Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Gift of Contentment

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Contentment.  She's a great gift.  You can have a lot and not be content with it, always scheming for more and envious of those who have it.  And you can be content in the valley of the shadow of death, because you know you're not alone even there and that better days and better times are still to come.  Even death is not final.
Contentment rises from the growing conviction that I am deeply loved and my whole life is in the hands of a loving Father.  Nothing is going on in my life today that escapes him and no matter how tragic circumstances might be, he can still work good in my life through it.  It means I don't have to be afraid of the unknown and I don't have to be in control to feel secure.  It embraces the reality that what is most important in life is the simple things in reach of us all—the hug of a loved one or a glimpse of beauty in the Creation.  It makes the best of what I already have and doesn't waste time worried about what I don't.   
Contentment lets me savor every joy, celebrate every friendship, enjoy each moment, and be grateful for the things that matter most.  It is an act of defiance for those advertising executives who want me frustrated with my existence so I'll spend more money to try to find joy where joy cannot be found.  
Today in the States we celebrate Thanksgiving, a day to acknowledge God with gratefulness.  It used to be more meaningful to me when thanksgiving was a discipline I practiced.  Somehow I lossed that along the way.  Gratefulness surfaces in my heart now multiple times per day as a spontaneous awareness of God's hand in the course of my day.  It's not something I have to work at anymore.  It is just there now that I have lost my frustrations with life as I wanted it to be, and simply embraced it as it is.  I don't expect life in a broken world to be fair. I no longer assume that living with integrity will get me ahead of those who lie and cheat, and that everyone who pretends to be my friend really is.  Call it cynical if you want, but losing my expectations and the naiveté that went with them didn't leave me jaded, just willing to take life as it is and not demand all my desires be fulfilled in it.  As somone said, expectations are only resentments waiting to happen.     
No, all my days are not filled with joy and glitter.  Some are dark and painful, but I have come to discover that no matter how dark the day there is enough love, grace, and joy in it when you look beyond the darkness and realize something more important is going on than my temporal comfort or well-being.    
It now seems a bit silly to give a day to thanksgiving.  So I don't think I'll be more thankful today than I was yesterday, but I will enjoy a day and a home filled with people I love who get the day off to hang out with each other.  I hope your day has much joy in it as well and that you, too, are discovering the joy of contentment—the gift that keeps on giving!  

This blog post was written by Wayne Jacobsen.   Wayne will discuss this post on Revolution Radio on Friday December 6th 

You can also access Wayne's website at http://www.lifestream.org/

Monday, July 22, 2013

Snakes Around the Vine

John 15: 1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. 4 Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t.
- Peterson, Eugene H. (2011-03-11). The Message Numbered Edition Hardback (Kindle Locations 53278-53282). Navpress. Kindle Edition.

As my family knows, and struggles to endure, I am a big fan of Animal Planet and NATGEO Wild programs.  This morning I saw a segment for a second time and a deeper meaning registered in my heart and mind.

The segment covered a very devious and deceptive reptile known as the Vine Snake.  As its name implies, the serpent looks very much like, and mimics, its vegetative surroundings.   However, once it gets close enough to its prey, the poor victim realizes that what looked like a tree branch was in reality a deadly killer.  By that time, deadly toxins are making the target bleed internally. The next step is for the Vine Snake to swallow its meal without resistance.



Here’s what hit me today: This is going on all the time in “Christian” circles.  “Churches,” allegedly places where we are learning how to “abide in the vine,” unwittingly become feeding grounds for religious vine snakes. They look like branches, sometimes even strong branches that support others.  They seem to be connected to the Real Vine.  They talk about Him, preach about Him, sing about Him, and even seem to serve in His name.  But at the time when we are most vulnerable, we come under attack.  The religious predator sinks its fangs into us.  The toxins quickly begin their deadly work.  At the place where the life of Christ flourished, poison starts causing us to bleed out. 

These toxins can take the form of condemnation, shunning, browbeating, and even gossip and slander.  Sometimes, the effects are not so obviously evil.  Our own personality and identity are swallowed up in serving the vision of a narcissistic religious leader who bleeds us of our virtues of time and treasure: the financial treasures of this world, and the gifting God has given us for His purpose.

If we are truly His, our Father will not allow us to be swallowed whole as the Vine Snake does with its prey.  He will allow us to be spiritually gutted when we fail to rightly discern who has access to our souls.  Paul personally warned the Ephesian elders:

Acts 20: 29-31 “I know that as soon as I’m gone, vicious wolves are going to show up and rip into this flock, men from your very own ranks twisting words so as to seduce disciples into following them instead of Jesus. So stay awake and keep up your guard. Remember those three years I kept at it with you, never letting up, pouring my heart out with you, one after another.
- Peterson, Eugene H. (2011-03-11). The Message Numbered Edition Hardback (Kindle Locations 54886-54889). Navpress. Kindle Edition.

So how do we recognize the genuine branch from the counterfeit? I believe that the answer is embodied in what Paul expresses just before his warning. “God himself thought they were worth dying for.”  So it follows that a true follower of Jesus, especially leaders, approach us out of a posture of serving and laying down their lives for us, not seeking to get us to lay down ours for them. 

Acts 20:28  “Now it’s up to you. Be on your toes— both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are— to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for.
- Peterson, Eugene H. (2011-03-11). The Message Numbered Edition Hardback (Kindle Locations 54883-54886). Navpress. Kindle Edition.

The religious landscape is littered with the broken lives of people sucked into a system and then spit out, after their virtue has been drained.  “Life” today is characterized by lifelessness, hopelessness, numbness, and maybe bitterness and depression. 

Today these souls struggle to trust God and to trust others.  They have been bled dry.  They need a blood transfusion and a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit to quicken their souls.  If these symptoms seem familiar to you because they describe you, maybe it’s time to consider who may have taken a bite out of you, and respond accordingly.  Only Jesus has the anti-venom.  We return to Him in faith, and allow Him to restore our soul.

John 7:37-38 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”

- Peterson, Eugene H. (2011-03-11). The Message Numbered Edition Hardback (Kindle Locations 52776-52778). Navpress. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Reasonable Response to the Mayor’s Declaration


By Vince Coakley with Dr. Steve Crosby


It is intriguing that as our esteemed Mayor prepares to leave our city to fill a Cabinet position in Washington, we learn about the true spiritual convictions that apparently undergird his beliefs and policies.
In case you didn’t know, Mayor Anthony Foxx, going against the grain of others who will “turn to God in a day of prayer and meditation,” argued in his proclamation May 2 was better served as A Day of Reason because "the application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival on Earth."

Mayor Foxx is also mistaken in his history in implying that our forefathers based our republic on the thoughts of the Age of Enlightenment and reason. No, Mr. Foxx, that is what the French revolution was based on, and the result was beheadings, secret police inquisitions, and imprisonments. The American experience was not a theocracy of state religion as in the blood-soaked soil of Europe, but neither was it the perfection of secularism that Mr. Foxx would have the naïve believe. It was a hybrid of the Age of Reason infused with a Biblical worldview. Our forefathers were a mix of theists, deists, and atheists and even the atheists were positively disposed to the teachings of Christ, though they despised organized Christian religion (with good cause, I might add!)

Mr. Foxx wants to excise the portions of history that don’t suit his progessivist agenda. The battle cry of the revolution, “No King but King Jesus,” doesn't fit Mr. Foxx’s very prejudiced progressive spin of the history.

Let me help Mr. Foxx with some history that he probably didn’t get at New York University:
·         The first and almost only Book deserving of universal attention, is the Bible. – John Quincy Adams
·         It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible. - George Washington
·         What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ. It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors. - George Washington
·         . . . God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever. – Thomas Jefferson
·         I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. – Thomas Jefferson
·         Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us. - John Hancock

Well, enough. I could go on.

The facts are such an impediment to a progressivist agenda. It ruins their mythology.As Karl Marx taught, any lie is all right if it accomplishes the dream. Truth be damned--it’s so “inconvenient,” as Mr. Gore might say.

I also want to say that I have no problem with people who have views that differ from mine.  We do live in a pluralistic society and I respect that.  But I do believe the convictions of some “leaders” reveal a type of intellectual arrogance that has proven to be illogical and unreasonable…and in some cases, deadly.
I am a man who believes in the ultimate authority of God and his sovereignty over the earth.  I also believe that through revelation we learn some foundational truths and values that are not negotiable.  Man does not reason his way to understanding them.  If he is wise, he simply bows before his Creator and accepts them.
And yet in this God does not relegate us to a position of being mindless robots. He appeals to us, “come let us reason together.”  The key though is to understand that we are not equals. Because He transcends us, it is logical and reasonable that we would recognize He knows better and His knowledge, reasoning, and wisdom should prevail.

With this in mind, I am suspicious of people who don’t recognize these realities.  What it usually means for those in political office (or aspiring to be) is that they believe themselves to be THE authority, and that the power of their reasoning is what we should bow to. This is the ultimate definition of Statism: the State replaces God. Need an example?  How about this?  One name of God revealed in the Old Testament: Jehovah-Jireh, or Yahweh-Jireh. It means “Yahweh will provide.” So what does it mean when the government insists on taking on this role? Very simple: those who promote dependence on government programs are really promoting a rival god… and too often those gods prove to be themselves.
We all know that the reasoning of most politicians has not been serving us well.

On the local level, what kind of reason compels us to bleed hard working citizens with onerous taxes to pay for sports complexes for millionaires and billionaires?

What kind of reason promotes wasteful transportation projects like Light Rail and Street Cars?

What kind of reason compels a Mayor to disrespect the hard work of a man who spend decades building one of the biggest engines of economic growth in the city? (Charlotte Douglas Airport) …and for that matter, insult leaders of one of Charlotte’s biggest employers?

And we should ask a few questions about the man Mr. Foxx may soon be working for, President Barack Obama:

What kind of reason causes us to run up a debt topping 16 trillion dollars?    Worse, yet, what kind of reason compels a President to proclaim that there’s no real need to balance the national budget, let alone start paying off the debt?

What kind of reason motivates the man who will be his boss to chase terrorists around the world with drones, and yet send military supplies and $250 million dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt?

What kind of reason would motivate so called leaders to promote lax border and visa policies, leaving our homeland vulnerable to terrorism?

What kind of reason would motivate Mr. Foxx’s future boss to leave our homeland and even overseas employees unprotected through incompetent and senseless policies, and then attempt to deceive us about what really happened?  

What kind of reason fails to recognize that setting records for food stamp dependency is nothing less than a crisis that requires immediate attention?

What kind of reason leads to policies that cause Blacks and Hispanics to lose even more of their wealth? 

Mr. Foxx, if this is the kind of reason you call for, let me just say: no thanks. We’ve had more than enough.  As you do more of your “reasoning” I, and others, will pray that God will open the eyes of millions of Americans to see the bankruptcy of mere human reason. And one more thing:  I pray God will have mercy on us, and spare us from the reason of politicians like Mr. Foxx and President Obama.   



Vince Coakley is host of The Vince Coakley Radio Program.  
Dr. Steve Crosby is a Christian author and lecturer based in the Charlotte area.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SGM Detox Returns: Thriving Outside The System



A father in spiritual crisis. A family struggling with relational discord.
It is a story with a happy ending.  But it's not really over because our Heavenly Father is still writing it.
Now this father is thriving in sonship.
His wife is free to be a joint-heir instead of suffering in silence
His children are walking in freedom and enjoying their natural and supernatural family.
This is the focus of this week's SGM Detox.

After a Resurrection weekend break, the show returns this weekend with a family testimony.
You'll follow the journey of a former SGM member:  how he went from performance-based religion into relationship with Jesus.  From there, you'll learn how the shock waves of his transformation impact his wife and children.  Now they walk together in newness of life with others.  Yes, there is life outside the system.

Detox has a purpose.  Jesus is removing what is not of Him, so His fullness can be manifest in us.

This is a program you don't want to miss.
You can hear it at this link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/04/06/sgm-detox-thriving-outside-the-system

You can hear previous SGM Detox shows at the links below

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/03/23/sgm-detox-episode-6--relationships-and-identity

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/03/16/sgm-detox

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/03/09/sgm-detox-lifestyle-legalism

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/03/02/sgm-detox

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/02/23/sgm-detox


Thursday, March 7, 2013

SGM Detox Preview: Lifestyle Legalism


You will not want to miss this weekend's "SGM Detox". The focus will be on expressions of lifestyle legalism.  

At the top you will be blown away by a Facebook message posted by former neighbors of ours.  Do you want to get a sense of the impact of what has been purported to be "The Happiest Place on Earth?"  You'll get a greater sense of what is at stake in our professed testimony of Jesus.  

We'll tackle "the family gospel", the challenge of singleness in "family oriented" churches, the home school emphasis, formulaic parenting, and the destructive emphasis on men's and women's roles.  

Also on tap, Dr. Crosby will call out Neo-Reformation leaders for their theological views that establish the underpinnings for abuse and control.  The result is emasculated men and women robbed of functional humanity.  We'll also tackle "full quiver"

In addition, we'll talk church membership, church discipline, and the idol of "the local church".  Also, dating and courtship.  purity and modesty.

We'll wrap it up by delving into the implications of forgiveness.  It is a powerful show you will want to listen to, and share.    Saturday morning at 11:00 Eastern Time at this link:


www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SGM Detox Update and "The Bible"



If you've followed my posts here and the SGM Detox series, you are aware I often refer to my SGM church as Egypt.  It was first a place of blessing, but later of bondage.  With that in mind I was really struck by this theme as I watched "The Bible" on the History Channel with my family last night.

Obviously some of the Biblical story has been augmented by artistic license.  With that in mind, here are some brief observations:

Pharaoh mocking Moses for following an "invisible" God.  Hebrews 11 (the "faith" chapter) commends Moses for "seeing Him who is invisible".   I believe most professing Christians are, in reality, materialists. Here's what I mean: too many of them don't believe Jesus can reign over his people... that God needs men (i.e. pastors) to "govern" them.   This error is propagated by way too many pastors who also believe that without them, God's people will run wild in rebellion and sin.  The truth is when Jesus truly reigns in His people, they don't need as much governance as they do guidance.  And guidance is only helpful from people who lead by example and relate to other believers in mutual submission, not merely preach down to people in a religious cattle call.

Pharaoh's stubborn defiance in the face of God's judgment.  I've expressed that I believe God is prophetically speaking to SGM leaders (and others for that matter) with the prophetic message "let my people go!".   And yet, despite the stream of revelations of abusive leadership practices, corrupt religious elitism and even allegations of cover up of sexual abuse, too many of these leaders are still standing instead of falling on their faces in repentance and surrender.   We know how this story ends.

A contrast of leadership: Moses v. Pharaoh.  My wife noticed the contrast between Moses and Pharaoh at the Red Sea scene. Again, some artistic license is used here, but the message is powerful.   After the waters start to recede, Moses is the first to go onto dry ground between the walls of the sea and tell the others "follow me". He is leading on a faith journey, not merely preaching to others to do so as he stands "safely" away from the powerful waters.   In contrast, Pharaoh stands behind his armies, driving them into the sea bed to pursue the Israelites.  See the difference?

We continue to receive wonderful feedback on the SGM Detox series, and enjoy wonderful conversations with some of you who are facing some challenging situations.  I'm confident Jesus will be glorified as His sons  and daughters are delivered from religious bondage and begin walking in their true identity and gifting with other free brothers and sisters.

SGM Detox will resume on Saturday at 11am. You can listen at this link:

www.blogtalkrado.com/vincecoakley

You can listen to the first 3 SGM Detox shows at these links.

1. Grace...More than a Doctrine  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/02/16/sgm-detox

2. Leadership and Accountability http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/02/23/sgm-detox

3. Relational Dynamics http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vincecoakley/2013/03/02/sgm-detox





Tuesday, February 26, 2013

SGM Detox Update, and a Recommended Resource




We continue to get very encouraging feedback on the program.  Lights of liberty are springing up in souls that have been darkened by perversions of God's grace and counterfeit leadership paradigms for years.

This week, we will wrap up our discussion of leadership and move on to address the path to freedom for victims of abuse.  It is vital to understand how we were taken captive and take responsibility for those vulnerabilities if we hope to move on into a healthy relationship with Jesus and others.

In the stream of social media feedback, we received this note from a listener:


Through a link that I received somehow, I listened today to your interview
with Bryon Weibold, on August 4th.  This interview was... amazing.  And so
timely for what my church is going through.

I don't understand why the broadcasts I've heard of yours don't have scores
of comments.  It was so inspiring!


For this reason I'm posting a link to that blog posting and podcast here.  I do agree that many of the issues we're discussing on "Detox" were covered in my talk with Bryon.   And as always I welcome your "scores of comments" :)    God Bless!

http://calltorevolution.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-path-to-functional-priesthood.html