Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Some Thoughts on the End Times – Part 1

Posted by undergroundchurch on October 1, 2009

I might as well do what everybody else seems to do and give a quick thought [teaching] on the End Times.

However, you probably won’t find this quite is comfortable sounding as the Sunday morning version.

Most End Time teaching basically follow this format.

  • The End Comes
  • The Church is Raptured
  • All chaos errupts
  • Jesus comes with all the believers and reigns a 1000 years
  • Final judgement
  • Everyone designated for Hell go there, those designated for Heaven, go there

I may have left out some detail, but you get the gist.

The biggest problem I personally have with this format is that

  1. It isn’t exactly a healthy and accurate assessement and
  2. It gives a false sense that the Church is not going to experience trouble

I call this Sunday morning approach the “Escapist Syndrome

Basically, the Book of Revelation is approached as a letter for those who are left behind.  What I find strange about that is that a large portion of the church teaching that I hear around the nation is on a subject that, according to the syndrome, doesn’t even apply to them.

2 Thessalonian 2:3 and 1 Timothy 4:1 along with other scriptures, speak of a “falling away” in the last days. This has to be about believers, because non-believers can’t fall away by definition. I have always thought that apathy would be the culprit, which may still be the case.  But I fear that there is going to be another unintended consequence to current teaching that will cause many to flee the faith.

There is a phobia, I believe, in pulpits to talk about bad things.  Blessings and prosperity, God’s best for your life, God loves you, all have their place, but we are inundated by an unhealthy amount of rose petal teaching. Even roses, though, have thorns, and the teachings of Jesus, Paul, James, and John do a much better job painting reality and have a much more balanced approach to understanding the end times than we American Christians pocesses.

The Right Balance

Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” – Mark 4:16 and 17

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-40

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:9-13

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. – John 15:20

And I could go on and on.

I think that church leaders fear that if the truth of persecution, the reality of hard times, and the fate of being hated as Jesus was hated were preached from a pulpit, they wouldn’t fill the chairs on a Sunday morning, but I think that the greater disservice is not telling followers of Christ the truth.  Tough times are coming! The church in America will be one day like the church in China and North Korea having to hide their $10,000 signs and abandon the $20 million buildings.  It is only a matter of time.

But in it all, no matter what happens, Jesus prepared us for this inevitable outcome.  All the prayer in the world, though it may delay it, will not stop it because it is part of the Plan of God.

I will end this part with what I consider to be the problem facing the future church because of the methodology of church teaching today.

The falling away will most likely come from Christians who have succumbed to the escapism syndrome and when the persecution in American and other “free nations” comes, they will ask the question,

Why? Why didn’t you tell me?  Why did you get my hopes up?  Why didn’t you prepare me?”

And they simply won’t have the strength to stand up under the pressure because they will feel betrayed and misled.  They will think that Jesus is not ever coming back because they never thought they’d be thrown into a prison in America just because they gathered with like believers.  The concerns of their world will outweigh their perceived need for a savior.

They thought is was all about prosperity and glory, but will find that the reality of the coming of the Son of Man will be like the birth of a child.  It will be painful while the child prepares to arrive, but the joy for those that endure to the end will be like holding that little baby in the arms.  All the pain in the birthing process will quickly fade in the joy of a new life with Christ forever.


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Spiritual Power Tools – The Tongue

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 14, 2009

Previous post

You know what the most powerful tool in the possession of the human is? It’s the tongue.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the tongue, pound for pound is the strongest muscle in the body. God is very concerned that we learn to control it, because he calls it the least controllable part of the human body.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. (James 3:5-10)

Can’t really add much more to James’ statement. The tongue is a powerful force to be controlled for sure.

The tongue can also be a powerful force of good.  It is a spiritual weapon that makes a connection from you to the spirit world.  Think about it.  With the tongue, you speak words of prayer and talk with the creator of the universe.  It is your direct connect to God.

Beyond prayer though, the tongue can be a power force of victory in your life.

The Tongue Used as a Source of blessing.

Blessing is a spiritual force that is activated through the power of the tongue.  The blessing is so powerful in fact, that the list of people in Hebrews 11 with “great faith” contains two people only recorded because they blessed their children (Issac and Jacob).

In fact, after the flood, Noah blessed two sons and cursed one and the power of those blessings and curses lives on today.

The Tongue Used in the Power of Confession

Confession is the power of release.  When you confess your sins at salvation, you are freed from sin.  When you confess your sins to one another, you free yourself of guilt and chains of bondage and restore relationships.

Confession to one another does three things:

  1. It opens up an avenue of accountability to one another.
  2. It brings into the light sins that are hidden.  (Satan works in the dark, and when you expose your sin, it can’t fester as well.)
  3. It heals.  When you confess a sin you committed against someone to that person, you work toward rebuilding that relationship.

Remember though, that only God can forgive sins.  Only the person you sin against has the power to forgive you of that sin.  Only God can forgive sins against him.

There are many evils that come from the power of the tongue – gossip, slander, malice, cursing, hate, envy, etc.  They are all powerful and must be contained.  So instead of allowing the tongue to destroy, learn how to use it for good through confession and blessing, through prayer and worship, through teaching and loving.

Most of our problems begin and end with the tongue.  It might just prove best if they never start there in the first place.

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Happy Cloak Sunday!!!

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 6, 2009

Today is Palm Sunday – a day I like to call “cloak Sunday”.  You see, only one passage said anything about palms, but three of the gospels talk about people laying down their clothes.

Why is this significant?  When you lay down your clothes, you expose your nakedness.  I’m sure that most if not all weren’t totally naked that day, but it sets in motion a principle. 

They were making Jesus King that day in fulfillment of Scripture.  They were hoping to make Him king of the land, but He was just seeking to be king of their hearts.  Either way, a sign of submission to the king was to “expose” yourself for who you are.  The servant slaves of the house wore the least amount of closes.  They were signified in an undignified fashion.  They would rip their own clothes off to provide for the master of the house if needed.

The people were giving themselves wholly to Jesus that day.  Granted, it only lasted 3 days, but that day signified – we are your servants, do with us as you will. 

Everyday in the Christian’s life, we should celebrate this underlining principle of Cloak Sunday.  We should cast aside our pride, our own covering and glory for the King of glory.  We should submit whole heatedly.  We should not change our minds three days later as they did, but make Jesus the true king of our lives.

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The UnderGround Church

Posted by undergroundchurch on March 18, 2009

The title, “UnderGround Church” may sound a bit separatist, but the truth be told, it is a somewhat prophetic attempt to describe a future look at the church – especially the church in America and bring helpful preparatory training, teaching and instruction on how the church can be instrumental in it’s main mission, even when the form in which we do church today is gone.

Admittedly, some may call me alarmist and ignore the whole idea that the way we do church today is going to change, but Jesus was quite plain in His teaching that it would get worse not better before His return. Even if you are of the belief that the book of Revelation is not written as a guide book for the Christian to endure the coming events but is a simply a prophetic book of events that don’t effect you, you need to know and be prepared that the days will grow darker to the point that the church may be the last bastion of light in a world consumed by selfishness, greed, sin and godlessness.

Consider the times leading up to the flood, where the only light in a world of millions were eight members of a family that trusted God by doing what everybody around them called foolish. The world couldn’t see what God was doing because they lost their ears to hear what God was saying.

Consider a wandering Israelite people that had the opportunity to make a short two or three week Journey to the promised land, but found out that when you can’t hear what God is saying, your trip can hit a roadblock that will leave you roaming a desert for 40 years.

And who can forget that those same people almost 1500 years later rejected again God’s voice to the point where Jesus actually held that generation accountable for not recognizing the signs of His coming.

In fact, if you ask a believer what Jesus favorite saying in all of Scripture was, they’d probably be surprised to find out that it is a simple one, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear”.

The message of the Cross never changes, but the conditions under which it is delivered are in a constant state of flux.  The first and second century church thought that their generation was the last generation solely on the conditions in which they existed.  Lions, crucifixion, human torches and other oppression from human governments are a far cry from the worst an American Christian has to put up with.  Come to think of it, I can’t even think of anything in America that would correspond.

Sooner rather than later, this is going to change.  I don’t know when, and I can’t say exactly how, but there is no doubt that the conditions in which the church operates and the method in which it functions will both be changed.  There are a load of consequences to these changes, and though they may seem to be negative at the surface, they are most assuredly good primarily because they are orchestrated by God.

The UnderGround Church is the time when once again the “catacomb” will become the building, the “rocks” will become the pulpit and the “candle” will replace the chandelier.  However, be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world.  It will not last, and the theme of the early church – hope will be redefined to its original intent and the church will be a powerhouse like it has never been.

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