Whatever it takes to have peace is what God wants for his child that is the warrior. Semper Fi
When I was married a year after the war I began to reflect on my faith. My father became a very smart man during the 4 years I served in the Marines. To please, my father and mother, I attended the little country church with them along with Jean, ever faithful to me, followed the path laid before us. Using the light we had at the time we felt called to the service of Christ and like a dutiful monk of the 11th century off to learn and study at the feet of the masters. I used the GI bill to attend a bible preacher college near Atlanta. At that time called Atlanta Christian College. I felt myself among honest men and silly kids being the odd vet in a room of freshmen boys and girls. I do not recall any vets in class or any vets in the many professors that came and went. There were women in classes but they were husband hunting among the future pastors and music directors of churches of the tribes they ran with. A few older pastors and Evangelists mentored us during this time. We became involved in the innercity ministry of the “Big Fish” Jim Vernon and the “Jesus Place “ Jim and his family had begun to meet the needs of the “least of these ” on the drug-riddled streets of 1970s Atlanta. I worked on Jim’s old vehicles and a van he liked, cause he could get his growing family of future evangelists on the streets with him in various roles. We fed hippies, runaways, druggies, pagans, Wiccans, and the growing homeless community of 10th to 14thstreet in the darkest part of Atlanta. All the big churches had moved away to the burbs, and old neighborhoods were being overhauled or gentrified. After college, where I loved the study of the New Testament and hated the regular academic classes. I CLEEPEd most of those or just did not take them. I started working a regular job in my craft as a mechanic/technician, while teaching, preaching, pastoring a new group or small church. Now 50 yrs later I am amazed at what we believed and why. I am ashamed of how our prejudices and egos kept us from fellowship with all our brothers and sisters. The silly traditions we divide over, the names, the titles, and other physical things. The rules and rituals we have made our standards are often based on some old covenant scripture and some new age doctrine of men. I learned a lot more with Jim and some of the other mentoring preachers. Prof. Denver Sizemore and others impressed me with humble, careful explanations of the New Testament. What I learned was awesome to know. Before someone boils the oil for my fire to burn the heretic, let me remind our listeners we served in the Church on King St in the Carrollton projects. We were the token whites to show that the downtown white church was doing what they could in 1970s America. Today both congregations have repented and embraced freedom. But now I am deeply ashamed to have bought into the corporate church model of all mainstream protestant denominations. We made worship a form and forgot that the least of these, our brothers and sisters in many places lost because the box we built does not fit the package God sends. You can find a doctor of divinity, reverend, pope, professor or guru to tell you it is ok Jesus said you can marry your dog and all is forgiven!” Bravo Sierra!! You personally have to repent and obey. For a follower of Christ not to point out sin in a brother or sister in the “Ekklesia” is an error in the Elders and the other Priests of God’s house to bear. Overlooking sin among staff and fans or followers that claim to be “Of one mind” with you is a bitter error that will wound a body of believers. Of course, this must be done in love and that takes a relationship to be Agape Love & built on. Splits over race, hate, social issues, politics, and war have divided the many divisions into clicks or social clubs for the “Church going fan” as Francis Chan calls them, “Fans on gameday” Mere belief is not good enough to motivate fans to obedience by overcoming fear, ego, tradition, superstition or religion. Unless you are nailed to the cross, fixing to die, Jesus has somethings he wants you to do in his plan before you pass. We are all at some place where God still wants us. He has not brought you or me this far to destroy us. Where are you with the 50+- commands? This is the sin of the tithe. (nothing wrong with giving whatever you want) The tithe gives the affluent a charity and write off, supports their “Church” and affirms their lifestyle. The tithe adds a burden to the poor by placing a middleman of staff or albatross of the building between the gift and the person needing the blessing. The tithe limits the blessings and says you don’t want to know just spend it. Many times I saw the poor of our “Church” go without staples for their family to give the tithe to support wealthy staff plus give gifts to poorer families, while richer members gave to many things in great benevolence or were misers in their hearts. Either way a man can not out give God but the health, wealth and happy daze here and now is another Bravo Sierra. The Ekklesia of Jesus gives and shares within the Church and to other like-minded brothers and sisters. Read what Jesus said about the widow. Read how many times Jesus says he will judge the “Ekklesia” by works or deeds in the letters to the Churches. Revelations to John by Jesus. Jesus loves your kidney too! Have you read https://www.biblestudytools.com/revelation/2-23-compare.html about what God does with the “Reins of the heart”?
I was impossible with learning Greek but learned enough to understand a Greek New Testament translation and tools to do just that one thing. Translate the original author’s writings as far back as we can reach, and that is way back now days compared to the information available to the printers KJV of 1611. Today we have zillions of pages of the documents the followers of Jesus wrote during the period of pre 70 AD fall of Isreal’s Temple never to rise and the beginning of controversy, contradiction with traditions, post apostle councils and the man-made doctrine as the social political and religious world mixed in the East/West of the Medditerain Empires. I have stopped giving much weight to any writing of men or angels after 125-150 CE/AD. I give no weight or any due to doctrine, rules, rituals, reverends, cardinals, Arch anything other than God’s own Holy Arch Angels, Bishops of rank above a servant, Popes, Kings of earth in God’s laws only if man’s law is contrary, Buildings that masquerade as God’s house while the hungry are cold, babies are murdered, women and children that have dedicated their lives to God are molested by the shepherds of the flock, they trusted, and these wolves are protected by the “Pontificus Maximus” from man’s law.
Where this study has taken me is to my roots. The core belief that I need a mediator, a savior as powerful as the God of the old testament, the “IAM” of the burning bush. Only Jesus claims to be the only Way, the Truth and the Life.
We obey for the same reason as our service because we love Him who saves us. Jesus said ” He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. ” John14
If you want to talk about the early church, the Way, the Love of Jesus and care of the least of these, love our neighbors or forgiving our enemies. We are here for you. Any donation you have to help the “Least of These” can be shared with our favorite ministry Jesus Place innercity mission, Atlanta. We personally are blessed as we always have been by a loving God in his grace and mercy and accept no donation for our use. Jesus Place is worthy of your treasure.