A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Godly Instruction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Godly Instruction. Show all posts

April 18, 2024

The "Stronger Men Conference" and the Blasphemy towards God

I had intended to write on another subject for today's post, but I will defer that subject to another day. An ugly controversy has arisen in the Body of Christ, and I cannot remain silent on it. I don't want to belabor the points why it is important for me to speak out, so here is my take on the latest public disagreement among Christians.

By now, I'm sure you're aware that the internet has blown up over the opening act of the 2024 "Stronger Men's Conference" hosted by James River Church and Lead Pastor John Lindell. The controversy arises from the comments delivered by Pastor Mark Driscoll, himself a controversial figure in the Christian community, and the subsequent reproach delivered by Pastor Lindell. 

This post does not seek to condemn either Pastor Lindell nor Pastor Driscoll for what either said. I will not judge them in their roles as Pastors, whether in the present or the past. That, I leave to God. That is not what I seek to address. Rather, as a Believer who honors the Holiness of our God, I want to comment on what I see as the dishonor and perverted irreverence towards God during the performance that opened the Conference. 

First, let me say that in Biblical terms, dishonor means "to treat shamefully" or "insult". Perversion refers to any form of human behavior which deviates from what is considered to be normal; usually sexual behaviors that are considered particularly abnormal, repulsive or obsessive. Irreverence points to a lack of respect; and in regards to the human condition, is a product of ignorance which leads to disobedience.  

So, let's jump right into the controversy. The very first thing that starts off this "Stronger Men Conference" is a male stripper performing an erotic act on a stripper pole, which includes licking and swallowing a sword. Now, since the stated purpose of this annual event [hosted by James River Church] is "to inspire and equip men to live out God's vision for manhood to be the husbands, fathers, and leaders God has called them to be", I must say I fail to see any connection to the supposed objective of the Conference, nor any Godly reason for this act of perversion. 

How does inviting the spirit of Perversion to a men's conference "inspire and equip men to live out God's vision for manhood"??? Who thought this was a good idea and a way to honor God? And don't tell me that the leaders of this conference had no idea who this "star of the show" was! Now, you can go online and find all kinds of testimonies saying this man has repented of his errant days as a gay male stripper and he has come to the Lord. Maybe that's true and I pray that Jesus has changed his heart. Yet, here he is, stripping on a pole in front of other men! That is called seduction! And Romans 1:24 says, Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin]...

As disturbing as this part of the controversy is, that's not what has everyone in an uproar on social media. There were people who got up and walked out on that opening presentation, but it was what happened the next morning that has stirred up a heated debate among Christians. Pastor Mark Driscoll gets up to speak, telling the crowd that he's been up since early in the morning praying because his heart was burdened for those in attendance. 

He stated that his remarks were in no way a rebuke or a correction, but rather an observation ... "Before the Word of God was opened, there was a platform -- it was a high place. On the platform was an Asherah pole; the same thing used in a strip club for women who have the Jezebel spirit to seduce men. In front of that was a man who ripped his shirt off [like a woman does] in front of a pole at a strip club". Further pictures of the demonstration show the man ascending the pole and then descending into a pose like a man crucified upside down. I can see why Pastor Driscoll's heart was burdened. But as he prepares to continue speaking, Pastor John Lindell yells from the crowd "This is out of line" a couple of times. And Pastor Driscoll concedes and says, "OK, Pastor, I will receive that". Lindell then yells, "You're done", and Driscoll leaves the stage.

As if the performance, the subsequence observation by Driscoll, and the termination of his remarks by Lindell are not enough, the aftermath of this embarrassing event now has "the Church" arguing whether Driscoll followed the proper protocol for order in the Church. Citing Matthew 18, Lindell said Driscoll should have come to him privately if he disagreed about anything being done at the Conference. That is the argument for putting the focus on Mark Driscoll's sin, but the issue of the sin against God's honor is not addressed!

In addition, Matthew 18 is all about sins of personal offense, and Mark Driscoll clearly stated that he was not rebuking or  correcting anyone, but rather calling out the release of a spirit of Jezebel. I would add to that the spirits of seduction and perversion! To be honest, I am also discouraged by all the comments that claim the performer is now a born-again Christian, who is attending a church. My reply to that is the fact that he is still displaying his old sins [and at a Christian conference] is no evidence of any fruit of his conversion.

And to those who claim that Pastor Lindell is a righteous and pure man of God, and the appearance of the strip act was "an oversight" by the planning committee, I am left wondering why the good Pastor, himself, didn't stand up and stop the act the minute it began. Why did it take until the next day before anyone spoke up, and then when they did, why did Lindell resort to chastisement and shut the criticism down? 

By now, you are well aware of what I think about this controversy. It is just further confirmation [for me] that much of the Church has lost its reverence for the holiness of our faith, and it deeply saddens me. The fact that thousands of men at this conference -- some with their wives and young sons in attendance -- were subjected to this aberration of manhood, shows us just how far the Church has fallen into a distorted practice of their faith. 

Ephesians 5:3 says, But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith. My question to the leaders of this conference is this: How can you justify your opening act in light of this Scripture? How does that performance inspire or equip Godly men?

And as for Pastor Lindell's use of Matthew 18 to justify his handling of Mark Driscoll, I'd like him to respond to a verse that a good friend of mine pointed out to me: As for those [elders] who continue in sin, reprimand them in the presence of all [the congregation], so that the rest will be warned (1 Timothy 5:20). Again, I am not willing to condemn Pastor Lindell as overtly sinning in this situation, because I do not have all the information of his involvement in the planning of this event. But I can call the performance out as sin against our Holy God. 

As a part of the lineup of speakers, did Mark Driscoll handle this situation in the proper manner? Perhaps not. Did John Lindell feel "called out" and his leadership questioned? I'm sure he did. But was anyone involved in this conference thinking about how God felt? Do you think He was offended? Does anyone think He approves of this perversion as a good way to build "stronger men"? And if you don't want to go as far as to call the opening performance perversion, then perhaps you should go back and read Ephesians 5:3 again. As the song says, "I saw Satan laughing with delight."

It is time that real men of God stand up and reclaim their identity as righteous men. The spirit of perversion has invaded our land and the Church has not risen up to fight this spiritual battle! We are seeing too much carnality infiltrating, not only society, but our churches and our church leaders. God will not be mocked, nor will He allow Himself to be disgraced or disrespected! There is a limit to His patience for us to clean up the Church. Before long, God is going to gather His wheat into His barn, and then He will burn the chaff. Remember, He is a consuming fire! Pray for the Church to repent for agreement with perversion like this conference portrayed!

1 Peter 4:17      For it is the time [destined] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not respect or believe or obey the Gospel of God?   

January 24, 2023

Will The Next Generations Truly Know Christ In Truth and Spirit?

I ask this serious question, because I have been sincerely contemplating the state of our Christian faith in America, including my own journey. First, let me say, that I am not questioning the love that my fellow Christians have for Jesus Christ. I believe that this love is real and comes from hearts truly seeking Him. But my spirit is concerned that we do not know Him as we should. We live in a world that makes it difficult to take our focus off of it [the world]; to set it aside for a time in order to pursue the person of Jesus.

What does it mean to really know a person? Of course, it includes the "facts" of who they are -- what they look like; what they've done and what they're known for; and how they are perceived by others. But that's all pretty superficial ... and subjective; what you think about them versus the true nature of a person. But truly knowing Jesus comes from shared experiences with Him; recognizing how He uniquely expresses His love for you. And through those encounters with Him, knowing what disappoints Him, what He expects of you, and anticipating His will for you, and you alone. Truly knowing Jesus is feeling so confident in His love that you are vulnerable enough to let Him see your flaws and failures, because your relationship is so secure, you know who you are in Him, and He in you. 

And here's another way you can be confident that you know someone in the deepest sense -- you are comfortable in the silence. And with Jesus, that silence accompanied by solitude, is a blessed time to rest in Him, just listening for His voice, and in turn, praising Him for His friendship and presence in your life. And, for me, the beauty of knowing Jesus is the complexity of our relationship ... it's our intimacy, and feeling interconnected with Him at the very core of my heart and mind. It's what defines and drives my relationship with my own husband because I know how much Jesus, our Bridegroom, loves us both. Ultimately, truly knowing someone is loving them unconditionally, with all your being, until the two of you are virtually inseparable. 

But here's where my concern for future generations is being raised... Our Western world has increasingly isolated us. We are not only identified [and divided] by our race, gender, age, social status, and political persuasion, but we are limiting the possibility to know each other to 30-second sound bites, a social media image, or a few sentences and an emoji or two on our phones. We are tuned out from real face-to-face, flesh and blood interactions, and settling for distant, detached, and dispassionate associations. You will never know Christ following that agenda! And we will never experience what God has in mind for the "brotherhood of man". In fact, I don't know if you have perceived this truth or not, but our younger generations don't like to talk on their phones. They prefer only texting. So the desire to hear each other's voices is also being lost. Their time is spent constantly "plugged in" to technology and all its "noise". Where is there room for Jesus, or the ability to hear His voice in that world dynamic?

The truth is that at the heart of every human being is the desire to know others in intimate relationships and to be known themselves, for who they are. And Jesus wants to know us and to be known by us. We can all agree that it is our sinfulness that gets in the way of that intimacy. But now we've allowed technology to expand the gulf, not only between each other, but with our Creator. I am reminded of the story in the Bible of the woman at the well (John 4:6-30). The Bible teaches us that the object of this story is to let this woman know that Jesus knows everything about her sinful life, but still offers Himself as the Living Water that will quench her thirst to know all things about the Messiah. And He tells her that the Father is looking for those who will worship Him "in spirit and truth".

Can we even agree among ourselves what that means, let alone explain and encourage the younger generations how important it is? God is Spirit and we are made in His image, but I fear that too many are only interested in the image they project to the world through social media. And God wants us to worship and experience Him in Truth; those who like the woman at the well, are seeking Him honestly [and earnestly] without pretense or guile [cunning, fraudulent agendas, or deceptive goals]. Jesus isn't worried about His image or how many likes or comments He has. But He is interested in gaining followers who want to exchange this world for eternal life with Him. 

In conclusion, I know that there is an undercurrent of beautiful, powerful, and Godly faith rising up in the next generation. God always has His remnant and I am encouraged by the boldness of those I see resisting the temptation of the Enemy to invest in the false image he offers so many of their peers. It is the commission of our older generations, in the time we have left, to be bold as well. To swim against the current of society, and raise up our children and grandchildren in the way they should go. God has not yet lifted the Restrainer's Hand, and He can expand the time we have to sow into them [for after all, He created time]. Let us join together and see personal revival come to individual lives who want to truly know Jesus! Lord, let us see those numbers grow until the Spirit of Revival, Restoration, and Rejuvenation return to this land. We rededicate our lives and our relationships with You to see that happen before we leave this earth!

#thenextgenerationforgod #millennialgenerationforgod 

Psalm 145:18-19    The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
To all who call on Him in truth (without guile).
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear and worship Him [with awe-inspired reverence and obedience]; He also will hear their cry and will save them.


January 21, 2022

God, Education, and Our Schools

This is a topic that has long been on my heart, and has been prominent in my thoughts. First, a little background ... I come from a family of teachers. My father and his siblings were all teachers. My cousin and my sister are teachers. My brother-in-law has had a long career in teaching and being a principal. My father served on our local School Board, years after he left the teaching profession, because he believed in the importance of a good education, and in serving the desires of the parents in their children's education.

Having come from that background, I have always been interested in the quality of education, what is being taught, and the level of knowledge being attained by students in our nation. As I've gotten older, I have also become aware of the history of education, and how it can become a weapon of indoctrination in the hands of despotic men. At this point, I want to make it clear that this is not meant to be a political post, but rather my own worldview -- both secular and Biblical -- about how education is an important influence in the culture of a people, and should therefore be safeguarded as a virtuous pursuit. 

We can go all the way back to the Garden of Eden to see how important the pursuit of knowledge is to God. He created a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and warned our forefather, Adam, to refrain from eating the fruit of that specific tree. The Bible tells us that Satan was already in the Garden and Scripture tells us he was crafty [subtle, and skilled in deceit]. God knew that once Adam ate of that fruit, he would became conscious of a choice between good and evil and would be tempted to disobey this commandment, leading to his ultimate doom. We all know the consequences of Adam and Eve's choice... Knowledge of Evil was released on the earth. And the foundational definition of "knowledge" is this: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Now we see that experience and education leads to knowledge. So, it stands to reason that the facts and the information we receive are important factors in how we are educated, as well as the substance and purpose of the education we receive. From the beginning of time, education, knowledge, and wisdom have been appreciated and sought after. The Bible recognizes that knowledge [coming from education and training] is important. But sadly, it can be subject to corruption. Paul exhorts Timothy regarding this very possibility: O, Timothy, guard and keep safe the deposit [of godly truth] entrusted to you, turn away from worldly and godless chatter [with its profane, empty words], and the contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge” -- which some have professed and by doing so have erred (missed the mark) and strayed from the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

It's apparent in today's world that having knowledge is simply not enough. There are countless people in the spheres of higher education, the media, science, and social philosophy who bear titles that allude to their possession of knowledge. But do they have Wisdom? Man can gain knowledge through his own efforts. But Wisdom comes from God alone. And when you receive Wisdom from God, you receive knowledge of His Truth, understand His Truth, and know how to apply His Truth. There is no greater example of the difference between having Knowledge alone, and having Knowledge plus Wisdom, than the story of Moses. 

Moses was raised as a son in the royal household of the King of Egypt. Along with his step-brothers, he would have been given a classical Egyptian education; taught reading, writing, mathematics, medicine, geography, history, music, and science. The brothers were all taught the same, yet only Moses received Wisdom from God and went on to lead God's people out of slavery and bondage and into the hope of freedom in a promised land. As simple as it may sound, Wisdom is a necessary component to receiving Godly knowledge in any education system, and it can have profound effects on entire peoples, cultures, and nations.

Which brings me [finally] to a good hard, look at our own education system. I can only imagine what God must think when He contemplates how far Wisdom has been removed from our education system, and what serves as Knowledge in our classrooms. There is not only concern regarding what is being taught, but what has been removed. In researching the classical education of children in colonial America, I discovered that the typical education of the time began at about age eight. Students who went to school were required to learn Latin and Greek grammar and to read the Roman historians Tacitus and Livy, the Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides, and to translate the Latin poetry of Virgil and Horace. A formal education also stressed the seven liberal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric, as well as arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. And, of course, the Bible.

Students were encouraged to debate ancient philosophies, and enjoyed the freedom to question dogmas in the pursuit of truth. For those who had little formal education (such as our first President George Washington), the personal study of classical thinkers was commonplace, as was a classical influence from the pulpits of Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards. In other words, intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge, infused with Wisdom from God and the Bible, was a guiding force in the founding and governing of this nation from the beginning. Benjamin Franklin said, "The Bible is the foundation of all education and development", and "The greatest education is the knowledge of God".

Virtue [showing and enacting high moral standards] was valued in our education system. Today, I fear that virtue has been replaced with what has become known as "virtue signaling", defined as showing support for a socially acceptable moral cause without actually doing anything to advance it; a false show of self-righteous behavior; placing more importance on the appearance of moral correctness, than acting morally. 

Instead of the Biblical character of empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of others), our children are now taught identity politics; it's all about me, which is the opposite of empathy. And just 60 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream of a just nation, we find that we are still judged by the color of our skin, and not the content of our character. 

We may point out that our educational system began failing when God and prayer were removed from our schools by the Supreme Court in 1962. But the Enemy of God began invasively planting seeds of division long before that. At the turn of the 20th Century, our schools began to be infiltrated by Social Reconstructionists who believed that a
society could be reconstructed through the complete control of education. The objective was to change society to conform to the basic ideals of the political party or government in power or to create a utopian society through education. The result has been an increase in the transference of educational authority from the States to the Federal government. In addition, School Boards have become increasingly accountable to social and political causes and groups, rather than to parents who rightly hold them responsible for the education of their children. 

We have recently seen this growing national conflict between School Boards and parents in Loudoun County, Virginia. And I recently watched a live forum on Education in which educators, parents, and policy experts voiced their concerns over the manipulation and indoctrination of students in specific sociological and political ideology. Both parents and teachers voiced the harassment they have endured when they dared to question School Boards about their children's education. It was disturbing to hear how far our Educational system has veered from the standards and goals of a Godly education.

But perhaps the most alarming, yet hopeful, testimony came from a Loudoun County school teacher. She said she found herself cleaning out a classroom [before being moved to a new location] and she cried out to God, saying she was tired of fighting the system and didn't know how much longer she could continue teaching. She lamented how far we've fallen from presenting our children with a fair, true, equitable education that subscribes to Godly principles, and she repented for having failed the children. She admitted she was afraid to fight back against the School Board, having seen the personal attacks that came with that stance. And she told God she was sorry the American people had allowed Him to be removed from the classroom, but she wasn't sure how she could make a difference.

As she reached for the last book on the bookshelf, she saw that it was the Holy Bible. When she opened the flyleaf, it read, "Gifted to the Loudoun County Senior Class of 1955." And she heard the Lord say, "I did not leave. I survived the Supreme Court ban of 1962. I have not abandoned this school, and I have put you in this place for this time to represent Me in this battle for our schools". That teacher said she is no longer afraid to speak up and has joined with other concerned teachers and parents to take back the schools in Loudon County, Virginia. Indeed, that is the goal of the new governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, and his amazing Lt. Governor, Winsome Sears.

I know that this post will have no great consequence in bringing the Mountain of Education under the influence of the Kingdom of God. But I just wanted to remind us all that we have a rich heritage of the pursuit of Knowledge and Godly Wisdom in this nation. It is well worth resurrecting and inviting the Creator of all knowledge to once again be the guiding Light of teaching and instruction for our generations. The road we have been going down has only served to divide us, which pleases God's enemies. Let us join together to preserve the minds and futures of our children. They are our hope. How they are educated will determine if this nation survives in freedom, or descends into oblivion.

Proverbs 4:13     Take hold of instruction; [actively seek it, grip it firmly and] do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.