Tyrant or Shepherd?

4-17-16 Tyrant or Shepherd  (right click to download)

How do you get people to do what you want them to do?

Pressure, nag?

Manipulate, trick?

Threaten, fear?

3 John: The contrast between Gaius and Diotrephes

3 John 1:1 The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

PROSPER – euodóo real success – “truly prosper”

HEALTH = hygiaíno – in good working order, in sound condition, in-balance, working well, free from debilitation, functioning with all parts working together.

3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth in you, just as you walk in the truth.

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

5 Beloved, you do faithfully for the brethren and for strangers,

6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. You send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you do well…

Gaius – beloved, walking in Truth, giving, helping, welcoming, partnering.

However –

3 John 1:9-11 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. 11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Diotrephes –

loves to have the preeminence

does not receive us

prating against us with malicious words.

does not receive the brethren

forbids those who wish to

putting them out of the church.

 

CONTROLLING & ABUSIVE

Controlling: to dominate & command.

Abusive: To injure, do harm

SPIRITUAL ABUSE! Definition:

Spiritual abuse is the misuse of a position of power, leadership, or influence to further the selfish interests of someone other than the individual who needs help.

Sometimes abuse arises out of a doctrinal position. At other times it occurs because of legitimate personal needs of a leader that are being met by illegitimate means.

Spiritually abusive religious systems are sometimes described as legalistic, mind controlling, religiously addictive, and authoritarian.

Effects: Spiritual abuse has a devastating effect on people. A very high level of trust is often placed in spiritual leaders. That trust should be honored and guarded. When such trust is violated the wound is very deep. Sometimes so deep that the wounded person cannot trust even legitimate spiritual authority again.

The emotional and psychological symptoms exhibited by victims of spiritual abuse parallel those to victims of incest to a remarkable degree. The main symptom is the inability to relate normally to people who represent the source of their emotional injury.

Besides fear and disillusionment with spiritual authorities, the spiritually abused person may find it difficult to trust even God.

 

Jeremiah 23:1-4 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the LORD.

2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them…”

“But I will gather the remnant of My flock… and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the LORD.

3 John – John, Master Communicator of Goodness

 

Sermon 4-10-16 – 3 John 2  (right click to download)

We have lost something:

Philippians 1:27 (KJV) Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:    Philippians 3:20 (KJV) For our conversation is in heaven…

From politeuomai; a community

Sherry Turkle,  Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other – “The conclusion she’s arrived at is not, technically, that we’re not talking to each other. We’re talking all the time, in person as well as in texts, in e-mails, over the phone, on Facebook and Twitter. The world is more talkative now, in many ways, than it’s ever been. The problem, Turkle argues, is that all of this talk can come at the expense of conversation. We’re talking at each other rather than with each other.”

communication

But more than this concern how technology effects conversation – it goes way back – to the Tower of Babel – and even further – to Adam and Eve in the garden. After the sin there was hiding and brokenness in relationship.

But your iniquities have been separating between you and your God, And your sins have hidden The Presence from you — from hearing.    ISAIAH 59:2 Youngs Literal Translation

‘FROM HEARING’ – What we have lost is the art of real conversation as we were created to communicate.  How often does ‘conversation’ turn into two simultaneous monologues?  communication-essentials-for-relationships-1024x594

Since Adam we have inherited a hearing disability – we have lost the ability to hear into the depths – to really hear the heart, the spirit.

Levels of Communication:

Mind – information, data

Heart – emotions, longings, dreams, fears, wounds

Spirit – identity, calling, giftings, revelation, view of reality, Holy Spirit 

The Apostle John was a Master Communicator – He had walked with The Master Communicator – Jesus – and he had seen and heard and experienced how it is to be done.

That is how we need to see the letter of 3rd John. Not as a simple transmission of information – but a COMMUNICATION of Life.

3 John 1:1-8  The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LETTER)

3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, you do faithfully for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. You send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you do well,   because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.

TO HAVE A ‘PROSPEROUS’ SOUL, A whole person of well-being

– PROSPER – euodóo (from 2095 /eú, “well, good” and 3598 /hodós, “a journey on a particular road”) – properly, to go on a prosperous journey; (figuratively) to be on the right (profitable) path, i.e. leading to real success where someone “truly prospers”. WHOLE PERSON – BODY, MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT, RELATIONSHIPS, FINANCES, EMOTIONS,

HEALTH = hygiaíno (the root of the English term, “hygiene”) – properly, in good working order – hence, “healthy,” in sound condition (in-balance, working well) means to be free from debilitation (incapacity, handicap) – hence, functioning holistically with all parts working together (“sound”).

John is showing us here how to be a person who speaks and actually COMMUNICATES this to another – how to be a person who speaks goodness to another.

He is exampling the very thing he is writing about – and COMMUNICATING it to Gaius.

5 Ways:

  1. HE DELIGHTS in Gaius – DIVINE LOVE IN ANOTHER – SEES THE GOD-VALUE, DELIGHTS TO SEE GAIUS GROWING, SEES THE GOOD,

To delight in another – this opens the door for soul-nourishing. The Soul PROSPERS in relationship, in real interactive hearing/sharing relationship.

  1. PRAYS FOR – this word for prayer speaks of a HEART PASSION for another – and that passion, that longing flowing out of the mouth to God and to them what you long for them – a deep heart longing.
  2.  JOHN WRITES A LETTER – WRITES – hand written, thinking through, pondering, writing – this is healthy!  The act of writing it down is powerful and significant.
  3. HE GIVES ENCOURAGEMENT – He speaks of things that GAIUS is already doing. Real encouragement speaks of the VALUE of what the other is doing.  He sees in Gaius – TRUTH, GENUINE GENEROSITY, A GIVING  HEART FOR OTHERS
  4. JOHN EXHORTS HIM- He encourages him into more – more of the very thing that will bring true prosperity – giving, helping, partnering in ministry, in his calling, partnering with others in their calling.

 

 

 

 

Easter Peace

Easter Sunday sermon, Pastor Bruce

Easter Peace  (right click to download this sermon as an mp3 file to your computer)

Before His death, and after the resurrection – Jesus word was “peace!”

John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace to you;’ and he showed them his hands and side; the disciples rejoiced, having seen the Lord.
JESUS USED THIS WORD 6 TIMES THESE FEW CHAPTERS –  HE CALLED IT ‘MY PEACE”
eiréne (from eiro, “to join, tie together into a whole”) – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness).

THE CORRESPONDING HEBREW WORD -SHALOM – “The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. In English we call it peace, but it means far more than just peace of mind or ceasefire between enemies. In the Bible shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight— rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as the creator and savior opens doors and speaks welcome to the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things are supposed to be.”

Author and professor Cornelius Plantinga in his book “Not The Way Its Supposed To Be: A Breviary of Sin”

John 14:27   Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Palm Sunday – A Triumphal Entry?

Palm Sunday Message Pastor Bruce

3-20-16 (right click on this link to download the mp3 file to your computer)

WAS IT REALLY A TRIUMPHAL ENTRY?
Matthew 21 (English Standard Version) The Triumphal Entry
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village… you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks, say, ‘The Lord needs them,'”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey.'”

8 …the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?”

And later that week they crucified Him. Why?  What was the main issue? They put a sign over His head to make sure no one misunderstood: Mark 15:26 And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
When they mocked Him,  heaped scorn upon Him – it was THIS issue –  Mark 15:31-32 …the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
The contempt was this: YOU ARE A KING? A TRIUMPHANT KING? – YEAH RIGHT, LOOK AT YOU!

Was He? Was He a King? Was He triumphant?
From their perspective – “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!”
They surely didn’t get it, they didn’t see it.  Not in any sense that they could measure was He a triumphant king.

All the kings they were familiar with would send their armies with swords and spears, and heads would roll. They used fear and terror to enforce their power. They forced their will on others at the point of a sword.

Jesus very purposely entered Jerusalem on that very day to fulfill the reason He came:
Luke 9:51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 13:33 “For it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem was a  walled fortress, and in the middle was the temple, amazing in its beauty, but filled with religiosity, the  Sanhedrin, high priest, romans, garrison soldiers, Herod,s palace, Pilates governors palace, power, money, struggle control, teeming with 10’s of thousands at the Passover celebration, there was oppression of the poor, tax collectors, zealots plotting throw off power, the Pharisees training center
It was a seething corrupted mass of humanity – it represented everything good and bad – religiosity, politics, hope, corruption, God’s dwelling place – the ark, and mercy seat – such a mixture.

And Jesus rides right ito the middle of all of it, and He WAS TRIUMPHANT!
It sure didn’t look like it – it looked like Rome and the High Priest crushed Him. It looked like all was lost.
Was He triumphant?  How?

YES HE WAS – But Jesus worked in a very different process, His Kingdom & reign worked on very different principles than this world’s politics & religions – they use power & control – just like the kingdom of darkness.

The Kingdom of God fights and wins in a whole different way –  Jesus was operating from a very different realm.
John 12:23-28 “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain…
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
Jesus reveals his powerful principle here – a grain of wheat ‘dies,’  but still has life – that life springs forth bears fruit.

Jesus – stepped into the dirt of our humanity – into the full depths of it, into the scorn, shame, contempt, the misunderstanding, corruption, abuse, and died in it – a violent death.

He planted his germ of eternal life into this dirt, this broken realm, planted into this earth, this humanity – and the germ of eternal life sprang forth from that death, that burial into abundant life.

This is the picture of our salvation – how does Jesus save us? What is going on?
Is He just changing the accounting in His books, while we remain unchanged?
Does He just stamp our eternal passport – so when we get to gates we get waved on through?

NO!
He planted the seed of Life. Jesus said,  “THE SOWER WENT OUT TO SOW”
Mark 4:3 “Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns… 14 The sower sows the word.
The Word is living active – the seed of life -this is Jesus – the Living Word.
Can the ground prepare self, correct self? No, the farmer must prepare ground – He is doing that, in us, in you – fully receive seed, life. – Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
SWORD =  máxaira – properly, a slaughter-knife Smaller, very sharp… It lays us bear, it incises the cancer, the festering wounds of the soul, the inner person – to destroy? NO – To cleanse the cancer, to bring healing.
James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. WICKEDNESS – malignity (soul cancer)
LAY ASIDE = MIDDLE VOICE – NOT ABLE WELL TRANSLATED ENGLISH – NOT ACTIVE, NOT PASSIVE – ACTING AS BEING ACTED UPON, DEEPEST SELF INVOLVED IN PROCESS
POINT – WORD SURGERY, WORD CLEANSES, AND
JESUS VERY PATIENT AS CLEANSES, PLANTS SEED IN US – dies, it produces much grain.

BODY, SOUL, SPIRIT – THERE IS A SAVING – RELEASING, HEALING RESTORING PROCESS
PICTURE JESUS GOING INTO TEMPLE – CLEANSING, MAKE IT FATHERS HOUSE – PRAYER = CONVERSATION, DWELLING IN, HEARING, LISTENING
BEGINS HEALING –
LAME – UNABLE TO WALK
BLIND – UNABLE TO SEE –
THEN – a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies – CARRYING INTO THE GROUND THIS GERM LIFE ENTERS INTO OUR DIRT, SOIL OUR LIVES – BRINGS LIKE OF ETERNAL REALM INTO US
BODY, SOUL SPIRIT – LIFE, CLEANSING, HEALING – FRUIT

EVERYONE OF US – DEEP INSIDE – THERE IS DEEP BROKENNESS, A ‘DEATH’ – IT DISCONNECTS US FROM OUR TRUE IDENTITY, FROM HIM, FROM OUR TRUE SELF, FROM OUR INHERITANCE, FROM ONENESS IN FAMILY…

OHER KINGS, THE KINGS OF THIS WORLD  – THEY LIVE INSIDE THEIR OWN CASTLE WALLS, CLOSED OFF, ISOLATED, DISTANT – SENDING ORDERS OUT, SENDING ARMIES, EMISSARIES, THEIR MESSAGE IS “STAY AWAY, DON’T BOTHER ME PEASANT!”

HE TRIUMPHS BY BRINGING WORD OF LIFE INTO THE DEEPEST PART OF US, TO INCISE, CLEANSE, GIVE LIFE!

LAST NIGHT PACIFIC GARDEN MISSION – TESTIMONIES HOW JESUS IN LIFE – BROUGHT LIFE HEROINE ADDICT CRACK COCAINE ADDICTION, CRIME, PRISON, HOPELESSNESS – FREEDOM!

——————
ANYONE HERE FEEL DEEP NEED? DEEP BROKENNESS, DISCONNECT, SHAME, THORNS OF SHAME, HURT, SORROW, GRIEF, LOSS, REGRET
AS WE SAY – YES LORD, YES JESUS, KING, – YES YASHANA – SAVE US! PRINCE OF PEACE!
STEP INTO DEEPEST PART ME, BRING WORD OF LIFE, HEALING

THEN WE CAN GO OUT WITH JOY – BE LED FORTH PEACE –