He's in the Whisper

1 Kings 19: (NASB)

11So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD ” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

12After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound [whisper] of a gentle blowing.

13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Where are you?

Are you in a place were you could hear God if he came in a whisper? Or will he have to bring an earthquake into your life to get your attention? Maybe if you’re waiting for the booming voice of God, you should start listening for a gentle blowing.

I know I haven’t reached that place. Lord Jesus, give me the power to listen, not just talk.

Something to think about.

Sorry, There's No Middle Ground Here

Background: There’s a lot of debate around the “charismatic gifts.” Some argue that these spiritual gifts are extinct (“kata-rgeō” as it’s stated in 1 Cor 13). The other side argues that they’re an integral part of interacting with God.

I’m not going to answer that question here, but I do what to share a revelation God has given me: there isn’t an easy answer, and there’s no middle ground. There’s just truth.

Photo Credit: Incompetech.com

Claim: Sure, some people can prophesy, see visions, and speak in tongues. That’s cool. But it’s not for me. Those gifts aren’t for everyone. We’re all different.

This is the easy answer. It avoids the awkwardness of saying strange things you have no control over while not completely alienating charismatics. And on face value, it seems Biblical. Romans 12:4-8:

4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith…

The Problem: Imagine that you are a mouth and you say something like this:

“I’m really glad God made me a mouth. He has a very important purpose for me and that’s why he made me so good at talking. I need to work really hard on what I’m good at and let the other body parts do their jobs. So I’m going to focus on my gift and stop eating.”

The body would die, wouldn’t it? See, nowhere does it say that you only get one gift or that once you’ve gotten a gift you should be content just with that. In fact, Paul tells the exact opposite to another church.

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”
1 Cor 14:1

The moderate philosophy on prophesy stands in sinking sand; not on the rock. It’s just like those who say they’re “Christians inside” but “just
don’t like to talk about it.”

Let’s look at a little greek. That word “eagerly” could be translated “jealousy.” This translation of “za-loō” is actually a little weak. It’s the same kind of jealousy God has for our love (2 Cor 11:2).

The Corinthians were commanded to zealously seek prophesy, and if we can prophesy today, we should do the same.

The Conclusion: So, what do I take from this quick study? You can’t have it both ways. Either prophesy is an extinct gift OR I am commanded to seek prophesy with a jealousy.

So, those are your two choices. There is no Biblical middle ground. Taking the easy answer doesn’t mean I’m not saved, just that I’ve missed out on one of God’s commands.

When God gives me conviction on whether or not I can prophesy, I’ll post my reasons. In the mean time, I’m interested in your opinions. What do you think? I hope you have also been convicted to not seek easy answers to the question, but seek the Truth.

Christian Perversion

Sometimes, I can get more truth from atheist Richard Dawkins than from my christian brothers. Recently, a specific “christian” group was brought to my attention.

The Lie: SoJourners

This “christian” group tries to tackling tough political issues like Gay Rights, War, or Social Inequality. As usual, I decided to do a little research, and found this simple question:

What is your position on gay marriage and same-sex relationships in general? They began all their answers by quoting scripture. Good. I thought this was a simple enough to answer straight from Paul. Here’s a great verse to answer this question:

“…Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Homosexuality is a straightforward issue for me. But SoJourners didn’t choose my verse. Hummm… well, they at least got the same book.

“As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor can the head say to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.'”–1 Corinthians 12:20-21

Somehow, this was the best verse to talk about homosexuality. (Maybe I missed it – where does 1 Cor 12 mention gays?) Based on this strong scriptural evidence (this is the only verse he quotes), Jim Willis, the head of SoJourners, concludes we should:

  • “Pass anti-hate-crime legislation that prosecutes attacks on gays and lesbians
  • “Ensure that long-term gay and lesbian partnerships are afforded legitimate legal protections…”

You have got to be kidding me! Is it just me, or is skipping 1 Cor 6 (which talks about homosexuality) and instead referencing 1 Cor 12 (which talks about spiritual gifts) a Scriptural misinterpretation? No… it’s a perversion!

This is, at worse, awful hermeneutics; and, at best, a complete perversion. This is not the only time they put words in God’s mouth. Go read the entire FAQ if you are still in doubt.

Reverend Jim Willis

Willis is the GEO of SoJourners. He’s “a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life.” But the best way to paint his ministry is by where he lives – Washington D.C. He may be a Christian, and may even have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but he is so soaked by Washington that the Truth of Scriptures apparently has little meaning for him.

I hope you are now informed enough to be ware. He is a wolf is sheep’s clothing. His view of Scriptures? It’s basically just like the Sunday funnies: cut it to pieces so you can hang it on your wall.

The Christian Response

Willis is obviously wrong. But we should not treat him like an unbeliever. He isn’t the enemy. We should love him like a brother. An immoral enemy, you should love on and try to save (Matthew 5:44); a immoral brother, you should abandon and even excommunicate (Romans 16:17). Yes, you heard that right. We shouldn’t even associate with him.

This is why I found this blog from Donald Miller completely on the wrong track. Miller takes the other side of the coin: that Glen Beck was being un-Christian by attacking his friend, Jim Willis. His posted on Pastor Wallis’ response; to “turn the other cheek.” He is wrong. We should love our enemies when they wrong us, but that is not the right response to a believer who does not accept the truth (2 John 1:10).

You would literally be better to spend your time listening to Richard Dawkin’s “The God Delusion” than supporting the ministry of Jim Willis. I know this is counter-intuitive. If this stuff was natural, we wouldn’t need Jesus. So, get used to it.

Scripture: Remove the Evil!

Excommunication is mentioned several times, but let me just quote this one passage to remove any doubt that this is the Biblical response:

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NASB)

9I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;

10I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.

11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.

12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?

13But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

A Book; The Truth.

Warning: This is a graphic film, and just like the graphic war passages in Exodus, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Parental discretion is advised.

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli: "I walk by faith, not by sight."

Well, I’m usually the type that reads all the reviews and makes sure that I know what I’m in for before watching a movie. Really, can you blame me with all the Hollycrap that’s out there? But The Book of Eli was one movie I didn’t do that.

After seeing the trailer, I wanted to be surprised. So, I entered the theater not knowing anything beyond the trailer about this movie. How wrong can you go with Denzel Washington?

After this two hour movie, I have three letters for you: W-O-W. Just plain wow.

It is an awe-inspiring movie with great cinematography, intense action, an amazing message, gripping story, and just all around stun power! Go see it.

The Book of Eli is a post-apocalyptic story about a mysterious lone traveler (Eli) who is on a mission to save the savage human race. His mission comes straight from heaven. According to Eli, “I walk by faith, not by sight.”

All the bad stuff.

Now that I’ve told you how much I loved this move, let me tell you all the bad stuff in it. In short, it’s not family movie. It’s got an R for a reason. Probably not for anyone under 18.

If you want specifics, PluggedIn (from Focus on the Family) has a great review that lays out all the brutal violence.

But (without ruining anything) bullets not only fly, we see them blow holes in people. Not only does Denzel fight to defend himself; he lobs off heads and appendages. Blood is all over the place, and cars explodes in a show of fireworks. Carcasses, of both machine and humans, litter this radioactive wasteland.

It’s thirty years after all the governments blew each other up and the atmosphere with it. As can be expected, anarchy prevails. We hear about (but don’t see) cannibalism as human is one of the few meats left. Woman are raped (off camera, thankfully), and cusses are flung each direction.

While this is show, none of it is condoned, which is why I think the movie has the same redeeming value as the warfare of the Judges or the conquest of Canaan in Exodus.

Now, if you haven’t seen the movie, and this doesn’t scare you off, then stop reading this review and go see it. Please, bELIeve me, you want to be surprised by the twists in this amazing plot.

If you have already seen it…

There are some amazing themes woven through this film. Perhaps the deepest and one deserving of most attention:

1) The Word of God vs. The Book of God. Carnegie (yes, that’s the bad guy’s name) thinks the book can be used as a weapon to control those who can’t think for themselves. It has power.The only reason Carnegie values the Bible is because it’s the big Book. Eli knows this, too. But he has a different perspective.

A Book or the Truth?

A Book or the Truth? from: ba1969, stock.xchng

Eli is no Indian Jones. He doesn’t protect this book as an artifact. It has power not because it’s a big book, but because it’s the Truth. When Eli finally looses it, hope is not lost, because he doesn’t need the book; he already has the Word in his heart. (literally, the whole thing memorized)

What I left the theater, I had one big question: was Eli blind all along? Had he been miraculously healed so that he could complete this specific mission? Or had he simply learned braille… maybe because a family member was blind? Maybe the coloring using in the movie actually reflected that he was color blind? I’m not sure, but regardless, there’s still this lesson:

2) In Eli’s weakness, He is strong. Eli could see things that no one else could. Great lesson: God doesn’t just gives you challenges just so you can overcome them, but also so that you can use them.

We find out at the end that Eli is one of the few people that can actually use his Bible.

Two of the greatest lessons come straight from Eli’s mouth:

3) Priorities. “I’ve concentrated so much on protecting the book, I forgot to live by what I learned from it.” Too often we get so caught up in our mission, whether it be going to church or ministering in a foreign counter. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with everything and then, as Eli puts it, put others before yourself. If we complete the mission, and don’t have love, we are nothing. (1 Cor 13)

4) Thankfulness. Eli’s companion, Solara, asks what the old world was like, before humans decided to blast each other to pieces and destroy the atmosphere. “People had more than they needed.” He says, “we threw away things people kill each other for now.”

It’s just been 30 years since the World’s climate completely changed. At one point, Eli needs to pay to get his gadgets charged. He pays with KFC Towelettes.

That was one of the big impressions my Dad got from the movie. A peak into our future helped me realize just how much I take for granted.

5) Finally… Memorization. Psalms tells us that David, the great warrior of the Bible, the Word to heart.

Psalm 119:11 (ESV)

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Not to spoil it for you, (which is why I told you not to read this if you haven’t seen the movie) but Eli looses the book. He never lost the Word, though. Eli had memorized the entire thing over his 30 years of wandering, and writes the entire thing down. The copy he had, it turns out, was written in braille.

This was quite a challenge to me. If I all of my possessions were suddenly wiped out in some kind of Armageddon, would I still have the most important thing? Is God’s word still inside of me, and to what lengths would I go to protect it?

The Final Word

And my final word is… awesome.

This story is a jaw-dropping combination of King David, Fahrenheit 451, and the Matrix. I absolutely loved it. A sentimental action movie with a plot that keeps you on your toes and, while brutal, was realistic. And a great discussion starter on top of that…

That said, I want to let you have the final word. Seen the movie and have other things to add? Is there anyone that you maybe didn’t appreciate? Let me know with a comment!

Links

I should post something…

But I won’t… because I’m not feeling inspired.

“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
~Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)

Sorry, that’s all I got… But the words of God are sufficient, no?