…..
People around you worship God, oblivious to you and who you are.  Wrapped up in their moment– not even realizing you’re there for the first time.
Never taking the moment afterward to reach into your Life.

People don’t go to church to sit through service.  They go to find people who will connect with them and help them find the things they are looking for.
They come in, wanting to be poured into, and leave empty.
When the emptiness continues, time after time, eventually they stop trying to find something new.  They stop going altogether.

The “greeting” comes around.  Your hand might be shaken, you might be nodded at.

And then the pastor gets up.

Now, going into a non-denominational church presents several problems.

1) The pastor is waaaaay too Charismatic, and you sit through what feels like a televangelist service.  It includes prophetic “messages”, or escatology and “the end is upon us!”
((Which I believe is highly possible….. but not quite the same as they do))

2) The pastor starts mistranslating scripture, taking things out of context and pushing modern ideology instead of sound theology held strong through the ages.

3) The pastor goes into political moments and asks for the wrath of God to fall on our Nation’s leaders.  Also not biblical.

4) Prosperity preaching.

Non-denominational churches seem like they all spring out of the Pentecostal movement.  Where are the Spirit-led, Baptist background churches with sound theology, but openness to the Gifts?

5) Universalism

At any rate, it’s so hard to find what you’re looking for, when there are so many options….  and you’re tired of looking.

I’m tired of looking.
I’m tired of going to church, never being talked to.
I’m tired of going to church and only ever being talked to by the guy who tells you you can’t have your coffee in service.

The lack of friends in my Foresaken home in the High Plains becomes even more than obvious as our second child prepares to come into the world and we lack EVERYTHING for a little girl, because the first was a boy.

The lack of a church Family with people we can talk to as our life stands on the balance of Change, is also highly frustrating.
Man was not intended to be alone.  Even Jesus surrounded himself with friends.

Jesus was highly extroverted.  He was a natural people person and confident in who he was.
Unfortunately, mankind is not at all like Jesus.  And you walk into a new church and walk out of a new church still waiting to be reached into.