Journey to Micro Church – #4

harney-peak-jpeg There were a few things driving me from our modern Church system. One: The complex and business like nature it had become. I was looking for the simplicity of Christ, not complexity. Jesus was simple and deep, not complex and shallow, and so should his Church be. But most Churches today are completely “program” oriented, rather than the simplicity of flowing in the Holy Spirit.

Two: Along with the business like system, came a constant need for money. Somehow pastors were no longer living by faith and love offerings, as the early church did, but built mansions, ate expensive meals, drove luxury cars, fine clothes, had 401k, retirement funds, investments, and all while preaching about the one who taught us to be nonmaterialistic and help others. These big Churches were money hungry machines teaching a different Jesus than the Apostle Paul taught! (II Cor. 11:3-6)

Third: Jesus shifted us away from stone cold temples to the family warmth of tables in homes. He sat and ate with sinners. He got thrown out of temples. He showed us a Church “family”, not a congregation. But Rome and Constantine took us back into those cold temples, not Jesus, or the Apostles, or the early Church fathers of the first 300 years!

I could make quite a list of reasons, actually. The stage platforms, all the shish, boom, bah, and hype. Manipulation. Etc, etc. But so much of it seems to come back to the ego and pride of man, and a love for money, though they deny all this.

Black Elk experienced this first-hand in his day. Let me continue a couple of his quotes, and it will be very obvious what I’m referring to.

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Black Elk > “But if the vision was true and mighty, as I know, it is true and mighty yet; for such things are of the spirit, and it is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost.” (Black Elk Speaks – Chapter One).

(Black Elk Speaks – Chapter Seven) > “Afterward I learned that it was Pahuska (General Custer) who had led his soldiers into the Black Hills that summer to see what he could find. He had no right to be in there, because all that country was ours. Also the Wasichus (basically referring to the white man) had made a treaty with Red Cloud (1868) which said it would be ours as long as the grass should grow and water flow. Later I learned too that Pahuska had found there much of the yellow metal that makes the Wasichus crazy; and that is what made the bad trouble, just as it did before, when the hundred were rubbed out.”

It is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost. I love the way he says that. And the yellow metal that makes the white man crazy! Indeed, indeed. Some things never change, but it ought not be so in the family of God!

The love of money. Ego and money are such temptations for man. I spoke to a lady the other day, who has struggled all her life to keep bills paid, while her Pastor is currently building himself a mansion; complete with vaulted ceilings, spiral staircase, a lake right out the patio doors, I mean really really nice. I asked her what she thought of this? She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh well.”

The old story of the King who thought he was wearing fine clothes, but was actually walking around naked, but no one would say anything, because of whatever reasons they may have had, until a young boy asked too loudly, “Why is the King walking around naked?” And the crowd was shocked!

These are a few of the reasons I left and simply went to God’s word in my Bible and began seeking simple truth. It’s there! And early Church fathers verify it all in early records written, and so much more! The fork of the road leading to the Dark Ages is there! And we are repeating much of history today, but for some reason, few there be who are willing to point out the naked king and offer real solutions.

This was all part of my early journey as I sought God in the Black Hills. That book came home with me, from South Dakota to Indiana. I was amazed at the greed, the love of money, the needless slaughter of the bison, the Indian’s food! For the love of money! And I see that same ugliness in our modern religious system! And we shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh well?” I can no longer do that.

I hadn’t been home long when God led me to download 5,000 pages of early Church history and begin my studies. How enlightening it was. Men like Polycarp, disciple of the Apostle John. And events that were taking place at that time. Decisions being made. The path to the Dark Ages, but not till 300 AD!

So how did we stray from a Church that turned the world upside down, to a Church acting like the Roman Empire?! Hhmmm. Well…you can bet pride, power, and money had a lot to do with it. Few there be who was pointing out the naked king, and those who were, were not of the popular opinion, but time certainly proved them right. Those who had wisdom, those who spoke the obvious truth, those who were right, were ignored and pushed aside, their voices silenced!

But today…the Internet…easy access to information, books, historical records… podcasting… the truth is getting out there… knowledge is spreading… some are asking about the naked kings… a revival is building, but not in the big Church buildings. This modern system is too much like a copy of the world. It has become a millstone around our neck showing the world a different Jesus. Not the one who walked Jerusalem in the day, and died on a bloody cross, without a place to even be buried.

Yes, much of what an old Indian before my time had to say, speaks to me. God surprised me with that. Black Elk speaks, and so does God! Of the seven Churches of Revelation, are we Smyrna or Laodicea? The answer seems obvious to me, but not to those still applauding naked kings. It’s time to awaken, light your lamps, and see if your light is true, or dies? When was the last time you got away from all the rat race and shish-boom-bah, and went out somewhere “simple”, alone with God, and heard his “whispers”? This is where my journey to Micro Church began, though at the time, I had no idea.

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“Yinney” – Chapter 11

download (2) With all the rich color of her blue feathers, and the bright yellow around the eyes and beak, Lu-Lu had suddenly landed upon a limb of Yinney’s 7th Day Tree.

“So this is it!” she declared. “This is where my favorite sloth will center his life.”

“Yup,” he affirmed. “This is it. And look! I have a lagoon!”

“I see that. What an awesome place you have found. This truly is a wonderful spot.”

“Thank you. I am very happy indeed. Go ahead and take a look around. I have not been to the top yet. I might do that today.”

Yinney knew Lu-Lu could check out his tree on her own and save him the energy. She quickly jumped from this limb to that, as he watched with amusement. Could she really appreciate every fine detail of this special tree, as she moved so quickly, he wondered? He watched her turning her head when she studied the lagoon below.

“Hhmmm, very interesting!” she declared, and then flew to the uttermost top branch of his tree, to look about. After a hard look, she returned.

“Well, what did you see up there?”

“I saw the smoke has not reached this area yet. Even from your highest branch, it still cannot be seen.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, “What smoke? Is there a fire?”

“Oh, there is a fire alright, but not the kind we think of. A fire burning in the belly of man. Since we last talked I flew towards the east and checked on the road man is attempting to build through the Amazon.”

“What?” Yinney asked, and then slowly blinked three times before saying, “A road!”

“Yes, can you believe it? A road in the Amazon jungle? But don’t laugh, they are doing it. Its been a major challenge, and progress is fraught with set-backs, but man intends to tame this jungle for his purposes. Their machines belch smoke, are loud, and stink. I was looking to see if you could see it from here, but your safe, for now. In other places many animals are running deeper into the jungle.”

When Lu-Lu mentioned animals on the run, Yinney realized it was part of the vision he was given at the bottom of the lagoon.

“Lu-Lu, you’re not going to believe this, but the All-Creator gave me a vision of this, while meditating at the bottom of this lagoon.”

“What?” It seemed Lu-Lu’s yellow around the eyes got bigger and brighter as she reacted to Yinney’s statement. “Wait a minute. Let me see if I understand what you’re saying. “Did you just say you meditated underwater? And you had a vision?”

“Yes.”

“You’re a strange one, Yinney, but I like you. It’s a wonder you didn’t drown! Are you crazy?”

“It’s one of the beauties of slow. I can hold my breath for a very long time. I always wanted to do this, so I did not waste any time. The very next day after finding my tree, I went into the lagoon. I found a tree settled on the bottom, and latched hold of it. I was resting down there for a while, when suddenly a voice began speaking, and I knew it was the All-Creator!”

“Wow…” Lu-Lu was still trying to imagine doing such a thing. No wonder sloths are sought after as spiritual teachers in the animal kingdom. Who else would do such things? “So what did the voice say?” she finally asked.

“Well… it’s sort of a ‘big picture’ vision. Not a lot of details were given as far as the ‘how to’ is concerned. The vision said bad things were headed this way, but this tree and lagoon would be a protected place, and animals on the run would come here. I am supposed to set this tree as a refuge and develop a special place of community and communion. It said I had three years to prepare.”

“Oh my,” the blue macaw said with worry in her eyes. She was silent for a time before finally saying, “That would seem to make sense. Three years. Yes, I can see that. With the way the jungle is fighting back against the progress of man, it could easily be that long before it affects you. So even without me telling you of these things, you would already be preparing even though you knew not what was coming?”

“Yes, the Spirit prepares us for many things, even though we don’t always have the details before it actually happens,” Yinney explained. “And there is one more thing…”

Lu-Lu waited in anticipation of what the “one more thing was”. She could tell it was something important from the way he was acting. This sloth who lived such a simple, peaceful, and slow life, centered around a particular tree and his need to poo, actually was better prepared for the future than she was, even though she flew all about with much flapping, constantly keeping an eye. What was Yinney about to reveal to her now?

“There will be a man.”

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White Wolf

“The Seven Deadly Sins and a War Path”

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The transition of Winter Soldier into White Wolf is such a picture of salvation from inner torment to inner peace! I love this little sub-story and everything it entails. Bucky was originally a freedom fighter, but after the evil empire managed to so twist his brain, he became a very tormented soul, more deadly than a rattler snake and having no sense of conscience or remorse.

The real horror of this is that Bucky was not really that kind of person. Evil had turned him into something going against everything he ever wanted to be. Even after he begins to realize the truth and make an effort to do right again, the enemy was able to enter back in, and by saying certain code words, force him against his will to still be the rattle snake! How many people do we know, perhaps even ourself, because of an addiction or whatever, the enemy has his back door access to spark the monster in us, and then the battle is on, sometimes we win, and sometimes the monster wins. We hate the thing we do and yet find we have still done it. We do not want to be the monster within, and yet we just can’t seem to forever be rid of it.

To me, these are deadly sins, because they have a hook in us and seem to take over. But there is a White Path of peace in Christ. Just like Nomad took Bucky to Wakanda. In this place they were able to deliver his soul and his mind from the evil programming, to deprogram him into an inner peace you could actually see in his eyes. He was finally free! He was finally Bucky again, except he has also spiritually evolved into something more, and now he is, White Wolf.

As the White Wolf, he finds himself still in a fight. He fights with Nomad, not against him. He fights with Black Widow, whom he had once tried to kill as Winter Soldier. He fights against what may be an unbeatable foe, and yet he fights on the side of good. He has found there is a battle you can fight, and still have inner peace, even satisfaction.

Lets look at the Seven Deadly Sins again, and discuss how they manifest in today’s culture. In the Promise Land of God’s Word, we find there is a fight. The White Path is also a War Path against the enemy of our soul and the souls of our fellow man. Thanos, and his beautiful jewels of power hold deadly attraction for a mortal soul. Here is the list we are working from: Greed, Gluttony, Envy, Slothfulness, Wrath, Pride, and Lust. Which are the ones that most haunt you?

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24

And this is the fight we fight, this body of death, not only the mortality of it, but the “curse” of a “fallen” flesh we’re still trapped in. Jesus delivers us from this death and empowers us by his Holy Spirit to overcome. Scripture says the wages of sin is death. This is the salvation Christ has bought for us through his blood, and in this “Blood Covenant” we have entered peace with God. Praise our Lord forever. And then we find it is the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and working in us towards our complete freedom, complete deliverance from slavery to sin. And in this process we also have the “Church”. In which God has given gifts: Prophets, Pastors, teachers, and so on, to equip us, and strengthen us in our spiritual walk with Christ; but what happens when too much of the snake has gotten into the Church? How does today’s Church compare to what Jesus did?

When Captain America originally rescued Winter Soldier and brought him into a safe place, supposedly. A place involving the “System”. The enemy penetrated the place. It was not safe. Winter Soldier was triggered again. From what we can tell, it was not till Nomad got Winter Soldier to Wakanda, that he was finally able to be helped, and find inner healing. In this analogy of ours, Wakanda becomes the picture of what Church is supposed to be. It is what Jesus did.

As our society becomes more and more ungodly and unbelieving, even as it was in the days of Noah, there is no safe place in our culture. Our culture has become the snake constantly trying to wrap us in its coils. God’s garden must be within us. The Kingdom of God is within us, and it must be strong enough to withstand the onslaught of a world spinning out of control in the pursuit of more and more pleasures. Eve believed the lie. Have we?

What of “Greed”, the first deadly sin in our list? It can truly be said that “money” has become the god of this world. And the love of money includes all the materialism that goes with it in its many many forms. Our country is saturated in a love of money and the pleasures and security it can “seem” to provide. Constant advertising and peer pressure telling us what we need to be happy, and what we can’t live without. Just give us your money, and we’ll hook you up. Yes, they “hook you up”, alright. Like a fish on a line.

Jesus was VERY specific when he said: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24)

Notice Jesus said two “masters“. The love of money and materialism desires to “master” us. It is one of those powerful and deadly jewels constantly surrounding us in our current culture. This subject is taboo in America, and I wonder why? Don’t touch my sacred cow! Prosperity is the right of the child of God? To be the head and not the tail?

Well…here again we see the modern church clinging to the Old Testament, when tithing was a law, and it was an “eye for an eye”, and the Armor Bearer was expected to die with King Saul rather than King David, and the Holy Spirit did not indwell them. The O.T. is where we see most of the Prosperity message, but Jesus and the Apostles lived a very different way. Try to deny it all you want, but the evidence is literally overwhelming.

I see people every day, who claim to be Christians, and they are financially prospering, but where is God? Most of them are lucky if they even still give God one day a week. These are deadly sins. They lull us into a sleep while our life is quickly passing by and we’re missing the best things while we serve another master. Never mind eternity, I want mine now.

Too many times expensive possessions does a slave make, and its’ not a slave to God. White Wolf walks a different path now. He has been transformed. He is free from Winter Soldier. The cold of his previous life is over. He has found the fulfillment of simple pleasures. What are the true treasures of life? Is not your soul, your relationships, your peace of mind, your future in heaven, this present moment and what it has to offer? Thanos and his sparkly jewels desire to rob you of all these things, and put you on a treadmill in which God is on the underside. Can you say you really “love” God as you spend all your time making the money?

Here’s a good test: How much time do you spend thinking about God and seeking him, compared to how much time you spend thinking about money in one form or another?

For our analogy, White Wolf and Wakanda has become our picture of finding our white path in Christ. We need a church family, like Bucky found a family that was finally for his good, not to simply “use” him. We are just beginning this series of the deadly sins and “Infinity War” as a parable of sorts. I’d much rather know Bucky as White Wolf, rather than Winter Soldier. And my experience with materialistic Christians have been less than satisfying too. You CANNOT serve God and money. Who’s serving who? Beware the church that seems to be all about the money.

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And so Winter Soldier becomes White Wolf, but he finds there is still a fight. In a fallen world, filled with human nature, there will always be a fight in the garden. Much more to come on Infinity War/ Eternal War and the 7 Deadly Sins.