Roadkill Seminary

“The Weakest Link” in Becoming One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church

Link5After working with ministry leaders over the last 30 years I believe that we must address the “weakest link” in our efforts to see the prayer of Jesus for us becoming “One” in our communities. If the Gospel of the kingdom is to become a functional reality we need the courage to recognize and repair this weak link. It’s not the theological differences one might suspect that separate us. It’s something more difficult to recognize and deal with.

Before we get to the number one weakest link, let’s look at what some leading thinkers commonly consider are the top five. Stating with number 5…

Number #5 – Kingdom Ignorance

There is still considerable ignorance about the Gospel of the Kingdom in most Christian communities. Local pastors building their kingdom in Jesus’ name, still has a monopoly on how most of us do “church”. The Gospel of salvation rules most mindsets, yet Jesus preached and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom everywhere He went. The Church tells people how to get a ticket to heaven but not much about how to live beyond church life in the very communities in which they live. The fact that most ministry organizations don’t teach their disciples how to work with the different parts of the Body of Christ is an indicator that they don’t understand how to live Kingdom life themselves. No wonder we haven’t shown the way. Many believers are still stuck in the grooves that their first teachers and their denominational networks emphasized. These tutors should have prepared believers for life in Christ’s Kingdom, but regrettably these organizations gave them hitching posts instead of guide posts.

Number #4 – Structural Idolatry

It is one thing to finally accept the Kingdom vision for the world as set forth by the Scriptures, but it is another thing to insist we should unite believers using the Old Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Anglican or Episcopalian ecclesiastical structures. The same holds true for the new breed of leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation who believe we need to go back further in history and use the original template of the first century. We must appreciate the old and the new. That way the wine and the wine skin are both preserved. Our seminaries and denominational networks have a vested interest in promoting “their” franchise and have done a poor job explaining how the other parts of the Body of Christ are to interact. That’s why I wrote “Working Together For Jesus”. The Kingdom of God is a work made without human hands; God is supernatural and we need discerning eyes to recognize how He is supernaturally weaving His tapestry together.

Number #3 – The “Anti-Denomination Denomination” Syndrome

Sadly, some of the most elitist, isolationistic, reclusive and independent believers and ministries are being led by “pastors”, “bishops”, “apostles” and “prophets” who claim they are uniting the “true” Body of Christ under the banner of the Kingdom of God. Many are unaware they are operating in the same sectarian spirit they criticize in traditional churches. This is known as “anointed self-deception” where we believe the part we have from God is “the” most important thing God is doing.Link An important litmus test to determine if you or your ministry is free from this deception is to ask; “Does your ministry and its leader(s) actively pursue and develop, year in and year out, relationships with other ministries and leaders in your community?”  I emphasize doing it “over time” because we have a Scriptural mandate that we can’t give a try and then give up on because it’s difficult. I emphasize “your” community because it’s easy to preach among your network but forsake the community where you live. Ironically we end up becoming an unhealthy ministry, a “tumor-ministry”. Remember, a tumor is a group of cells that grows unto itself without regard for the rest of the body. In fact it sucks the life out of the host Body causing death if left unchecked. Jesus said by our love for one another would we prove we are His disciples. Therefore the world needs to see our love for each other demonstrated in our community.

A friend reminded me that the very nature of apostolic and prophetic ministry to blaze new trails and expand the borders of the King’s domain into enemy territory requires a bold and a courageous disposition. These fearless pioneers don’t easily lend themselves to developing relationships between ministry settlers (pastors) among the people of God. Yet if these leaders don’t grow up and model these collaborative kingdom relationships, who will? We have to advance beyond platform rhetoric and be the change we want to see. The Body goes where the Head goes. It usually takes years and many broken relationships before these independent ministers realize they would do things differently if they could go back in time.

Number #2 – The “Heaven/Earth” Blindness Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most stunning blind spots we all struggle with is the inability to properly discern what the Scriptures teach us about the culture of heaven. Remember, this is essential because we are commanded to pray that earth be just like heaven. So just what is going on up there that we want down here? For starters we can stop jockeying for the head position in our communities because the “head” position is clearly filled by Jesus Himself. In heaven, everyone with a title or crown of achievement throws it at the feet of Jesus with their face on the ground. When was the last time you saw that spirit among leaders down here? In heaven, everyone is so grateful, so overwhelmed by the fact they are allowed to be in His presence; there is no envy or jealousy in anyone’s heart. Worship explodes from the redeemed; there is no critical commentary and sectarianism. Finally, we know Jesus rules His kingdom with clarity and perfect order. The confusion and disunity down here reveals many of our leaders are not truly receiving from heaven’s broadcast. Another similar excuse people give for not working together is the “untruth”… “We will never get along until Jesus comes back”. Well if that’s truth then why did Jesus tell us to pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done here on earth”? Are we suppose to obey the command or shrink back because it’s too expensive for us?

This leads us to the question…”What is the number one weakest link to one holy catholic apostolic church?” The Weakest Link is…

Number # 1 – The Psychology of Our Theology

The number one weakest link to becoming one holy catholic apostolic church is our spiritual and emotional immaturity. Yes it’s that simple. Like self-absorbed siblings who cannot seem to get along with one another, we have need of maturity. Once we don’t get the attention or honor we think we deserve or our feelings get hurt, we usually take our ball and bat and go home; and the joining and connecting of the Body of Christ is often postponed, if not abandoned all together. We often unconsciously hide our immature selves behind the facade of commitment to sound doctrine or our critical appraisals of other believers. Instead of seeing kingdom transformation we are left with advancing a narrative that justifies entrenchment and the status quo. Each believer does their best to carry on doing their own thing, but the grace God releases through the “joints” (the parts that meet together) remains missing. Regrettably the Church remains disjointed and anemic. We often run back to our individual studies and redouble our efforts to explain our point of view. We write a new book, start a Bible School, create a new website, a blog, etc. When all that is needed is an apology, a humbler heart, a teachable spirit, a phone call and a sober recognition we truly need each other. In other words, more of us need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ.

I have seen it happen time after time. Misunderstanding and confusion over another leader’s gifting and level of maturity. One Christian leader offends another by some cultural insensitivity or a believer over-emphasizes some doctrinal position because their identity, their sense of significance or their income is tied up in its uniqueness. I was standing in the parking lot during one of our ministers meetings, when one apostolic leader said, “We are 40 years away from seeing the Church get it right”. He was referring to another leader in the meeting who was basically using his title, to control the people in His ministry, so no one would ever challenge his authority. I told him; “As long as we were having this discussion outside and not with him, he was right, it may take another 40 years; but why don’t we go talk to him right now?” He didn’t seem to want to engage in this kind of dialogue. The emotional and psychological minefield was apparently too scary for him to step into. It is difficult getting real and being real with other humans.

This illustrates why we are not addressing the weakest link. It is expensive tackling these emotional-maturity issues. Just seeing Jesus suspended between heaven and earth speaks to the cost of reconciling two parties who are separated. But this is what we must do. All of our preaching; all of our conferences and seminars will fill our heads with information; but if we don’t deal with our inner heart issues we will be nothing more than a lot of intelligent people consistently coming to the wrong conclusions. Sadly, that sounds like Washington DC; doesn’t it? For those wanting the character and culture of heaven flowing through your life and ministry but have felt stuck where you are at, we wrote “Roadkill Seminary”, “The Inner Journey” and “Working Together For Jesus” just for you. You don’t have to wait 40 years to be the answer to the prayer Jesus prayed. Welcome to the Movement!

Finishing Well…Will You?

Finishing Well

Are you aware of the various stages we humans will experience during our life? How well are you dealing with the “process items” you are facing in each phase in your life? Do you plan on finishing your life well or are you just trying to make it through today? Dr. J. Robert Clinton’s book “The Making of a Leader” has some tremendous insights on this subject. Also my books may help as well.

“The Inner Journey”

“Roadkill Seminary”

“Working Together For Jesus”

3 Blind Men, An Elephant and “Big Theology”

ElephantPerhaps one of the biggest reoccurring blind spots we Christians deal with is the certainty we have about the part of God that we do understand. We sometimes insist on forcing the Scriptures to fit the worldview given to us by our “first” teachers. We end up reading what we believe instead of believing what we read in the Bible.

In my book “Roadkill Seminary” I state that we ironically have to be delivered from our commitment to our brand of the Christian religion in order to more fully discover the person of Jesus Christ. This realization often only comes through prolonged and difficult trials of the soul.

In my book “Working Together For Jesus” I have a chapter called “Anointed Self-Deception” where I detail this blindness to see things as they really are. Several biblical characters were infected with this short-sightedness. They were so sure the part they had from God was “THE” part that they ended up in “anointed self-deception”. The obvious ones were Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18; Peter in Matthew 17:4; and John in the book of Revelation 19:10 and 22:9. These all made incorrect statements and assumptions in the midst of awesome anointed events as they were serving the Lord.

Let’s look at some of the common areas where we get hung up.

Eschatology – Preterists, Amillennialists, Futurists and Dispensationalists work very hard to fit their view of the End-times into a systematic grid, but fair-minded observers note they can’t fit everything they believe into an error free narrative. I’m sorry if I am popping your theological bubble here but each point of view has to fill in certain passages of scripture with speculation, conjecture and hypothesis. Of course they are fine with doing that but they often won’t allow the other guys the same latitude with their narrative. See “Who’s Right About The End Times”.

Freewill – Calvinism and Arminianism represent the age-old Church debate about whether man truly has freewill or does God’s providence override it. Both points of view can be found in Scripture so what is a person to do? Well some people choose a camp and will mercilessly squash anybody who tries to tell them differently. Frank Viola brings some clarity to the debate with his article “Why Calvinists Live Like Arminians & Arminians Pray Like Calvinists” http://frankviola.org/2012/05/24/calvinismarminianism/

Law and Grace – Perhaps nothing has Christians arguing more today than how we should decide the correct application of God’s Law -judgment and His Grace-mercy. In my book “The Inner Journey” I attempt to remind us all of the Biblical illustration the Lord gives us in His Tabernacle. His Law is written in stone so no theologian can erase His holy standard; yet He keeps the stone tablets in a box covered with His own blood so no theologian can suggest any of us are unredeemable. I still see both Law and Grace alive and active in our day. Its in these in-between places where God speaks with us about everything. Sadly the old adage; “the devil is in the details” may never be more true than here. My article “In the Year 2023” may help the discussion between those who emphasize Law and those who emphasize Grace.

Politics – Conservatives and Liberals approach to the Scriptures from the opposite emphasis of righteousness and justice, see Psalm 89:14. One focuses on our vertical relationship with God and His righteousness, the other focuses on our horizontal relationship within society and His justice. In my book “A Better Way To Govern” I discuss how seeing the bigger picture here gives us the grace to overcome the caustic rhetoric that eats away at the solutions we all so desperately need. This doesn’t help television or talk radio ratings but it will change our world for the better.

The News – The George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin story that we here in Sanford were so involved with presents another illustration. Some of my liberal friends post only the articles that make George Zimmerman look like an untrustworthy racist and some of my conservative friends will only post articles that make Trayvon Martin look like a no good thug. They each seem incapable or unwilling to acknowledge the other point of view. Are we capable of a better way? My article on “Choosing Between Jesus or Barabbas” helps us recognize what spirit we are operating in when trying to address entrenched problems in our communities.

I’m not faulting anybody with a belief system they support. They are doing the best they know how from their point of view. However we forget that a point of view is just that, a view from a point. I do think we need to aware that when we are hell-bent on making things fit our point of view we can contort the heart of the Scriptures to make them fit our presuppositions. Some of us do so much Scripture twisting we make an Olympic Gymnast look arthritic.

In the end I keep noticing that each point of view falls short if left in isolation to the others. I like Psalm 119:160 where it says; the sum or the entirety of Your Word is truth. It’s when all the pieces are considered together, do we begin to see the big picture more accurately. Its not your way or my way, its Yahweh Who needs to be our focus.

Three Blind Men and An Elephant

I think many of us have heard some version of the story of the blind men and the elephant. One was holding his tail and described it as a rope. The other held its trunk and described it as a tree. The other held its ear said it was like a leaf. They were all partly right but totally wrong. Sometimes we do the same describing God. Our initial observations are correct but our conclusions often misrepresent the bigness of God and His purposes.

When people ask me what theological camp I embrace, I tell them I embrace a belief system that I call “Big Theology”.

What is Big Theology?

Big GodB – God is Big – This should go without saying but as we try to define God or a particular aspect of God we may inadvertently make God small. In an effort to be exact, we can become myopic. We exchange the micro for the macro. We miss the forest because of the trees. We end up making God smaller and easier to handle for our convenience. We forget He exists and works from several extra-dimensions and to make Him fit into our worldview is like explaining the internet to the ants in your back yard. A little perspective here may be just the dose of humility we all need.

I – God is Inviting – The apparent Biblical contradictions (called the principle of antinomy) between doctrines and groups within the Body of Christ are put there by divine providence. Dr Stephen Crosby points out in “Authority, Accountability and the Apostolic Movement” that it is the very polar opposite positions we spoke of earlier that creates a magnetic field that draws objects into its space. They make us look into the mystery. Neither the Scriptural contradictions nor the skeptics should discourage us from pressing in. The dichotomies and contradictions in Scripture and in our society should draw us in to find where God is in the mix. There should be a magnetic attraction moving our hearts to look deeper into the mystery before us. Jesus didn’t speak parables and mysteries to keep truth “from” us but to keep truth “for” us. It is only those who have a royal seekers heart that are deemed worthy of receiving these precious kingdom truths in the first place.

G – God is Glorious – If we study the Scriptures with an open and humble heart the fruit will be wonderment and amazement. God is like the ocean; you can play in the water ankle-deep but if you are willing to relinquish control you can go deep! When we see Emmanuel in the manual we are swept away in awe and beauty. The glorious revelation of Him causes us to worship. That is why Jesus said we worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Theology is the child of worship. Revelation of Him should transform us into His image, not into the image of our particular denomination outlet or network. God is dynamic. He never changes but He is always moving. Beware of religious rigor mortis. That which is static is often dead. He is not the scaffolding used to build the building. He is more than our doctrines and opinions. He is not the wrapping paper or the box the gift comes in. He is so much more than that. He is “BIG”.

Jesus Wore a Crown of Thorns and So Will We

CrownIf this is the first time for a believer to go through a crushing period it can be very disconcerting. Often it causes them to doubt the validity of Christianity. Up to this point the Christian has only known the academics of the Faith; but once the actual process of testing begins it can be overwhelming. Since the spiritual diet in many Churches in America is mostly focused on the “sweet parts” of the Bible, the average believer is unprepared to face the trials all of God’s servants encountered in the Bible.

Can you imagine the mind games David must have battled as he was running from Saul’s attacks? Where was God during this time? Did David wonder if the prophet Samuel misheard God when he prophesied he would be the next king? What about young Joseph when he was languishing in an Egyptian prison; didn’t God show him something different in his dreams? What about Paul being regularly beaten and imprisoned for simply preaching great sermons? The mental anguish they faced must have been immeasurable.

This is where our “intellectual veil” is torn and greater access to spiritual perception and authority opens up to us. Up to this point our Christianity has been more about the adherence to the Christian religion. Now we become truly desperate for the person of God. When our formulas and memorized Scriptures don’t alleviate the torment, all we have left is God. This isn’t a loss for the believer; it is sweet deliverance from the “exalted intellect” we were cursed with during the Fall of Man. Yes this is painful, but it is God’s way of setting us free from dependence on our soul’s ability to figure things out. Through death of self we are set free.

Remember, Jesus wore a crown of thorns and so must you and I if we are going to take up our cross and follow His will for our lives. The Bible says that the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus’ head. When we are breaking out of our dead religion or lifeless rituals, the battle to keep us in a form of godliness yet denying the power will be intense. As we wear our crown of thorns, many painful and sharp thoughts will “jab” into our head, our mind as well.

These fearful thoughts will also be twisted around other legitimate thoughts making it difficult to separate them in order to make sense of them. Internal arguments arise such as; “Is this God’s will for me? Why is this stuff happening? Is this a lack of faith on my part? Should I have done something different? Do I have sin in my life? Maybe I missed God? Should I be rebuking the devil or submitting to this process?” These thoughts are so twisted together that it is difficult to unravel them to see which ones are valid and apply to your situation.

We know the mental anguish Jesus suffered must have been unbearable because He actually sweat blood. We remember that Jesus was crucified at the place called “The Skull”… and this is where the battle of our lives takes place as well. The good news is Jesus wore His crown of thorns to enable us to overcome the flesh and the mind games the devil throws at us as we wear ours. This is where we identify with Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings.

It is awesome to realize how deep and strong Jesus’ love for God and for us truly is. His love enabled Him to keep His mind subject to the will of God even during the anguish of the garden and the horror of crucifixion. We must not forget the Lord Jesus stated plainly that if we are going to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross (the instrument and circumstances of our death) and then follow Him. This is serious business for the follower of Christ!

Over the last several years I’ve met many Christians who were going through this breaking. When they went to their bishop, apostle, pastor or elder for support they often discovered that these leaders had no idea what they were going through. There are many in Christian ministry today who rule by their own ability and political maneuvering who simply don’t understand this process. They are really no different from the person on Wall Street or Madison Avenue trying to get ahead at any cost. When a “budding” David or a young Joseph with vision asks for help from someone in leadership, they are often misunderstood, ridiculed or even rebuked, instead of offered any encouragement.

When God is taking us through Roadkill Seminary, those in positions of authority who dropped out of God’s School will see us as strange or even a threat. Get ready to duck, because there is a good chance a spear is headed our way, or watch out, our brothers might be ready to throw us into a pit! Be of good cheer, they are also part of the curriculum.

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

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Does Everyone Need to Attend Roadkill Seminary?

RKS 3As we stated before it is not the intention to discourage anyone from serving the Lord Jesus in any capacity. We are addressing the need to encourage those who are being prepared for maturity and fruitfulness. If we were to ask a plant what they thought or how they felt during pruning time, the plant might scream, “someone is trying to kill me!” However, after the seasons go by, the pruning makes more sense. This material is meant to help explain and encourage every believer as they get pruned.

When asked if everyone must go through RKS, I must respond with, “Yes, if you are following in Jesus Christ’s footsteps.” Every believer spends time at RKS sometime in their life. Our school enrollment papers are signed; our tuition has been paid; and the registration desk is waiting for us to officially sign in. Maybe we won’t experience the same depth of suffering as the next guy. However, whatever it takes for us to be pliable in the Master’s hands will come to bear on our life. Is every one of us called to the kind of wilderness experience of a Joseph, Moses or David and Paul? Perhaps not. However I believe every believer is called to advance the kingdom of God in some way with the one life they have been given by the Lord.

To do this we must undergo the preparation of the Lord at Roadkill Seminary. We cannot do this in our strength. It’s not by might; It’s not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord, Zechariah 4:6. The way to discover and walk in His Spirit is to remove the obstacle of your old nature and our fleshy efforts; only then can we be used of God to remove the demonic strongholds in our world. At RKS we will be truly liberated from us, and then we will be empowered to minister at a level that truly displaces the enemy.

Finally, let me remind all of us that we have “The message” to tell the world, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we also each have “a testimony” of what God has worked in our lives. We discover our message while studying at Roadkill Seminary. That is why the Bible says in Revelations 12:11. We overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb (that’s the simple Gospel), and the word of our testimony (that’s our story), loving not our lives unto death (that’s Roadkill Seminary).

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary

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Self Sacrifice VS Sacrifice of Self

Pic 1A very important distinction is discovered when someone takes classes at RKS, and that is the difference between Self Sacrifice and Sacrifice of Self. We are often ignorant of this difference until one is met with the cold shoulder of heaven. Just as Cain and Abel both sacrificed to God, one offering was acceptable and the other was not. Abel’s sacrifice received some kind of validation; Cain’s did not. Why did God favor one but not the other. What is God trying to tell us in this story in the very beginning of the Bible? Remember, this is the first act of worship or ministry recorded in the Bible. This is also where the first murder is recorded, which was over how to properly worship God. This is an extremely important foundational truth for us to understand. Abel’s offering was a forward-looking type of Christ’s shed blood. This story points to a right and wrong way of thinking about how we worship or serve God.

We can begin to see the difference between the right and wrong way by discerning the difference between self-sacrifice and sacrifice of self. Self Sacrifice is when we give up the things we want to give up, the way we want to give them up, when we want to give them up. We are in control during the entire process. This is nothing more than the works of the flesh disguised as religious sacrifice. Sacrifice of Self is when we put our entire being on the altar of God; we allow Him to show us what He wants us to sacrifice, the way He wants us to do it, when He wants us to do it. We are dead to our choice in the matter. Instead of offering things to God we are actually offering ourselves, our very souls to Him, and we are what He is after. We often fall into the religious delusion that God wants us to sacrifice stuff, when He actually wants us to sacrifice self. It usually takes years before the typical believer discerns the difference. One results in dead religion, the other in life-giving Christianity. Oswald Chambers wrote along this line:

“It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call or a word from God, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide.”

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

To get your Paperback copy click here

To get your E-Book copy click here