Prayer for Everybody

I have the coolest prayer app on my Ipad. It is called PrayerMate, a guy in England designed it, and it is free. I send him suggestions periodically on how to make it better, and he always responds positively and often implements it into the program. One of my favorite things about the prayer app is I can have multiple lists. I have a list for regular attenders at JBC, a list for my family, a list for missionaries, a list of people that I know that aren’t yet saved, a list of people who are part of JBC’s family but have missed church for 2 months, a list of recent visitors to JBC, a list of staff and Elders, and a list of all those who are in my ”Leadership Classes.” That is seven different lists so it is a simple thing to organize them so that I pray for one each day of the week. The list of regular attenders at our church is by far the longest so I schedule it for Sunday afternoon when I usually have the most time to devote to prayer.

A second feature that I love is unlimited capacity for notes that I can write as I pray for each person, and read from previous prayer times. I often cut and paste prayer requests from the weekly church prayer letter into this place as well. Nothing helps keep me awake and alert when I am praying like reading and writing does.

A third feature is I can cut and paste pictures that I have taken of them and also pictures that I cut and paste from Facebook. In the gospel of John, Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd, and that He knows those who belong to Him by name. Having pictures really helps me remember every person in our church by name.

As one of the Pastors at JBC I believe God has given me extra authority with Him for those in our church. In John 17, Jesus says that He doesn’t pray for the world, but for those whom the Father has given to Him, speaking of His disciples. God is all powerful and can do anything in the life of anybody, but He has set up rules, in this world and in life, and one of them is that He has dramatically limited what He will do in a person’s life until someone prays for them. I truly believe that I have the most influence and impact on those in our church through the power of prayer. The great thing about this app is that it is a great tool to help me to be faithful to this discipline of praying for every person who is part of the JBC family.

Seeking Wisdom

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me(wisdom)
And those who diligently seek me (wisdom)will find me.

The book of Proverbs has over twenty admonitions to seek wisdom from others. The obvious truth would be to seek it from wise people not fools.

I spend a lot of time reading and listening in my pursuit of wisdom. I read when I am sitting and I listen when I am moving. With a Smart phone that bluetooths with my hearing aids it is easy to listen a lot. I listen to sermons, seminars, podcasts, and audiobooks. Many of the authors that I read and speakers I listen to have been censored by Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube because they are writing and saying things that go against the mainstream accepted information and therefore get labeled as ”false information.”

It would seem evident that if dispensers of information and knowledge like Facebook restricted some information claiming that it is false because it doesn’t fit the agenda being championed, it wouldn’t be an excellent source for real wisdom but instead an excellent source for propaganda.

I regularly get stuff from people in response to my blog or things that I have read and shared on Facebook that contradicts what I have written or shared. What I get is almost always stuff that is in the center of the accepted agenda of the media. Organizations that give advice, opinions, and mandates that are driven by money are seldom driven by science though they claim that, but they are the accepted source of accurate information by most.

As I read and listen I know the difference between a kook and someone who is an independent thinker who is driven by a desire for truth rather than riches. The people I seek wisdom from often get labeled as kooks. That is the method of dealing with people who don’t agree with you nowadays, call them a kook or worse.

I just finished listening to a presentation on the negative effects and consequences of ”lockdowns”. Just a few on the list was a dramatic increase in suicides, depression, domestic violence, alcohol consumption, drug use, failure of small businesses, divorce, and probably many thousands around the world starving shortly because of significantly reduced production, and the overall rise in fear.

I knew all that before listening to the speaker by just talking to people in my life. So, why do we have these lockdowns?

Conservative vs. Liberal

In the Christian Church world the terms Conservative and Liberal are used apart from anything political. Every denomination and Christian group can be put on a line representing their position in relationship to others. The right side of the line would be the designated place for Conservatives and the left for Liberals. Some denominations and groups would be clear over to the right and some way over on the left and many scattered everywhere in between.

The most basic definition of a Conservative Christian is one who believes that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God in its original manuscripts and is our sole authority on who God is, how we can know Him and live with Him eternally, how we should live in this life, what is truth, what is false, what is right and what is wrong. The Bible is our sole authority and the only source of real truth. Approximately 35 different authors wrote the Bible over about 1,500 years. Conservative Christians believe that God the Holy Spirit ”inspired” each man as he wrote, allowing for each man’s personality, style of writing, and vocabulary to shine through so that the words are the very words of God, the mind of Christ spoken through and written by a flesh and blood man.

Liberals believe that the Bible does have errors in it, that God’s inspiration is much more general than specific in it’s content, that much of the instruction on how to live does not apply to today because the world and people have changed so much since the Bible was written, and that it is a source of truth amount many other sources.

Conservative Christians will spend much time in their gatherings and services, teaching the content of the Bible so that people know how to love God and love people in truth.

Conservative Christians are generally conservative politically because what God says is right and wrong in the Bible is generally what those who are conservative politically would hold too as well. The biggest issue is abortion. The Bible clearly teaches that life begins at conception, with Jesus Christ Himself being the main proof.

Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Abortion is murder in the eyes of God, and approximately 2,000 abortions are performed every single day in the United States in the name of personal rights.

I am a very strong, far-right conservative in my belief that Bible is the ”Holy Bible”, the living Word of God. I am also a strong, far-right conservative politically because I believe that abortion is wrong, evil, murder in the first degree.

God’s Todo List for Me

John 17:4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

Jesus spoke those words shortly before He was crucified. If I were to die today, I don’t know whether I could say that or not. I want to be able to say that very much.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Romans 14:10-12 For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. . . So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

I will stand before Jesus Christ at the end of my life and give an account of my life, and be rewarded for what I have done. How am I going to do? I don’t know. Every morning I say to myself and God, ”today, I will live my life as if it is the last before I stand before You and give an account; I want to do super good Lord, please help me today to accomplish a lot for You. Guide me, lead me so that You can cross everything off on Your to-do list for me today, and if I am behind, help me catch up a little today.

I wonder the difference it will make in eternity between doing very well on the day of judgment and doing terrible. I am convinced the difference is enormous, and therefore I am highly motivated to do more, to give more, and to sacrifice more.

The cool thing about serving Jesus is that He says that if I abide in Him and His Words abide in me I will bear much fruit, He will see to it. Lead on, Jesus, my desire is to accomplish a bunch of good things for you today.

Relax, God is Sovereign

Isaiah 46:9-11. Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Things are prophesied in the Bible to get worse and worse, the antichrist is coming, so I guess we should just hang on and let God do what He is going to do, and trust Him. That would be cool, it would take off all the pressure of feeling like I needed to be responsible and do something.

But then there are verses like this one that makes it very clear that responsible people have a role to play in God’s plans of reclaiming the people on the earth and establishing His kingdom on it.

Ezekiel 22:30-31 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord God.

God looked for someone whom He could work through to save the land, God accomplishes His will through people who are responsible. In this case He couldn’t find anybody, so He destroyed the land, it is obvious that He didn’t want to, but there was no one who was available to work through and that is how God works.

It is very scary to me to be one who steps into that gap and says, ”Here I am, use me”. It is scary to stand before people and teach the Bible and say this is what the Bible says; this is what it means; this is God’s will for you. It is scary, because I could be wrong, but I can’t stay in my recliner all the time. I think I will work as hard as I can and trust God to work through me despite my problems and shortcomings. Scary but exciting, scary but fun, scary but fulfilling.

You Serpents, You Brood of Vipers, How Will You Escape the Sentence of Hell

Over the years I have adamantly taught in my sermons, classes, and blogs the importance of honoring our leaders, spouses honoring each other, children honoring their parents, and employees honoring their bosses. But I have also counseled wives to leave their abusive husbands and employees to look for a different job. I never did that without much prayer and thought, not wanting to encourage them to take the easy way and short circuit God’s plan of developing their character. I have not said or written anything critical about a government leader in my life, a few jokes maybe but nothing too serious. Over the last several months I have written a number of blogs very critical of government in general, our government, and especially our State government. As I said, that hasn’t been what I have done as a pastor in the past, ever, I have stayed away from anything political, so I have not entered this new campaign without a lot of fear of displeasing God, my Lord, and Savior, and of offending people who I want to influence for Christ. I was praying one night asking for wisdom and guidance on what to do and say as the Pastor of JBC, as this COVID thing started becoming more and more of an issue. I was writing most of my prayers in my prayer journal, and I wrote, ”Jesus, what would You do?” ”Please, help me to figure that one out, ” and then I turned to my Bible reading. In the passages that I was scheduled to read in my Bible that night was Matthew chapters 20 through 25. When I got to chapter 23 I thought, wow, You certainly were not very nice there, or honoring, or submissive. I read these verses over and over a dozen times, and each time I sensed more and more Jesus’s anger at the Pharasee’s for their oppressive leadership over the people. The Pharisee’s were the leaders in the days of Jesus, they ran everything; they were the ones who bullied Pilate into crucifying Jesus, and they bullied the people they were over, this is what Jesus said to them;

Matthew 23:13-33 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

Jesus didn’t like bullies much.

After I published yesterday’s blog, I thought, ” I do not enjoy this; this whole thing makes me so uptight; how did this happen? I don’t like bullies much either.


					

Being Submissive to Government

A question that I get asked often is, ”Aren’t we supposed to be submissive to the government?” ”When is it OK not to be?”

God is all-powerful, He is sovereign over all. But He has delegated some of His sovereignty to four different human institutions.

The first institution that He has given authority to, and instruction on being submissive to is the family.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

The second institution that God has given authority to is business, the workplace. Obviously in this verse we can change the word slave to employee and master to boss. We all know that the boss is in charge and gives the orders.

Colossians 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

The third institution that God has shared His authority with is the church.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

And the fourth institution that we are instructed to be submissive to is our government.

Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Each of these institutions has a realm of jurisdiction, that is, God has given them authority over a particular area of life. If they attempt to exercise authority outside the realm of their God-given place of jurisdiction, they will create rebellion, anger, and war.

Pastor Mike Dedera and I function as co-pastors. He preaches most of the primary weekend services, and I teach Leadership classes and preach at our Wednesday evening service. He leads the staff meetings, and I usually lead our Elder meetings. We meet almost daily to discuss and talk about the decisions and direction of the church. But I am still the Senior Pastor, the boss. I have pastored at JBC for 44 years, Mike, about 12 years, I am 72 years old, and I don’t think he is 50 years old yet.

So, let’s suppose as Mike’s Boss I order him to sleep in a different bed than his wife, even a different room because if he gets COVID she is almost guaranteed to catch it sleeping in the same bed with him. What will his reaction be to my command to him as his boss? It will be anger, resentment, and rebellion, and justifiably so. This example is laughable, it is so ridiculous. My authority as Mike’s boss doesn’t extend into his home, no matter how well-intentioned my motives are. My jurisdiction stops at the church.

Governor Brown of Oregon has attempted to extend her jurisdiction, her authority into our church telling us how many can meet together, and who can do what. She has attempted to move into my home commanding us, under the threat of fines and arrest, not to have more than six family members gathered together at one time. Giving her credit for having the noblest of motives does not matter one iota! She has no jurisdiction in my church or my home, and my resentment, anger, and rebellion over her attempt to control them is not being insubmissive to God’s will.

There was a very Biblical reason that our countries Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the United States constitution. It basically means that government can’t boss churches around or tell them what they can’t do or have to do, the church is outside the realm of their jurisdiction.

Authority gone too far in the family is called child abuse, spousal abuse, and people are arrested, tried, and jailed for it. Bosses often become abusive, and overbearing, and you quit and find another job. Pastors often start thinking they are God and Lord it over people in their church, and those people then find another place to call their church home. So what do we do with this blatant abuse of power from our government? At this point I am just going to ignore it, see what happens, and go from there.

I invite you to come along with me on my adventure.

The Journey to Socialism – Control – Control and more Control

This is a repeat of a blog I wrote about eight months ago.

In 1968 when I was a Freshman in College the Hong Kong Flu broke out and was a worldwide pandemic, and 1 to 4 million people died in the world and about 200,000 to 300,000 in the United States. The Hong Kong flu was basically treated like any other flu, that is allowed to run it’s course, and then it was over. During those years the big fuss was the Vietnam war and the flu was a minor issue. Though many died and got sick, there was no quarantine, no travel restrictions, no masks, and I never missed church. Some would say that if it hadn’t been for the Government’s restrictions that this present Pandemic would have been much worse, we will never know the answer to that, but based on recent findings, I doubt that to be true. The problem is that those who communicate the news are so agenda driven, prone to overhyping everything, and outright lying it is very hard to know exactly what is true.

But in the midst of swirling hype, exaggeration, and lies I do know eight things to be true;

1. What I do know to be true is that governments always move in the direction of controlling the lives of people, and then over control. Studying world history and the various world empires, the Egyptian Empire, the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire under the various Ceasars, Germany under Hitler, Stalin and then the Soviet Union, and dozens of other repressive governments that exist today demonstrate that governments all move in the direction of controlling the lives of the people that it is over.

2. Another thing I know to be true is that Governments almost always attempt to control people by creating fear. The media created a huge level of fear in a short amount of time, which fed on itself, which created a mass hysteria that caused people to almost immediately fall in line with all of the rules with little fussing even though our Constitutional Rights were violated to the max.

3. Another thing that I know to be true is that Governments will always eventually move to control people by controlling the economy and the availability of life-sustaining resources. I think it is called socialism.

4. Another thing I know to be true is that Government always wants to expand geographically, control more land, more area. Historically this has happened by wars, but the current method is through politics; the political push is towards Globalism rather than Nationalism. The ”Beast”, the Anti-christ will be a world wide ruler.

5. Another thing I know to be true is that amid this movement of governments to control the lives of people that disunity and hatred will grow stronger and stronger between people, even in families and churches. In the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:10, ”At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”

6. Another thing that I know to be true is that all Governments sooner or later begin to resist and attempt to control the spread of Christianity than oppose it than persecute it.

7. Another thing I know to be true is that the reason for all of this is stated in Ephesians 6:12; ”For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

8. One last thing I know to be true is that Jesus is going to return one of these days and establish His Kingdom on the earth and then righteousness will reign.

Kate Brown

I see that our governor has made some new rules. I am not allowed to have more than six people in my house and not more than two different families, which is over Thanksgiving. She says that she will be enforcing this new rule with Oregon State Police and local law enforcement personal.

I wonder where the line is, that rule which is too much, too far. In the book of Acts, the government told Peter to quit preaching the gospel, and he said, ”what do you think, should I obey God or you?” In the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, the Pharoah of Egypt commanded all parents to kill their boy babies; Moses’s parents didn’t obey. In the book of Daniel, Shadrach and his two buddies refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar, and they were thrown into a fiery furnace, and they lived to tell the story to their grandchildren. Daniel was ordered not to pray, and he prayed anyway, so they threw him into the lion’s den, but he survived miraculously but his accusers didn’t fare so well, they were thrown in and eaten alive.

Revelation 13:15-17 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

What is this control about?

Verse 15 says that they will worship the antichrist because to blindly obey is to worship.

Our government is controlling people by creating fear in them, by threatening them with consequences, by shaming them, and by peer pressure. Dr Fauci was quoted last week as saying, ”be a responsible citizen and just do what you are told.” The media has communicated huge amounts of skewed, biased, and false information in order to create this mass hysteria, this fear of catching COVID and dying. Face book, Twitter, Google, and YouTube have censored and banned almost all contrary information.

Thousands of doctors and scientists have published documents and signed documents that say the consequences of lockdowns are worse than catching COVID, that we are just postponing the inevitable, and that masks do no good. But they are all censored and banned.

Kate Brown is not ordering me to not have my family over for Thanksgiving because she is concerned for my health, she is ordering me to obey her because she aspires to be a god.