Monday, May 31, 2021

JOIN ME AND LINDA FOR Our Annual Summer Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin

 

In less than a month from now Linda and I and many of our friends will spend five days together at our Annual Summer Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin!

2021 HIS IDENTITY ~ OUR AUTHORITY CONFERENCE



June 27 - July 1, 2021 at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, WI

We are excited to announce our speakers for 2021.

William Hinn Jr. and Clay Harrington will join us along side our HSRM leaders as speakers for a spirit filled week starting June 27 at 6 pm to July 1 at 10 pm in Pillsbury Hall at the Green Lake Conference in Green Lake, WI. 


  • You are invited to the Holy Spirit Renewal conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin for a week of spiritual renewal, healing, transformation, equipping and empowerment to walk the Spirit-filled life as described in the New Testament. 
  • Experience God throughout the week in anointed worship and teachings from nationally known guest speakers, HSRM leaders, and gifted workshop presenters. 
  • Youth Ministry, children’s Ministry and childcare make it possible for the whole family to enjoy and fully participate in the conference and receive a touch from the Lord. 
  • Free time every afternoon allows time to enjoy the great outdoors on the beautiful conference grounds of Green Lake Conference Center. 
  • The fellowship among the conferees at the Holy Spirit Conference is a special feature and has earned it the tag line “More than a Conference, It’s a Family!” 
  • Holy Spirit Renewal Ministries has been serving the Body of Christ for 45 years though conferences, seminars, and retreats and has the distinction of maintaining a great balance of word and Spirit-expounding God’s uncompromised truth and sound scriptural teaching while experiencing and releasing God’s New Testament power that was promised to all believers. 
  • He is the same yesterday, today and forever! 
  • Love yourself and your family and make it a priority to “press in” for all the Lord has for you and wants to do in your life. 
  • The conference is a Paradigm shifter that will bless you in every way! 
  • For Lodging at the Green Lake Conference Center (www.glcc.org)  please make your arrangements with the Center by phone at 920-294-3323. 
  • The Green Lake Conference Center offers a wide range of lodging options, from tent camping sites to cabins/homes and hotel rooms. 
  • Holy Spirit Renewal Ministries does not make arrangements for conference lodging. Off-site hotels are also available in Ripon and Green Lake, WI..
  • ON-GROUNDS DINING is available in the Kraft Center Dining Room 


HIS IDENTITY ~ OUR AUTHORITY CONFERENCE GUEST SPEAKERS

William Hinn Jr.

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William is the Senior Pastor of Risen Nation Church alongside his wife Emily; he also travels extensively as an international speaker. Their hearts are to see a generation run wholeheartedly after Jesus — walking in power, identity, intimacy, and righteousness.

During William’s teens and early twenties, he served faithfully at the church of his father, Pastor William D. Hinn. William has directed ministry events in large venues, arenas, and stadiums for both Benny Hinn Ministries and Lifestyle Christianity. He has also served as a personal assistant to Todd White as well as an itinerant speaker under Todd’s ministry.

William and Emily have two beautiful children: William, Elizabeth (Ellie), and one on the way! They are eager to see God’s people come into an encounter with Jesus & see this world invaded with the Kingdom of God.

http://www.risennation.org/

https://www.facebook.com/RisenNation/


Clay Harrington

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At an early age, Clay was immersed in timeless teachings about God through his mother – a powerful woman of God. Today, 

Clay travels as an itinerant evangelist who inspires others to press into a rich relationship with the Father, equips the saints to live naturally supernatural lifestyles, and provokes the church to live radically for Jesus. 

Clay is married to his wife, Regina, and has two sets of boy-girl twins. 

He currently works as the Evangelism Pastor at the Vineyard Church in Urbana, IL.


 http://www.clayofgod.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/clayofgod77/

You Are a Temple of the Holy Spirit - Sunday 5/30/2021

Tim Curry and I co-preach on "You Are a Temple of the Holy Spirit."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

What Makes Jesus Different From Other Gods? - Questions With God


I am with Robby Dawkins, Brian Schwartz, and Jamie Galloway in this episode of the TV series Questions with God.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Adventures With God - Episode 01 - Desperation


I am with Robby Dawkins, Brian Schwartz, and Jamie Galloway in this episode of the TV series Adventures With God.

Friday, May 28, 2021

My Reading for Memorial Day Weekend...

 

                                               (Path in our back yard that leads to the river.)

It's Memorial Day weekend!

Linda and I are avid readers.

We read. Therefore, we are.

My reading for this weekend is:

The biblical book of Romans. Along with reading the actual text, I've added six commentaries to my studies. I LOVE doing this! And, so far, 46 others have joined me in this summer Bible study. 

This weekend I will begin moving into Romans chapter 2.

I am also reading Why We Are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment. I enjoying, and learning, from this well-written text.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Uninterested, Uninvolved God of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism


Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, argues Rod Dreher in The Benedict Option, has won in the West. Mere Christianity has lost.


Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD), argues U of Notre Dame's Christian Smith, is the de facto, default religion of American teenagers today. MTD's core beliefs are:


1. A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.

2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

Smith writes:

"Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is also about providing therapeutic benefits to its adherents. This is not a religion of repentance from sin, of keeping the Sabbath, of living as a servant of a sovereign divine, of steadfastly saying one’s prayers, of faithfully observing high holy days, of building character through suffering, of basking in God’s love and grace, of spending oneself in gratitude and love for the cause of social justice, etc. Rather, what appears to be the actual dominant religion among U.S. teenagers is centrally about feeling good, happy, secure, at peace. It is about attaining subjective well-being, being able to resolve problems, and getting along amiably with other people."

The God of MTD is "one who exists, created the world, and defines our general moral order, but not one who is particularly personally involved in our affairs—especially affairs in which we would prefer not to have God involved. Most of the time, the God of this faith keeps a safe distance."

I met MTD-ers all the time in my MCCC philosophy classes. Some thought they were Christians, or that the worldview of MTD was the worldview of Jesus. The reason for this is that, while MTD is not an official, organized religion, MTD is "colonizing" other religions. Think now of the alien in the astronaut's body who is waiting to bust out of his chest.

Read Smith's entire article for the details. See also Smith's book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

One more quote from Smith:

"When teenagers talked in their interviews about “grace,” they were usually talking about the television show Will and Grace, not about God’s grace. When teenagers discussed “honor,” they were almost always talking about taking honors courses or making the honor role at school, very rarely about honoring God with their lives. When teens mentioned being “justified,” they almost always meant having a reason for doing something behaviorally questionable, not having their relationship with God made right."

For Smith's research project see National Study of Youth and Religion. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Foucaultian Postmodern Irony

  

                                                  (I saw this classic car in Monroe today.)

Ross Douthat writes, perceptively:

"If [Michel] Foucault’s thought offers a radical critique of all forms of power and administrative control, then as the cultural left becomes more powerful and the cultural right more marginal, the left will have less use for his theories, and the right may find them more insightful."

That... is so true..., ironic, and therefore so funny!

ROMANS SUMMER 2021 BIBLE STUDY - Bibliography

 



Here is my working bibliography for my Romans Summer Bible Study.

Gordon Fee, God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul

Fee, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study

Craig Keener, Romans (New Covenant Commentary Series)

Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary

Douglas Moo, Romans: The NIV Application Commentary: From Biblical Text to Contemporary Life

Grant Osbourne, Romans Verse by Verse 

Ben Witherington, Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary

N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans Part 1 

Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans Part 2

Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God

I use the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. 

My Greek New Testament

And... http://www.greekbible.com/ 


Why People Try to Control Others

(Sterling State Park, on Lake Erie, in Monroe

I still have control issues. This is not good.

I meet a lot of control freaks and controlees. Many marriages are the coming together of these anti-types. Every control freak needs a controlee, and vice versa. I call these "master/slave" marriages.

Most people, if not all, struggle with control issues. I have, and at times still do. The Control vs. Trust polarity is an ontological reality; i.e., it lies at the base of human personhood. 


"Control" is the antithesis of "trust." Trust is huge in the Jesus-life, and life in general, since we control so very, very little.


Keith Miller writes: "control is the major factor in destroying intimate relationships." (Compelled to Control: Recovering Intimacy in Broken Relationships., p. 7) Why do we do this? Why try to control others when we can't control our own selves, and are often out of control? Miller writes:


"The fear of being revealed as a failure, as not being "enough" somehow, is a primary feeling that leads to the compulsion to control other people. When we were children, the fear of being inadequate and shameful was tied to our terror of being deserted or rejected and we had little control over getting what we needed. To counteract that basic terror, we have evidently been trying all our lives in various ways to "get control" of life. This includes controlling other people." (14)


A controlling person is an un-free person. Insecurity is the emblem of control. I like the way Richard Foster once put this: God wants to free us from the terrible burden of always having to get our own way. "Walking in freedom" and "controlling other people" ("always getting our own way") are oppositional. 


The control freak crushes the spirit of the other person, who wears a sign saying, "Crush me." "I'm in control of you"/"Control me" - "I'm in control of you"/"Control me" -  this is the cycle that destroys marriages and relationships. The antidote is trust. Because where trust is, control is not. 


Begin breaking free by learning trust in God. Pray to be less controlling than you now are. Pray to be less controlled by others than you now are. Trust God even when you don't trust other people. Understand this: You will rarely have all your ducks in a row, especially when it comes to people.


Go basic, repeating and praying Proverbs 3:5-6:


Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil! 
(The Message)

To trust God when around distrustful people is an experiential act of freedom. God can use you to be the catalyst that heals others of their fear of not measuring up.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Blessed Are Those Who Wage Peace, Not War

(Wellspring Lutheran Home, Monroe)

(I am writing this for a pastor friend who feels shame that his church is having problems.)

Thirty years ago a church in the Detroit area took out a large advertisement in the local paper. The advertisement had these words: "________ Church: The Friendliest Church in America!" When I read it I felt like jockeying for position. I could advertise my church as "We're #2!" Within three years, this church had massive internal conflict, many people left, and the church imploded.

At this stage in my life as a pastor one thing I have concluded is: no church is problem free

I can prove this. My church is not without problems, because I am in it. 

We all are troubled people, growing (hopefully) into Christlikeness.

Misunderstandings and arguments and conflicts are inevitable, even among the righteous. What if God shows you someone else's problems? Francis Frangipane, in The Three Battlegrounds, says, if God shows you someone else's mess, it is only so you can pray for them, not talk to other brothers and sisters about how horrible they are.

If you are part of the mess, do not leave others with the mess. Be part of cleaning it up. Be the solution, not the voice of the problem.

As a follower of Jesus you are called to do far more than just love peace. You are to make peace. (One of the best books I've read on this is Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict, by James van Yperen. See also Henri Nouwen's beautiful The Road to Peace.)

Any fool can wage war. Followers of Jesus are called to wage peace. As a pastor, I have found this to be ongoing in marriages, families, and churches. Waging peace never stops this side of the Age to Come!

"But the new church I am going to doesn't have problems." It does; certainly it will. This is important, because it is within conflict that peacemakers and reconcilers are built. These are people who run towards the battle, not away from it.

I know people like this. They say things like, 


"Come, let us reason together."

I have seen people do this in my church family. When I hear of this, I cannot tell you how thankful I am and how blessed I feel!


Blessed are those who put things together, 
rather than tear things apart.

Blessed are those who, more than loving peace, 
make peace.

Blessed are those who stay when the going gets tough,
rather than leave because the going is tough.

Blessed are those who go to the other person,
rather than tell others about the other person.

Blessed are those who deal lovingly with their anger,
rather than sleep on their anger.

Blessed are the problem-solvers,
rather than the complainers.

Blessed are the understanders,
rather than the judgers.

Blessed are the participants,
rather than the observers.

Blessed are the doers,
rather than the talkers.

Blessed are those who wage peace,

Monday, May 24, 2021

Have You Been Hurt By the Church?

(Tree, in my back yard)

(Someone asked me about this. So, I'm re-posting this. If you wonder where my heart is about this, begin with #16 below.)

I have met people who talk of being hurt by the church. Here are some things I think about this.

1. If you are a follower of Christ, then you are the church. You have been placed within the community, not as an outsider. You are one of the church's body parts. (See 1 Cor. 12:12-27) It is important to remember this in relation to what follows below. 

2. Some people who say they have been hurt by the church never give church leadership an opportunity to respond to their pain. They just leave. Some of them go and tell others, "I left that church because they hurt me." Some post this on social media. If you have been hurt, don't do that. That is unloving.

3. Never leave a church family because someone hurt you, unless you first try to correct the problem. Go to your pastor and share with them your situation. If that doesn't help, try this. If you choose not to do this, do not announce to the world that you've been hurt, because you never gave others a chance to listen and respond. That is not loving, and is a way of hurting back (vengeance).

4. Pay no attention to rumors, gossip, or slander. Be a person who follows this biblical counsel: "If you have something against someone, go to them." (Matthew 18:15)

5. Some who leave form a group, centered on the common denominator of being hurt by a church. This is a "hurt by the church" support group. If these people are Christians, they are forming another local church. This is because "church" is people, and wherever two or more Christians are gathered, that's "church." If they did not deal with their hurt properly, then eventually they will bring this to their new group. Then, the same thing will happen all over again (they will get hurt by someone in this group, leave, talk to others about it, etc.) Note also: healthy support groups not only share hurts, they provide solutions. A "hurt by the church" support group, if it is loving, should discern how it can help the church.

6. No church family is perfect. If you see something wrong in your church family, address it. And remember, you are not perfect or "above" others.  If you are part of any community it won't be long before you upset someone in that community. Search your own self and see whatever responsibility you may have. ("Search me O God, and know my heart. See if there is any wicked way in me." This applies to non-Christians, the non-religious, you name it, because hurting others, unfortunately, is part of the human condition. Just try to imagine, e.g., the number of people we have met with who were raised by atheist parents who hurt them.)

7. It is easier to tear down than build up. Anyone with a sledge hammer can demolish; it takes skill to construct. Your responsibility is to edify, not complain and destroy. Beware of coming off as the righteous one who stands in judgment of other church people.

8. Distinguish between being hurt by unkindness, and feeling hurt because someone does not affirm your particular theological beliefs, or your tastes. See here. If you do not affirm something I believe, I am not to respond to you by telling others how much you hurt me. To disagree is not to hurt; to be disagreed with is not to be hurt. But, sadly, some take it that way, probably because of unhealed wounds in their heart. (See, e.g., Jonathan Haidt on the American culture of "microaggressions," "safetyism," and the need to be "coddled.")

9. Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers." Be one.

10. You have been given a ministry of reconciliation. Do it.

11. Our real battle is not against flesh and blood. Therefore, if it has flesh and blood, don't battle against it.

12. Sadly, some churches are toxic and abusive. Some Christians unknowingly get in these churches. If this is you, you can attempt to address it with leadership. Leave if you are not listened to, and corrections are not made. If it is a toxic church, the likelihood of this happening is slim. In some cases it might be best not to bring this to leadership, but just get out, because in the process you could get abused even more. Do not abuse in return, but pray for them. (For information on what a toxic church is, read this, or this.)

13. Some Christians get hurt by anything. These are unhealed hurting people who will leave church after church after church. They have a spirit of victimhood and, sadly, live off it. They bring their problems into whatever becomes the next church they go to. Every pastor has seen this.

14. Never post on social media your grievances about some particular church you were part of. Such behavior is destructive, immature, and not reconciling or peacemaking. If you have done this, contact leadership and ask for their forgiveness.

15. When you feel hurt by someone in the church, this can be an occasion for growth. It is mostly in darkness that faith is tested and strengthened. Read this book, and this book, to see how this is possible.


16. Finally, in my twenty-nine years at Redeemer, I know I have said and done things that have hurt others. When I discover this, I am saddened. If you have been hurt by me and want to talk with me please call - 734-731-1709. 

One time I confessed to the entire church, asking forgiveness for something harsh I said in a sermon. (Thank you to those who forgave me!) I am so grateful for those who have loved me enough to come to me personally and share any grievance they may have against me. This has served to deepen our understanding of one another, and strengthen our friendship. I thank God for you! 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Holy Spirit Declarations - For Pentecost!

Image result for john piippo true
Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan

Tomorrow morning at Redeemer Tim Curry and I are preaching on Pentecost and Spirit baptism. 

Here are some declarations to prepare you for what God is going to do tomorrow.

And, if you don't meet with my church family, why not declare these things over your church family?

***

Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable,
whatever is excellent,
whatever is worthy of praise,
think on these things.
Philippians 4:8



HOLY SPIRIT DECLARATIONS
  • God is revealing deep things about himself to me. (1 Cor. 2:10)

  • The Holy Spirit is explaining spiritual realities to me. (1 Cor. 2:13)

  • I am experiencing an outpouring of revelation knowledge. (1 Cor. 2:13)

  • The Holy Spirit has made his permanent home in our church. (1 Cor. 3:16)

  • The Holy Spirit is making my heart into his home. (Rom. 8:11)

  • I have become God’s inner sanctuary.

  • The Holy Spirit is giving life to my physical body.

  • Every day I am opening spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit is giving me to encourage and comfort those around me. (1 Cor. 12:11)

  • I am an equipped, competent, life-giving minister of God’s new covenant of love and power. (2 Cor. 3:6)

  • Every moment of my life the Holy Spirit is calling out to me that I am God’s true child, and God is my true Father. (Gal. 4:6)

  • I am moved by the Holy Spirit. I move with the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:14)

  • I am soaring above the domination of the law and experience the full freedom of the Spirit of grace. (Gal. 5:18)

  • The Holy Spirit whispers into my innermost being, telling me I am God’s beloved child.” (Rom. 8:16)

  • The Holy Spirit’s intense cravings are overpowering any sinful cravings I am tempted by. (Gal. 5:17)

  • The Holy Spirit is strengthening me in my weakness. (Rom. 8:26)

  • The Holy Spirit, who knows my deepest longings, is bringing my life into perfect harmony with God’s plan. (Rom. 8:26-27)

  • What the Holy Spirit is doing in me is better than anything I could have ever thought or imagined. (Rom. 8:28)

  • The Holy Spirit is unveiling within me the unlimited riches of God’s glory. Supernatural strength is flooding my innermost being with God’s divine might and power. (Eph. 3:16)



Friday, May 21, 2021

A Wedding Is a Welding



(I re-post this periodically.) 

Marriage is different, in essence, from co-habiting. Marriage requires more than just living together.

What is marriage?

In Matthew 19:1-9 we see large crowds of people coming to Jesus, and Jesus healing them. After this happens “some Pharisees came to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’”

This was one of the most controversial questions of that time. It refers to Deuteronomy 24:1-4, where we read that a husband can divorce his wife if he finds “something indecent about her.” The debate was – what does “something indecent” mean?

There were two schools of thought about that. The school of the rabbi Shammai said, “something indecent” means "adultery." The school of the rabbi Hillel taught that “something indecent” means anything, even something so trivial as burning your husband’s bagel. “So, what do you think about this,” the Pharisees asked Jesus? Jesus’ response is brilliant. Instead of dealing with Deuteronomy 24 he takes them back to Genesis 1 & 2.

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." A very cool response by Jesus. Why?

Because Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is about troubleshooting. Genesis 1 & 2 is the heart of the owner’s manual. Yes, there is a time for troubleshooting. But Jesus asks, don’t you remember what "marriage" really is? It’s male and female, united in marriage, becoming one flesh, whom God has “joined together.”

It’s this “joined together” thing that’s especially important. The word means, literally, “welded together.” New Testament scholar R.T. France says, “It would be hard to imagine a more powerful metaphor of permanent attachment.” A wedding is a welding, done by God the Master Welder.

I asked a friend who welds to give me a definition of welding. Welding, he said, is a fabrication process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. “Coalescence” is the process by which two or more droplets of metal form a single droplet and become one continuous solid. No wonder they call it “wedlock!”

Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, “Don’t you remember what God said about a husband and wife? God has weld-locked them together. Don’t let any person try to separate them!"

Instead of saying he’s for or against divorce, Jesus lifts up marriage. The Pharisees seem to have thought that the very legislation about divorce, within the law of Moses, meant that Moses was quite happy for it to take place. Since there's a law to tell you how to do it, that must mean it's OK to do. That would be like seeing a sign that says “In case there’s a fire, take this emergency exit,” and then concluding “It must be OK to start a fire in this building.”

Jesus shows the flaw in their thinking by pointing back to God's original intention. Marriage was meant to be a partnership of one man and one woman... for life. Marriage was not meant to be something that could be split up and reassembled whenever one person wanted to end it.

This summer it will be 46 years ago that Linda and I got welded, wed-locked, together. The result is that a lot of her has gotten into me and a lot of me has gotten into her. I am deeply influenced by her, and her by me. God fused us together into “one flesh.” What a great idea! You can’t get that by cohabiting.

I remember the bond.

I remember when God welded us together.

***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Read This Book, and Link Here, BEFORE You Get Married!



                                   (Cloud formations, taken from Redeemer's parking lot.)

Read 
this book, and link here


BEFORE you get married.