preachthecross.org Blog

March 24, 2009

Mark’s Response to Comment from M.V. on 3-08-09

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 3:26 pm

Take heart, my friend, for what I understand seems to you to be “impossible” really is not at all; as “all things are possible with God”. Your struggles are not the least bit strange to God, nor “impossible” for Him to quite effectively deal with. You have simply been “sowing” or investing your time and efforts in the wrong places, and in the wrong way. You have also erred in assuming that mere human reasoning or logic can address spiritual phenomena (warfare); e.g., assuming the only dialectic is “human effort & works to be holy” or “wanton sin”. Sexual sin is not your problem; rather, it is your not understanding the depth and power of the Grace of God, and the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We don’t grow in righteousness in “recovery” groups, or “support” groups, or “accountability” groups, or any other form of human (wordly) wisdom, reasonings, and works. We grow in righteousness in small imperceptible increments which HE crafts while WE are investing our entire focus on Christ and Him Crucified.
Perhaps you recall the scene of Jesus coming to visit at the home of Mary and Martha. Martha was “distracted and burdened with much serving” (human effort/works), while her sister Mary “sat at the Master’s feet and heard His every Word”. You have been as Martha, when you need to be as Mary.
This is the same lesson of the children of Israel being bitten by serpents in the wilderness (sin–including perverse sexual sins). The “remedy” was for Moses to fashion a serpent of brass on a pole (Christ and Him Crucified), and “lift it up before the people”, commanding them to keep their entire focus fixed on it. While they stared intently on it, the healing process ensued, and they lived. When they looked away, or attempted traditional remedies (human works), their symptoms got worse, and they died. Talk about a “test of faith”. Our situation is no different.
God is asking that you direct your “faith” at Him, rather than your own weakness and failings. God sees all that, but it doesn’t matter to Him. What matters is what He did for you, and in you, at the Cross of Christ. That is what HE focuses on.
Satan’s game is to condemn you in your conscience for every sin and every failure at trying to stop sinning. He does this to get you to focus on yourself, inspire self-loathing, and eventually get you to renounce “faith” because it “didn’t work”. We help him win when we take our eyes off the serpent of brass, and scramble frantically for traditional remedies we understand and can control (accountability groups, support groups, abstinence, etc.).
Romans 12:1,2 says we are “transformed by the renewing of the mind”. The mind is renewed at the Cross of Christ. That’s where you need to park yourself and focus all of your attention and devotion. 1 John 1:9 is the interim “bar of soap” as we go along in the process and fall in the mud from time to time. The key is to confess EVERY sin to the Father immediately, never attempting to hide anything. THAT is the ONLY “accountability” God commands: to Him, not other fallen, failing men. Like salvation, this process is meant to be a one-on-one, personal process between you, Jesus and the Father. Don’t let anyone else into this process except someone who knows what is going on and keeps you focused on the Cross.
Go to my website and read some of the tenets under “About This Ministry”, and the scriptures in the Further Study/Exegesis.Read Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians in Chapter 1. Then, ASK God to give you a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” –Jesus Christ, and the “work GOD DID in Him, and YOU, there at the Cross”). Like Peter walking on the water, the “trick”, if I can use that trivial term, is to not focus on the natural circumstances (sin and your own failure), but to look at Jesus, and the COMPLETE work at the Cross. That word “complete” is the a hint at something very profound; and that is your first “assignment” in your new spiritual outlook. Go dig up the the treasure God buried there. (It is what Paul referred to as a “mystery” in 1 Corinthians 2, and Ephesians 3). Then write me when you start to “see”.
May God bless you in His infinite and unfailing love and Grace, M.V. I will pray for you.
In Christ,
Mark

3-08-09; Response to OC Register column on 3-08-09; from WTL

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 3:17 pm

NOTE: This comment was posted at the Preach The Cross.org website, and I transferred it here to include it in the dialogue–Mark

From: WTL

Superb, right on, and long overdue message for all Christians to hear and, frankly, churches to preach.

If more people who called themselves Christians learned what it really means to be born again (i.e. a Christian) — accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, with evidence of a changed life through repentance and good works — there would be fewer hypocrites in the church and a lot less tolerance of sinful behavior. So simple, yet so profound.

Nice work, Mark. The Lord is smiling on you.

From You Can’t Lose What You Don’t Have—A response to William Lobdell’s book “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting On Religion In America”, 2009/03/08 at 4:57 PM

Comment from M.V. 3-8-09: Your Newspaper Column responding to William Lobdell’s article in the OC Register Feb 24, ‘09

Filed under: Uncategorized — marcharr3 @ 3:01 pm

Posting Date: Sunday, March 8, 2009

Posted by:  M.V.
 
> I just read your Register column about William Lobdell.
> It touches a nerve in me.
>
> I was raised on the Bible and in the church, poured myself into serving, believed that Christ worked within me, taught the Bible for years, and have “fallen away” like William Lobdell, out of the very tension that your column addresses, but does not answer.
>
> The exhausting act of “self effort” to stay pure sexually, which you call “self-worship”, indeed led to exhaustion and even collapse.
> This happened in the context of three years of accountability in a sincere Christian recovery group. I gave up, not only on the group, but on any hope in the impossible claims between grace and works. To try to be holy by Christian standards leaves me to “self effort”. To not try leaves me to what Christians call sin, and I am left outside the church.
>
> How do you reconcile Christian sexual demands on those for whom it seems as impossible as the demand not to eat or drink? How does “grace” apply to those who don’t continue in the path of sexual chastity because they’re too weak or exhausted-from-trying? How does a man “repent” without self-effort?
>
> I do not see how this can be reconciled, and I don’t see that your column ever expresses that it can. You seem to put out the same Damned-if-you-don’t and equally Damned-if-you-do-and-keep-failing that I embraced for over forty years and then collapsed from almost a decade ago.
>
> What do you tell a longing lost Christian?

February 13, 2009

The Falling Away Has Begun

Filed under: Uncategorized — Administrator @ 2:50 pm

Unfortunately, besides a reasoning mind, man also possesses the plague of pride. Pride causes individuals to resent the notion that they may not have a revelation from God that perhaps another person may, in fact, possess (especially where that person is perceived to be of a lesser prominence within a religious environment or church). Pride is the root cause of those individuals to inflate and magnify their own carnal reasonings and worldly wisdom, using an impressive stage and surroundings, a louder microphone and big screen image, material success, and the popularity and praise of men as the “proof” that what they are saying is “truth”. My friends, RUN from such people.
God NEVER looks at the outside, but always at the inside, at a man’s heart, and does so daily.

This is especially true of those exalted, “celebrity” status, so-called “leaders” among the Body of Christ. Since they coveted the “high seats” of the congregation, pursued popularity, trusted in the devices of men, and attained broad visibility, God holds them doubly accountable, and He is less tolerant of their error than the average believer. In a sense, he must “make an example of them” by withdrawing from them His blessings of Spiritual wisdom and Truth. What parent ever rewards their child’s disobedience? Moreover, this is also the manner in which God “puts them on open display” to those with Spiritual discernment, and they become an example to the obedient and faithful of what NOT to do.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this is Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Southern California. While Waren clearly covets his popularity and the ample praise of worldly men, those who have resisted such temptations and have remained true to the Cross can easily see he has become a blind, pride-filled, bellicose fool. Warren, having cut himself off from God’s favor and Spiritual wisdom, has very obviously gravitated to the temporal–the “here and now” –as is tragically happening to many “popular” religious leaders.

They elevate worldly objectives, emphasize material blessings and, devoid of revelation, they display an increasing reliance on the worldly wisdom and principles of psychology, science, political correctness, marketing, and statistics. A further irony and sad “proof” that they have lost contact with Spiritual wisdom is that the cannot even see how far they have fallen away. They are fulfilling the prophecies of the end times, and the tragic “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and the rise of the false prophet and coming One World religion. Yet they foolishly believe they are bringing about “God’s kingdom on earth”.
Unfortunately, there is no scriptural basis for this whatsoever. Yet they not only do not see it, but they REFUSE to even discuss it.
This is why the most important trait of true believers, and that which this ministry exhorts at all times, is the necessity for vigilance and open examination of all one’s words and deeds to ensure that they line up with all scripture, not just a selected few. The humble rejoice whenever ANY brother or sister cautions another about possible error:

“Reprove not a proud man, lest he hate thee…”; “Correction is grievous to those who have forsaken the way…neither will he go to the wise”; and “…rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee”; “…he that hears and considers reproof is prudent”. Proverbs 9:8, 15:5,10,12

But the proud instead bristle, refuse to hear, silence and marginalize the messenger, and are resentful toward any who dare suggest they are in error. And it doesn’t matter how gentle, or “loving” they say they are, or try to act. What matters is whether or not they are open to hearing the warning or exhortation from others–and not just the comfortable, selected coterie of “inner circle” or “advisors” they surround themselves with.

Another important test is whether or not they are they willing to actually carry out a sincere dialogue and scriptural examination with those who bring them a warning.
Resistance to hear warnings from others, and sincerely engage in discussions about it, of course, leads to a downward spiral whose end is a carnal, dead religious organization which God had long abandoned. He of course never abandons individuals, just the traditions and institutions they collectively create in an effort to “do something big for God”. God knows their hearts, and knows that they really only wanted to do something “big” for themselves. The “big” things to God, however, always relate to the essence and quality of the one-to-one personal relationship he seeks and pursues with each believer.
Regardless of how noble-sounding or “purpose-driven” they may wish to label them, no earthly religious organization, no church, no sprawling campus, no worldwide television ministry, no social aid or relief organization, or any other temporal activities of men will exist in eternity, nor be accounted for anything in the Judgement. Only the Cross, and the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ will matter, and each one individual will have to give account of what they did for THAT ministry of God and Jesus Christ.
“…And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be known by the Church, according to the Eternal Purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:9-11
All other “purposes” of men are meaningless, and a colossal diversion away from God’s Purpose in the Cross. Mark

January 29, 2009

Welcome to Mark’s blog.

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