GOD SHOWED UP! (really?)

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Have you ever heard someone say this about God?  What does that really mean? Well, this morning He displayed Himself for me…again!

Have you ever had those serendipitous meetings or those wonderfully “odd” circumstances that are unusually “weird” and it just bless your socks off?  What’s up with that?

This morning a friend showed up at church that was so unexpected and out of context that we knew it was “a God thing.”  Ann and I were truly shocked and almost speechless (ok I don’t think that’s possible for either  of us.)  We had a wonderful time of sweet fellowship, and then we left, but what’s up with this “God thing” we often hear about?

As my wife and I were reflecting on this wonderfully unexpected meeting, I was telling her how in awe I was of our Father.  You see, I began learning years ago that these pleasant circumstances was God’s way of “showing up”; of reminding us that He IS and that He is still involved in my life. Yes….the God of this universe. WOW!

We ARE in relationship with Him! It is times like this that I am swept away by the fact that HE is mindful of ME…always!  He even used this unexpected fellowship to encourage and confirm something in my life (but even this is NOT the point of this little tale).  He DOES desperately love us!!!

So, this “God thing” is actually a way for Him to say to us, “Hey there! I AM here and I’m thinking of YOU!” Let that sink in! Oh…and the cool thing is we are often blessed too.  But remember, our encouragement, blessing, good feelings is NOT the point.  It is ALL ABOUT HIM! His nature, His love, His work, His presence, His heart, etc.!!!

The challenge for us is that we’re often just not expecting to “SEE” Him show up.  I believe our Daddy is constantly demonstrating His presence in our lives, but we are often so caught up in OURSELVES that we miss HIM!!!

I challenge you TODAY to start looking for, expecting and becoming more mindful of Him…..because you are always on His heart and His mind!

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL CHRISTIANS REGARDING HYPNOSIS

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Dear ____,

Your e-mail upsets and angers me.  My feelings are NOT directed at you, but at this system of religion that has so blinded us all. You are a dear sweet sister and I know you are merely speaking from a heart of love.  Yet out of the overflow of ignorance that is out there amongst Christians, many speak out.  How can you make such strong claims if you, by your own admission, are “by no means…an authority on the subject”?  This is the type of legalistic blindness I had that led me away from pursuing a psychology and/or hypnosis at the age of 18.

Having said all this, I will answer your message point by point.  You’ll notice as I go through, that your comments/questions are based on many flawed presuppositions.

1)    “Is being under the influence of another’s suggestions, while in a hypnotic state of mind, being of sober mind?” 

Your presupposition is that the person is UNDER the influence.  This is furthest from the truth of what hypnosis is.  Hypnosis is a natural state of mind that we ALL experience at least twice a day & often many times a day.  I will define it later.  You are presupposing that the person is submitting to another’s will. NO….NO….NO!!! The client is absolutely in control at ALL times….period!  There are merely agreeing to be led by someone to their desired goal.  They are NOT under anything but rather are IN a natural AND common state of mind.

2)    In order for this kind of “therapy” to be effective must the subject/patient be willingly susceptible to suggestion?

Again, your question is presupposing that the client is “subject”.  THEY ARE NOT!!!  THEY are in control & are merely following the direction of the hypnotist or being willingly guided.  For example, just like a midwife assists the mother in the NATURAL birthing process, so do I assist someone like a “mental midwife” in the  natural process of how the mind operates, in order to “give birth” to the transformation they desire.  Also, your presupposition is flawed in that EVERYONE is “susceptible to suggestion”.  It’s not right or wrong, bad or good.  It is merely the human condition.

3)    The power of “suggestion”? Is this the way of Christ? 

Again, do you see what you are assuming???  The power of suggestion is NOT the way of Christ.  Why is that wrong or evil?  If a police officer runs in to the room & yells, “Get in the basement! There is a mad man with a machine gun!”  What would we do?  Our heart rates would jump; fear would grip some; some would cry; we would run; etc., etc.  Why?  Aren’t they “succumbing” to the “power” of suggestion?  Is that the way of Christ?  Just the mere questions sounds silly now doesn’t it.  But guess what?  I just described people who were in a light state of hypnosis.  You see the “trance” state as many call it, is VERY normal & natural.  You experience it every day as you are about to fall “into” natural sleep & when you are “waking” from a natural sleep.

4)    Is it possible, that while under such loss of at least a certain amount of control, perhaps even willingly giving up our will temporarily, we could be opening the door for something other than what we intend?

___, you can see that I don’t even have to answer this because it has been answered.  A person is NOT under anything!  They do NOT loss control of anything!  Their will is NEVER surrend….period!!!  They are actually in MORE control than in a “waking” state.  In other words, your SM is in a state of HIGHTENED awareness. So, theoretically speaking ____ if a person is truly IN Christ, then they would be MORE opened to Jesus NOT the devil or evil, because our identity is newly created IN Christ Jesus!

5)    In what way is this being of sober mind?

I was excited when I read this.  The Greek word for “sober” is nafo.  Here is a brief definition of this word: 1) to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; 2) to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect.  Hmmm?  Sounds a little like hypnosis to me.  In what way is what I just explained (above) NOT sober minded.  As a matter of fact, when a person is experiencing the wonderful state of hypnosis, their awareness is extremely heightened as well as all of their senses.  Could this not be defined as “sober minded”.  When you are “seeing” or experiencing your past or a recent past event, everything becomes much, much clearer.  Sounds a bit like a sober minded person.

6)    Is it not Christ Himself who changes us from within? Can we (ourselves) or another person change us, as regarding the increase of Christ in us; the Life of Christ? If not, what is being changed in us and by whom? If it is so that it is not Christ, then all other would only be considered other than Christ, be that the will of man or a different other. What is the point if it is not Christ? 

I am SO glad you asked all of these questions.  First YES…Jesus recreates us within our spirits into a NEW CREATION.  Hypnosis has nothing do with our new life in Jesus.  This is NOT what I am speaking about in regard to hypnosis. 

Believe it or not THIS is the very reason why I decided to pursue & use hypnosis.  Case in point…..YOU!  Why do you still struggle with the fears you have; and maybe some other issues?  I know you love Jesus & you ARE being conformed into His image, and yet you STILL have serious fears and anxiety.  You see, we ALL have had our “organic” computer (subconscious minds- SM) programmed since we were young by events, comments, traumas, etc. Because our SM’s job is to protect us from things real OR imagined.   Like the hard drive of a computer, ALL we’ve ever experienced and learned is stored there.  We then spend the rest of our lives responding according to this “programming” AND we don’t even realize it.

This motivated me to pursue hypnosis, because although Father has used me in the lives of many, many people, what I saw was people would often have an issue (like a habit, fear, addiction, depression, etc.) that seemed to “hang on” EVEN THOUGH they had experience a large measure of freedom.  Now, not only will these folks be eternally set free in Jesus, and become a “new creation”, but their soul can be set free AS WELL from those old “tapes” programmed in the SM!!!

Is it evil or spiritually unhealthy to go to a surgeon to repair something that is physically malfunctioning after you are saved? Of course not!  So why is it so wrong to pursue surgery for your soul? (I’m NOT talking about your spirit….please see the difference)

Simply put here is the best definition of hypnosis I have arrived at (with a lot of help from Dave Elman):

“Hypnosis is a natural state of mind in which the critical factor of the conscious mind is bypassed, and  an establishment of acceptable selective thinking (resulting in physical & mental relaxation).” 

Here’s another one by Gil Boyne:

  1. An extraordinary quality of relaxation.
  2. An emotionalized desire to satisfy the suggested behaviour: The person feels like doing what the hypnotist suggests, provided that what is suggested does not generate conflict with his belief system.
  3. The organism becomes self-regulating and produces normalization of the central nervous system.
  4. Heightened and selective sensitivity to stimuli perceived by the five senses and four basic perceptions.
  5. Immediate softening of psychic defenses.

­­­___, hypnosis happens ALL the time in life.  Most folks just don’t recognize it.  For example: “highway hypnosis” where you miss an exit; “zoning out” while the teacher is talking; “day dreaming”; “in the zone” are some obvious ones.  There are several biblical examples (words) used that support all that I said above as well (but that’s for another time).

The bottom line is this: hypnosis is neither mysterious nor nefarious; neither unnatural nor supernatural.  It IS as certain as gravity and as scientific as turning water into ice.  The fear Christians have in hypnosis is mistaking that which is unknown for that which is evil.  My dear sister like gravity, just because a person doesn’t believe it exists or they think it’s evil does not protect them from its effect. 

I wasn’t intending on writing so long, but it is extremely important that the truth be told.  Again, I know your intentions were pure and motivated by love in writing what you wrote.  I am not upset with you.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been waiting for someone to ask those questions.  You just happened to be the first…LOL!

Sincerely In Jesus!

Anthony

The Key to a Liberated, Fulfilled and Productive Life…

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I found this post on Facebook and had to re-post it here.  I find so many Christians “trying hard” and they are still living a life of unfulfilled bondage, and it just breaks my heart. This short post answers the question, “But HOW do I enjoy this life I’ve been given?”

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~ Galations 2:20 (NLT)

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The Wink of Faith..Excerpt from Bill Volkman’s book…..

Galatians 2:20 is familiar to most Christians, as it is probably one of the ten most quoted and memorized verses in the Bible. Through the years no verse has presented more of a challenge to “deeper life” seekers.  Countless pamphlets and pages of books have been written about and around this verse.

The key to a liberated and fulfilling, productive life is recognition — recognition of who we are. For forty-one years I was unable to answer the question, ” Who am I?” I glibly talked about being ” a new creature in Christ, but those were only words. No wonder my apparently ” successful” life had been marked by periods of questioning, unrest, spiritual drought and what I considered to be “hidden sins”. No wonder I had such a poor self-image.

I had answered the question “are you born again?” , but I had never answered the more fundamental question: “Do you know who you are?” I had not yet adequately nor correctly seen who I really was.  I was more than the Bill Volkman I thought I saw when I looked in the mirror.

The big breakthrough in my understanding came when I suddenly saw that the King James Version of the Bible reads, “I live by the faith of the Son of God, rather than, “I live by my faith in the Son of God,” as I had memorized it from the New American Standard Version. All along I had the impression that my spiritual success was related to my faith in Christ (which always seemed to be faltering!). Now I could relax. In my union with Christ I would live by His faith — His perfect faith was expressing itself through me!

Do you see the difference? As long as your perception of spiritual success is contingent on your personal performance as an independent self, sooner or later you will fall short of your personal goals and expectations. Once you see that Christ in you is more than a “positional” truth -that He, as a living Person, with the attributes of faith, hope and love, actually lives His life through you, as you — then rest and creative freedom is attainable.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A LIFE LIVED IN UTTER DEPENDENCE ON JESUS’ LIFE TO BE LIVED IN AND THROUGH YOU!!! It IS His life given FOR you and TO you AND to be lived THROUGH you.  Stop trying and start simply TRUSTING my friend!

A Response Explaining “Why?”

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This is a letter that I wrote to a friend back in AZ who had written me a long letter expressing his concern.  I am sharing it, because I believe there are others who might have questions.

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My dear brother!
I am so sorry you are going through these struggles.  My heart ached for you when I read what you are going through.  Father is so very faithful & will meet you in the midst of this.

All day my mind raced here & there as to what I wanted to share with you.  First, I want you to know brother that I have read & have been “influenced” by many people including several “no names” in the body of Christ.  The list of authors are as follows: Gene Edwards, Frank Viola, George Barna, T. Austin Sparks, Tony & Felicity Dale, Neil Cole, Jon Zens, Wolfgang Simpson, Floyd McClung, Robert Fritts, Watchman Nee (I may have forgotten a couple).  So you see ____, this is not just something that just “happened”.  As I said in my post, it actually started 26 years ago.

So ____, I don’t see myself as “part of a movement”, but rather a life….HIS.  I have a deep longing to experience “living stones” being built by HIM into a house for HIM!!!  For years (unknowingly for a long time) I’ve craved the body life He speaks of in His word.  I desire to see “God get what He wants: a Bride, a body, a building and a family – a corporate expression of His glorious Son.”  This is not just positionally it’s a reality NOW that was born in the heart of God from before time.

(btw…in ALL of the authors/speakers mentioned above I have not read/heard any of them attack the body.  As a matter of fact they all – especially Viola – constantly encourage those already involved in organic fellowships, to NOT discuss or make it all about “those institutional churches”.  They are encouraged to keep their focus on JESUS….period)

I love the body deeply & really desire to be a part of that “corporate expression” of Jesus.  To watch the body’s members EACH functioning as God intended, with Jesus as the ONLY head; to truly experience the “priesthood of the believers” (which we say we believe) in action each week.  Meeting for one purpose….Jesus; to discover & display Him in real life; not sitting there week after week watching just a few people exercise their gifts & then each “living stone” going back to their individual lives; separate from the other “living stones”.

____, I think I do understand what’s going on inside you right now, but brother please understand I deeply love the “brethren”, but I am appalled at the manmade system they find themselves caught in.

I was thinking of you today in regard to this all, and realized that this is nothing more than experiencing REAL intimacy in the ecclesia; the very thing I believe your soul longs for.  I love you brother & appreciate your honesty and desire for truth.

“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through THE CHURCH [ecclesia] to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:8-10

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” – Col. 1:17-18
Resting In Him,

Anthony

THE Announcement of my life!

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This announcement is truly a long time coming.  I will start by coming right to the point:

I have left the “church”!

Seriously?  As you noticed, the word “church” is in quotes for good reason.  I have ceased “attending” a church in order to experience being THE church…HIS BODY!  Let me further explain.

About 26 years ago, while as a “Youth Minister”, Father had me “accidentally” find a book at a yard sale entitled Revolution: The Story of the Early Church; a novel about the first 17 years of the church.  I was captivated and mesmerized.  It resonated with my spirit.  I was so unknowingly bound up by legalism and religion that the reality of simply “being the church” went by the wayside.

About 7 seven years ago, through a series of contacts and books, our Lord resurrected this truth of functioning as His body.  Though, I found myself “stuck” in this institutional system of “DOING” church, just because I truly loved the “living stones” who gathered in the buildings.

As a matter of fact, about 1½ years ago I agreed to preach at a “church” building because of my passion to share the freeing message of God’s wonderful grace.  This lasted six months until I finally had to call it quits.  Quit?  Why would I do that, if I’m “doing the Lord’s work”?

The whole time I felt like such a hypocrite doing and being a part of the very thing I did not believe was in Father’s heart.

Then once again, out of a love for my family of God, I joined in one heart with my dear brothers and sisters at Highlands.  All the while, an inner turmoil stirred within, because my heart was not in agreement with what I was doing.

I QUIT TO PRESERVE MY FAITH!

Do I love those in organizational/institutional “churches” across America?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  I especially have a tender heart for my brothers and sisters who are in the paid “ministry” right now, and I deeply appreciate their sincere desire to please our Father.

If you would like to really hear my heart regarding this, then you MUST LISTEN to these two audio messages by Frank Viola.  I just discovered them and WOW do they ever express the depth of my heart’s passion:

Reframing the Mission: Pt 1
Reframing the Mission: Pt 2

Since moving to Minnesota and being very alone (with the Lord though…so NOT lonely…PTL!), I have wept several times out of a deep desire to see the fulfillment of Frank’s message.  Check out his blog at: http://frankviola.wordpress.com/

THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:5

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church [ecclesia] to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.  This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, – Ephesians 3:8-11

He is also head of the body, the church [ecclesia]; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit,… that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself… and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. – Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:2, 19

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above [God’s eternal purpose], where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.  AMEN.Romans 11:36

WHAT’S UP WITH ISLAM?

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This is somewhat of a departure to the purpose of this blog, but I believe in my heart it is desperately NEEDED.  Over the last few years, I have encountered many followers of Jesus who just do not understand the religion of Islam.  I too have much to learn.  I love the body of Christ, and therefore I do not want us to be deceived and join hearts with those who are so diametrically opposed to us.

I love the Muslim people, and I hope your heart is moved to love them as well.  BUT, we must not be deceived.  So, please WATCH the following videos.  Each one is approximately 10:50 in length.  After VIEWING the videos, I would encourage you to pass them to all your friends as well.

5 DECEPTIONS OF ISLAM

THE GLOVE!

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In the Amplified Bible, Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I’ve talked about how the Christian life is Jesus’ life…period!  It’s a life of total and radical dependency on Jesus to live His life through us.  It is this phrase, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” that I would like to illustrate.

I have a leather glove sitting here on the table.  If I told the glove to pick up my Bible and move it to the other table what would happen?  Nothing!  Exactly!  No matter how much I might teach it about it’s fingers and thumb and teach it how to pick up the Bible, it is still powerless to accomplish this simple act.

This is precisely how the Christian is to live.  The hand IN the glove is indispensable to the function OF that glove.  We are the glove; Jesus is the hand.  The glove takes on the strength of the hand to do what needs to be done.  The glove as I illustrated, is absolutely useless without the hand.

We too as Christians are effective and truly alive because the life of God was put back in us when Jesus came in to take residency. Only hen we surrender to Him and by faith allow Him to live His life can we experience real living!

The glove without the hand beautifully illustrates dead religion.  No matter how “pretty” or “righteous” we may look or how many religious things we may “do”, it is all empty and dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re the preacher, elder, deacon or anyone in “church” if you are living/acting in your own power and or initiative it is for naught.

Jesus is the only one who EVER lived the Christian life and He is still the only one who can live it today…through YOU and me as we by faith allow Him to do so.  Don’t you think it’s time we display to the world what Jesus looks like by abiding in His life in us?

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