Posts Tagged ‘ daniel m klem ’

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 05/29/2011

I am in the Grand Canyon today! Therefore the second poem should be okay, says I. This first poem is “in honor” of those who give false prophecies (I am done picking on them for a while after this, I swear!):

translation
daniel m  klem

i am an oracle of the Lord
 i am a liar

the Lord says to do this
i do not mean this

He also says to do that
all of this is a bunch of lies

the Lord God sent me a vision
this was my dream last night

nothing will ever harm you
you will suffer

if you listen to my prophecies
if you do not listen to the Lord

therefore  do as i say
stop listening to me

and God will bless you
or God will not bless you

because i am an oracle of the Lord
because i am the biggest liar you will ever meet

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 90.

And I know we are not on bikes this weekend, but I wrote this on a bicycle outing in which we did about 35 miles in a few hours before having food. It was so tough (poor, little me) …

perseverance
daniel m  klem

my friend and i
biking the trail
my legs weaker
wanting to bail
i want to ask
if we can break
all i want is
to stop and take
a breath of cool
refreshing air
who needs the wind
blowing my hair
but then I think
of what Jesus did
when He crossed
and took my sin
so  i will not quit
but keep going
as Jesus did so
we could keep growing
that we would love
God in Heaven
and join Him in
the greatest Haven
so i will pedal
throughout the day
because the Son
has shown the way

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, pages 46-47.

My What Big Sheep You Have!

Now that we know how to deal with false prophets (and other Christian-sinners), it is time to ponder people patronizing the pews of pesky perjurious prophets … and other bad teachers.

So fat ... so lazy ... don't wanna move ...

How is it that so many people can fall for such obvious mis-truths and blatant problems with hermeneutics (bible interpretation)?

First off, I am going to state that it is not all on these false teachers. We have had quite a stint of poor preaching and teaching in this nation (and through much of Western culture for a long time) that many people who go to church struggle with the basics of Christianity. When less than half of us know Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection and a third of us think Jesus sinned, there is a problem. This means the Church at large has been failing them.

Years of not receiving solid teaching keeps people spiritually malnourished.  We could call these people the seeds that grew among the thorns or are (or can become?) weeds.

The thing is, what most people are getting is the equivalent of junk food. Eating junk food can keep people going for a while, some even appearing perfectly healthy, but eventually from that most people will grow fat and tired and unable to even handle good food. When people get poor teaching, it is much the same. They can start out loving the message and may even produce some good fruit in their lives, bu they often become spiritually lethargic, unable to discern what is truth.

This, then, is how people can fall for lies, half-truths, and scriptural fudgings.

Bringing in Jillian Michaels … for souls …

As with those who lead them astray, we need to love them towards truth. Calling them morons, idiots, heretics, blasphemers, retards, snakes, wolves-in-sheeps-clothing, blah, blah, blah, on and on (I have heard/read all of these and more in the past few weeks, so there are too many to link!), only pushes them further away. You may actually be doing more harm than those poorly teaching them! You become just as guilty as the false teachers!

Telling them of their error is necessary, but it can and should be done with gentleness and respect. They deserve the same grace and patience we have all been given by our Lord. We just may be working through years of spiritual and psychological abuse, so it is needed! As Paul reminded us, it must all be done with love! Sometimes that means putting these poor sheep through some “The Biggest Loser: Spiritual Edition” with Jesus hosting and us working as trainers, guiding them through spiritual exercises and feeding them with healthy teaching. It will be tough on all of us, but it takes hard work and perseverance.

There have been great thoughts shared over the past couple of weeks! What else have you? Am I right? Am I being too nice? Am I naive? Have you dealt with anyone who has been sucked in by sneaky false teachings? How long should we work with them?

Balancing Our Prophet Deficit

Over the weekend the Rapture did not happen. I just thought I would fill you in case you were wondering. (For the record: Harold Camping is now saying that everything is happening on October 21. There is no longer a final Tribulation period, just the final act.)

Now we are faced with the question:

What do we do with Harold Camping?

Really, the question is “What do we do with false prophets and teachers, heretics, blasphemers, sinful brothers and sisters, and every other supposed Christian who messes up in some way?”

I have poked some fun at our friend Harold. I even do that for people with whom I agree! It is just the kind of great guy that I am. I must say, however, that I am quite put out by the number of people raking this guy over the coals. Do you not realize that this public display of renunciation in such a manner helps prove right those who want nothing to do with Christianity?

Do not get me wrong. He has done something that should not be condoned, and we should denounce his actions and teaching concerning this past weekend’s non-event. To ignore it or even praise it would send the signal to those outside the Church or those struggling within the Church that we are okay with dissenters and those who misuse Scripture and the name of God, and we are therefore deserving of their ridicule. To publicly call the guy names and attempt to smear his reputation is childish and exactly what we see happening in our culture with people every day. How is that the Church being better than the world?

Instead, we have two biblical models to follow:

  1. Tell the man to stop. If he refuses, simply have nothing to do with him. We should “hand him over to Satan” in hopes he will actually be purged of his sins (read the link). Then we respond to his claims so that the world knows what is going on, but we also make it clear he does not speak for all of us. Done. No name calling. No character assassination (admit it, a false prophecy is enough to do that). No helping the non-Christian masses with defaming our faith and our Lord.
  2. Tell the man to stop. If he refuses, treat him like a sinner. What are we supposed to do with sinners? Love them unconditionally in the hopes that they see their error, but we do not condone what they are doing.

Once again, I am guilty of what I am speaking against. I have joked around at his expense, albeit I kept it between myself and friends. I am not saying it is any better in God’s sight. I might still be guilty of leading others astray. However, we should strive to win over as many as possible through our love and loving actions towards each other.

Any thoughts on how we should treat Harold Camping, and any others who consistently sin? What does it mean to excommunicate a fellow believer in this day? Should we excommunicate him? (Quite honestly, it seems he already was by many Christians)

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 05/22/2011

In honor of the rapture not occurring yesterday, here is a slightly irreverent and completely tongue-in-cheek poem:

rapture

“There once was a man named Jesus.
He then came back to save us.
They called it the rapture,
He took us to pasture,
and now we are all go–“

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, p. 129.

Expectant Religion

So …

ARE YOU READY?

There are some who claim that Jesus Christ is returning about 24 hours from the time I type this to rapture His Church. Family Radio (not Family Life Radio, mind you), founded and run by Harold Camping, is the entity putting forth this information.

Of course, going against them is Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

A note in the NIV says that some manuscripts do not have “nor the Son,” but that does not change my next point.

They could be right.

A friend and I agree they could, in fact, be right, but it would be ironically funny if God used someone who has been wrong before about the date of Christ’s return. It would also be sad since part of the claim is that many who live relatively righteous lives but follow two false teachings from their churches – confessing members are safe and that no man can know the day or hour – are doomed. It is also sad in that we know all people who do not attend church or believe in Jesus Christ, which is about two-thirds of the planet’s population, are doomed. I am not arguing those numbers.

However, I have heard some great teachings about this that make quite a bit of sense.

God has not revealed the day or hour of the end, because He wants us to work hard the whole time until the end. See the parable of the ten virgins, for example.

God has not revealed the day or hour of the end, because He knows most people would have sat back until the last few days or even moments doing whatever they like. If most of us know the time something is going to happen, we tend to not worry about that event until we need to. See the parable of the talents, specifically the last guy given one talent. He did not do anything wrong, per se, but he did not do anything right, either.

Between Jesus telling us no one knows (other than God) and these parables, it seems rather clear to me that we cannot know the day or hour.

What Harold Camping and his followers got right

I am going to go out on a limb and say that these people have it wrong. Tomorrow is not the day of the Rapture.

What they have right is that they have been living their lives attempting to win over as many people as possible. They have attempted to warn everyone. They have tried to bring as many as possible into the loving fold of God’s mighty hand.

They have lived expecting Christ to return soon!

The early Church lived this way. There are some people living this way today. How do we know we have not been doing our job?

Europe used to be almost entirely Christian. The United States of America was founded on biblical principles, yet less than half of us attend church regularly if at all. Most people I know say they believe that Jesus is returning, yet the vast majority of them know little to nothing about what the Bible says about it.

Harold Camping has gotten people to get excited about winning people over for the Lord, and many of us sit and debate about why he is wrong or right or how it will happen. This is not bad in and of itself, but it is wrong when most people do not reach out to others with our knowledge.

I am not saying everyone needs to become biblical scholars. I am saying we need to find that love for God and others that we evidently lack. I know I am personally lacking!

What do you think? Are we within a day of seeing Christ’s return, or are we within 36 hours of knowing we do not know? How are we doing as the Church? Am I way off base, or do we seriously need to work on our relationship with God?

What Religion Do You Follow?

Everybody follows a form of orthodoxy and religion.

Religion I have covered previously. Orthodoxy means right thinking or correct thinking. Therefore, if you are orthodox, you have a way of thinking that is correct.

Most people claim to have some form of truth … except of course for all the post-modern thinkers who claim there is no absolute truth. (Seriously think about that. They make an absolute claim there are no absolutes.)

Are you a Secular Humanist? Is humanity the highest form of life on Earth after millions and billions of years of evolution?

Are you a Theistic Humanist? Is humanity the highest form of life on Earth because a deity created us or effected evolutionary processes to get to us?

Are you an Atheist? Is there no possibility that there is deity of any sort?

Are you an Agnostic? Is there a possibility of a deity, but anything is possible?

Are you Muslim? Is Mohammed the last true Prophet?

Are you Jewish? Are certain things Kosher and others not?

Are you Christian? Is Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God?

What do some of these have to do with orthodoxy and religion?

Everybody who follows any of these has to put a faith in the parts they do not understand or for which they do not have empirical proof.

We do not have missing links for evolution, so faith is needed.

There is no proof denying the existence of God, but there is no empirical evidence of most biblical miracles. Again, faith is needed.

Many hold claim to truth, all offer proof of what they hold to be true (or hold some things to prove nothing can be proven), and all have to start with an idea of what they hold to be true or should be true. This means we all need some faith to believe what we hold to be true.

What we believe to be right (orthodoxy) shapes what guides our decisions and actions (religion/orthopraxy) which define the way we interact with life.

And now for an in-your-face, controversial statement:

If you claim to not have an orthodoxy and/or religion, you are a liar and a hypocrite.

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 05/15/2011

Sorry for missing this past Sunday. I am not really sure what happened! So, I have two for you this week:

confusion

daniel m  klem

all of the things

that You send down

confuse people

make them frown

if only they knew

where they could look

the answers are

in the good book

just turn to the

bible for help

and then maybe

you will not yelp

and crying will

stop and cease

because we try

to make Him pleased

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p.  36.

discouragements

i go through life facing discouraging times

but i serve a God that is greater than these

through His Son i can get abundant strength

and in His Name move as though with great ease

because God is the biggest in the universe

i will not be overcome but find an everlasting peace

“I am not discouraged,

Unless the situation I face

Is bigger than

The God I serve.”

–P. L. Liddell

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p.  37.

Stolen Goods

(Bedford County (Pa.) District Attorney's Office)

Ill-gotten treasures are of no value,
but righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 10:2, NIV

How about we go from Church unity to a potentially controversial topic?! Okay!

Stealing things can be fun. I do not deny that. The rush of exhilaration and the excitement of getting something you may or may not want.

Of course, there is usually the issue of not being able to use stolen money since it could be traced. There is the issue of not being able to drive a stolen car around since it would take too much extra work to make sure the VIN could not be traced … let alone if you get caught with a car that is not yours. There is the issue of serial numbers or storage or fingerprints not properly wiped or a myriad of other things that can make having the stolen property so … inconvenient.

It is the same with faith.

You cannot skate into salvation on your parents’ or friends’ or spouse’s faith. You cannot skate into salvation by simply going to church or doing good deeds.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29) It can be argued that this can mean not only physically leaving things and family and friends but growing up. It can mean “I have left behind letting others tell me how to believe and have made my faith my own!”

Jesus did say (to a specific woman, in context, but I assure you that it is applicable) “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

It is the same with churches.

What is the number factor of church-growth in the United States today? Church migrants, those who leave one church for another.

I am not saying that all churches steal people from other churches. Obviously, some churches die out. I am not saying all those who get most if not all of their new congregants from other churches are doing it on purpose. However, there are some who are only playing the numbers game. These churches tend to not care too much about growing new believers. Quite honestly, the biggest reason there are so many disputes today about and between different churches over theology, philosophy, and practices is because as a whole we have neglected raising new believers in understanding. We have been happy to get converts and baptisms to say “See! We have this many new people/converts this year!”

Way to spread plenty of seed on rocky soil. Go us. We are robbing God and people by not providing fertile ground or cultivating and watering after seeding.

In effect, we are working with stolen goods.

Fortunately, I am beginning to see people begin to wake up to this problem.

Fortunately, possession still tends to be nine-tenths of the law with God. He knows who belong to Him. He has the power to redeem whatever and whomever He wishes.

How about we not stand in His way? Instead, how about we move with Him?

What say you? How are we faring as the Church? Do you see people getting it right?

My church, your church, our Church

In keeping with the Rally to Restore Unity this week, I am looking at one area that causes division: ministry.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:3-13, NIV

Vibrant and Dead

There are a lot of churches around that cater to something specific. This church offers a homeless ministry. That church has a car repair club. This other church reaches out to abused women and children. That other church has a great addiction recovery program. This church works with that church to reach out to the local prisons.

Everybody does a lot of great things.

The problem comes in that many of these churches offer these great ministries and programs … exclusively. Then they look down on other churches for not doing the same thing.

“You don’t help the homeless! Jesus told us to!” “How come you are not getting into the prisons?! Jesus said visiting those in prison is visiting Him!” “Why are you not reaching out to these people with these problems!”

It is almost a heresy to not do what “my church” does. Each church may have a great specialty, but that specialty often becomes “this is the way church is supposed to be done, and you are doing it wrong.”

I am not saying these churches or these people are bad. Quite the contrary. They are meeting a need that has not been adequately met in their area. GREAT! The problem comes in when our focus is on the ministry more than unity within the Church. The problem comes in when our focus is more on our work than on our relationships. The problem comes in when our focus is on how we are serving more than on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Unity through Difference

I am going to make a suggestion. If you are involved in a ministry, make sure you are in a church that offers other ministries different from your own. If you work with the homeless, make sure your church offers a ministry in recovery. If you work in a ministry of recovery, make sure your church offers a ministry that works with divorcees. If you work in a ministry that works with divorcees, make sure your church offers a healthy children’s ministry.

All of these are suggestions, not definite ideas. I was a part of a church (I still think of it as home, actually) which had a great youth ministry, offered several outreach opportunities throughout the year, supported several missionaries, had some men who offered their car mechanic specialties to those who needed it, and many classes to grow in understanding of the Bible and our Lord. They did not have a college ministry, and this is in a town with two major universities, some community colleges, and several satellite campuses and other colleges. We ended up plugging in with another church’s college ministry. It was working and vibrant, had access to resources we did not, and was already in with the colleges.

The point is we saw needs. We saw ways to meet those needs. We did not start new churches and/or condemn others for not doing anything. We worked together, we met the needs. We found ways to get past ourselves and doctrine to unite.

Like Paul said in Romans (and as it is said in many places in the New Testament) we belong to each other in Christ and each have gifts that benefit all. Our beliefs may not always line up. Our ideas of ministry may not always be the same. Together we can do more than apart. At the very least, make sure you know people from other churches and ministries. It will help you, your church, and the Body of Christ.

Let us get over ourselves and let Christ reign.

One in Heart and Mind

There is a lot going on in the world today. There always has, but there are definitely more ways in which everything can happen.

Also, we often have almost instantaneous access to the news about almost everything.

We are also able to say what we think about everything almost instantly. Sometimes mistakes are made (such as John Piper bidding a “Farewell, Rob Bell” to the wrong Rob Bell), and sometimes toes are stepped on (such as Rob Bell’s, as of late).

Rachel Held Evans talked about this very thing in relation to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. I completely, 100% agree with what she said.

She also is encouraging some fun and togetherness. Rachel was inspired by our nation’s two favorite “news authorities” – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – to declare this week the “Rally to Restore Unity” for Christianity. We are even trying to help our world’s water needs with Charity: Water. I have failed to make a sign, but here is my contribution to the blogging part:

D.O.C.T.R.I.N.E.

People have a tendency to forego reason if for only a moment to voice their opinion. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes they think they are right for one reason that is actually wrong even though they are right. Sometimes … we just can not know.

Sometimes there are good reasons for coming to the reached conclusions. Sometimes conclusions are reached simply to go against what is commonly held. It is never a good idea to disregard history. Many Protestants have done this in the last five centuries, often to their – and our – detriment, but of course not always.

Hank Hanegraaff came up with an idea for agreeing on church doctrines that should work in unifying believers. I have modified it slightly, but you can find the original article here (subscription required). Using the letters of doctrine, he made an acrostic:

  • Deity of Christ
  • Original sin
  • Canon
  • Trinity
  • Resurrection
  • Incarnation
  • New creation
  • Eschatology

Basically, we should all agree that Jesus is God (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, Revelation 1), all humans are sinful (Romans 3:23), we have divinely inspired scriptures on which to base our understanding of God and ourselves (2 Timothy 3:16), being one God is also three (1 Corinthians 8:6, Hebrews 1:8, Acts 5:3-4), Jesus died and rose again and will resurrect believers (1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God became man – fully God and fully man (John 1:1, 14), we are a new creation and all things will one day be made new (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:18-25, Revelation 21), and this world will one day cease to exist as it is – even non-Christians believe this, we just hold that God shall renew it (mentioned in Resurrection and New creation).

We might disagree over what sin is, what “divinely inspired” means, what exactly “canon” and “scripture” entails, or how and when this world comes to an end; but that should be secondary. The only thing that comes from arguing about these meanings is division. The only arguments that are valid are those that bolster truth and unity. If we resort to declaring all angels have wings and only 144,000 people get into heaven and blue carpeting is better than beige (for a couple examples out of countless others) and declare it as ultimate truth, we are saying we fully understand God how His plan works. This is blasphemy and unscriptural (yes, I declared an absolute truth that can offend, and we should not dare to presume we understand God. See also here and here). The first believers were Jews who could not agree on whether or not the scriptures should be read in the original Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek, yet the Bible says that in Christ they were united in one heart and mind.

We should agree our God loves us. Everyone, even Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. Even you. Even me.

We should agree God is God and we are not.

We should agree that we need God.

We should agree that we need each other.

We should agree that only God knows what is truly happening and will happen.

We should stop bickering and fighting: Jesus said so. Paul reminded us. At least twice more.

Love one another. Please, for Christ’s sake. Literally.