The Great Un-Similarity – By Thomas Koester

Have we squandered the Gospel by preaching it only to the choir?

We are not making history; we are DISAPPOINTING IT! With one important distinction, the 21st Century Church is nothing like the 1st Century Church. At least, not yet!

The early Church existed during the time of the Roman Army’s occupation of Israel and Judah, and especially the City of Jerusalem. The Roman Empire was the most influential world power at the time, corrupting the subdued peoples and cultures with idolatry and immorality.

Sounds familiar?

Our great and mighty nation is doing the same thing and replacing the God of our Fathers with the Power of the State and inflicting upon us its immorality, cancel culture, and wokeisim.

In addition, the early Church suffered tremendous threats and persecution, as well as death by the religious zealots. These religious leaders and their disciples were the Early Church’s main archenemy in most of Asia Minor countries and cities, as well as the more significant Mediterranean areas.

They wanted to silence the preaching and testimony of Jesus Christ and keep his teachings from spreading and ruining their religious influence, power, and control of the people.

Sounds familiar?

The LGBT- XYZ community and its religious zealots and political activists are trying to silence the preaching and testimony of Jesus Christ and keep his teachings from spreading and ruining their influence and control over the people and culture. They are trying to destroy Christianity by infiltrating our churches, ministries, schools, and organizations, including our Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and all wholesome cultural institutions.

How about the Islamic Extremists-Jihadists’ insatiable appetite for the blood of Christians and infidels?

The tables are turned, and this group of fanatics is threatening to wipe out even the Jews and all of Israel. And now it appears an alliance between the far left, including the Socialists and Marxists are, forming an unholy alliance with the Jihadists against Christianity and the Jewish people. Now the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” has again become the mantra, whereby two evils join forces to destroy their common enemy, which is you and me!

Sounds familiar?

All of the Apostles, including many of the Early Church Fathers and their families, were arrested, tortured, and murdered, not just because of their faith but more so because of their outspoken proclamation of their dedication to the Gentile Nations and Jews in Israel and beyond.

And let me add this one thing:

THEY WERE NOT ARRESTED, TORTURED, OR MURDERED WHILE PREACHING IN THE COMFORTS OF THEIR CHURCHES BUT IN THE MARKET PLACES AND PLACES WHERE UNSAVED GENTILE PEOPLE GATHERED.

I agree with John Zaste; our proclamation needs to go way beyond the walls and doors of our Churches. It is not enough to invite unsaved people to visit our Churches to hear the Gospel. Too many Churches are not preaching the Gospel anyway. Also, the past century has shown us that indoor Church preaching has done little to impact our culture, cities, and country.

Our nation has thousands of Christian universities and colleges. Still, these have not persuaded our government, influenced our politics or culture, or provided us with preachers like the Apostle Paul or the Apostle Peter.

We’ve squandered the Gospel by preaching it only to the choir!

The early Church would not have had the impact it enjoyed if it did not invade its culture and challenged the prevailing philosophies of its time. The early Church’s message would’ve petered out (sorry, Peter) had it confined and limited its services within its sanctuaries and preaching to believers. Oh, wait, they had no palatial buildings, steeples, or chapels. They had each other, and they met in their homes, and yet it was they that changed the world!

Christians, along with Jews and the Unborn, are being dehumanized. But not to marginalize us, but to ultimately murder us. The Evil of our age is out to destroy all who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ and those who obey His commands. All those that value life and God.

Revelations 12:7

“…Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.”

We need just a little more similarity.

The Under Reformed Church – By Thomas Koester

“…men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.”

The problem is the Reformation didn’t go far enough. It left too much Greco-Roman pagan ritual within the Church and its traditions. This decentralized the message of the cross and resurrection as the focal point of preaching, teaching, and evangelism.

The Cross of Christ, the Resurrection, and the birth of Christ have become nothing more than religious Holidays for Churches to put on shows to capture new parishioners. These religious holidays are no different for Hallmark, Target, and Best Buy; they spruce up their stores and adds to attract consumers, just like many churches do.

Most pastors and religious leaders are no longer wearing long flowing robes loaded with phylacteries or the priestly liturgical vestments with golden threaded sleeves. These religious garbs were used in their day to separate the clergy from the laity, to hold the learned in higher esteem than the unlearned, commoner, or laity class.

Today, the learned clergy rely on postnominals to separate themselves from the laity. Postnominals are letters placed following a person’s last name to indicate education qualifications, the title of office, decoration, or honor. White wigs, long flowing robes, and liturgical vestments may be passe among evangelicals and fundamentalists, but postnominals are not; these letters and titles grant them hierarchy.

“Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.” William Wallace

Courage means action. It means to serve the interests of others. To risk. To venture. Titles separate us from one another, but courage, courage is contagious. It makes us all brave and inspired.

Real courage and bravery is sharing Christ in a world that hates him. Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ is loaded with risk, but only outside of chapels and steeples. In reality, the call to discipleship is more like Jesus saying, come die with me for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom. Heaven is where all things evil are vanquished and the real potluck begins.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – Deitrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

We must break free from the religious trappings of safety, comfort, and convenience.

Too much of this “tradition” of orbiting the pulpit, the building, and the alter, is to the detriment of local and world evangelism. To the equipping of the laity and the average believer. To the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven. Frankly, the high expectation of the clergy doing all of the work of ministry leaves most parishioners disengaged with their faith, their calling, and the development of their spiritual gifts.

The offices gifted to the Church from Christ were not for the clergy to do all the ministry but would equip and train the laity (saints) to do the work of ministry so that all may reach maturity in Christ. Equipping the saints is for the maximum productivity in the body of Christ and the Gospel. (Eph. 4:11-16)

Being the audience once or twice a week does not forge men, women, and children into saints; but faith put into practice and action with one’s spiritual calling and giftedness does. Far too many well-seasoned believers are simply benchwarmers, an audience to a game they don’t play, in an arena where they’re not needed, and with no other purpose but to spectate.

Brothers, we don’t reach maturity in Christ Jesus as spectators or simply being faithful to a 90-minute program. Weekly services without the exercise of spiritual gifts create weak Christians.

In many churches, people run out as soon as they hear the final amen. In less than five minutes, the parking lot empties. Just like at the movie theaters, as soon as the screen fades to black and the credits roll, the theater and parking lot empties. What about fellowship, relationship, and koinonia? This proves that the service or show is more important than true fellowship and connectedness.

We believers must have a vital connection and role within the local fellowships, whether in commercial buildings or homes. This is why there are so many transients believers; they’re searching for belonging, meaning, and purpose.

The more risk and challenge for believers to exercise their faith and practice their spiritual gifts, the more spiritual growth and maturity, will be realized. And if this is allowed, improvement will become mutual among the laity and not exclusive among the clergy.

For example, I moved from the Bay Area to a lake community in the Sierra Foothills. There is a substantial lack of spiritual urgency up here. It was a culture shock and frankly still is. Spiritual complacency is a real danger, and the 21 Century Western Church structure is responsible for it — sadly, it is what they are producing, spiritual complacency.

I have the privilege to speak with pastors and evangelists in India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Do you know what they tell me?

They tell me they want to be like America’s big successful churches. This breaks my heart. We don’t risk our lives as they do, preaching the gospel or passing out bibles among Muslims and the Taliban. We aren’t threatened by Hindus, ISIS, or Boko Haram.

Here in America, we’re too scared to share the gospel with strangers, neighbors, or anyone shopping at Walmart. Our greatest threat here in America is getting jailed by Face_book, canceled by Twitter, and de-platformed or demonetized by Youtube. Our Americanized, homogenized, and pasteurized form of Christianity has been genetically modified to produce seedless fruit. We should not be in the exporting business.

I encourage them not to mimic Western Christianity and not to model their Churches and ministries after American mega-churches, TV evangelists, our wretched prosperity gospel pontificators, or the NAR movement.

I suggest they follow the authentic biblical model of Christian practice and the ecclesiastic men of Scripture. Christianity needs Indian, Pakistani, and Filipino believers and pastors to be themselves, not an Americanized version. I encourage them to study what the Holy Scriptures instruct and to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to their Churches. Follow Christ Jesus, not American pastors.

Perhaps the First World Churches need a Bible lesson from our brothers and sisters in the Third World.

The Temptation of Self Sufficiency – By Thomas Koester

It matters which voice you listen to when you are weak and weary.

It struck me recently that many times throughout my life, I’ve opted to turn stones into bread rather than to wait for the word-by-word nourishment from the mouth of my Heavenly Father.

So much of my ego and masculinity is wrapped up in being independent and only asking and waiting for help as a last resort.

This is all about Sonship and resting and relying on the Father-heart of God. Anything short of this is living as an orphan and not as a true adopted son.

It can also be construed as one listening to the Father of Lies, succumbing to his temptation of denying my relationship and dependence on God, and therefore, turning stones into whatever I need.

So, when life, love, and the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing are exhausted, don’t turn your stones into bread and become self-sufficient. It is a test, and if you remain steadfast in your dependence on God and his Father-heart, you’ll not be disappointed nor dissatisfied. Our God is no deadbeat dad but a Faithful Father.

And the Devil, well, he is the Father of Lies and selfishness. Nothing good can come from him.

The Devil would have you become so self-sufficient that you wouldn’t need or want God; he’ll keep tricking you until you’re emotionally drained, spiritually dried up, and drifting in loneliness.

The reward is waiting and suffering through the loss or the lack until God comes through, as God is always faithful.

“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.” Psalms 37:25

“Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait, and he will help you.” Psalms 27:14

Too much self-sufficiency can wreck your soul. Listen to the Father of Life and not the Father of Lies.

My Allergic Reaction To Asking For Help – By Thomas Koester

Don’t Be A Macho Idiot!

Isn’t it true that there are a ton of things that people are allergic to? Wheat, nuts, milk, eggs, bees, cats, dogs, etc. How about being allergic to asking for help?

You see, that’s my problem, I may not have food allergies, but I am allergic to asking for help. I have a terrible time asking for it, and this can cause a lot of pain in my life; you know, like backaches, neck pain, and all kinds of body aches and anxieties.

Therefore I amass too much for my shoulders to bear. We are to share one another’s burdens; this is true, but the burdens we do take on must be within the boundaries of God’s will. And this is where I get into trouble. I resist God’s will for lack of patients and a sense of urgency.

In Fall 2013, I loaded myself up like a pack mule. I can’t count how many times my wife, Toni, would be frustrated seeing me loaded down with stuff. Like a macho man – okay, like a macho idiot, I try to move or carry everything in one trip.

Well, I was off on a business trip, with my loaded backpack, luggage in my left hand, and several shirts and a coat in my right hand, headed downstairs in a hurry.

Suddenly, my left foot scuffed the carpet enough at the midpoint landing, causing my left foot to skip a few steps. My 255 pound body, backpack, and luggage caused my left quadriceps to snap like a dried twig and shred apart. The momentum flung me like Superman the rest of the way to the first floor! I nearly cleared the entry way, landing half my body into the dining room! The entry and dining room floor was solid oak.

Being allergic to asking for help nearly killed me. After the surgery, it laid me up for three months. Which, by the way, gave me ample time to learn an important lesson…

…Go for lighter burdens!

Jesus said: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt 11:30

“Are you tired? Worn and burned red out on religion? Come to me. Get away with,h me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30

So, I take this time to reflect and reset my attitude and train myself to trust the will and purpose of God, and taking on the easy yoke of Christ. I desperately need the lighter burdens of his call on my life. I need the freedom to be a child of God once again, and not the “big independent guy” that looks like he’s got it all together.

To be more than what I am called to be as a son, brother, husband, and father is where pride will gain the upper hand, and ignoring actual shouts of “no” or “too much” from within. If I refuse, the false self and poser will lead to my destruction. Any person in ministry and in life, must live and act within the constraints of true and genuine humility or become a destructive force against their community, family, and their own life.

Jesus preaches to the crowd…

“Say only yes if you mean yes, and no if you mean no. If you say more than yes or no, it is from the Evil One.” Matt 5:37

Nothing but the Cross

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. It would help if you had forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” Gal. 6: 1-3.

It’s all about burden sharing, a little of mine, for a little of yours.

Oh, and by the way, take care of your allergies, especially your allergy, asking for help!

The Secret Psychological Weapon – By Thomas Koester

Reverse Blockade

This may be one of the most important articles that I’ve written. Copy and paste, or print while you can.

Political Psy-war:

This is the weapon our government and the alphabet media organizations use to inflict fraud after fraud on the American people. Inflation, presidential elections, wokeism, cancel culture, January 6th, green energy, the border crisis, etc., just to name a few.

Through their “psy-war,” they’re also responsible for creating a two-class society of the jabbed and non-jabbed – the unmasked and the masked.

“Psychological warfare involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups. RAND has studied military information support operations (MISO) in many countries and war zones and has provided objective and supportable recommendations to policymakers on methods and tactics to employ or defend against these operations.”

The Secret Weapon:

“Reversive Blockade”

Here’s how they do it…

This mechanism is called “reversive blockade.” The secret psychological weapon of psychopaths in power. Hitler revealed it bluntly because he knew it would work anywhere and on any people.

“Reversive blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. By the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the “golden mean” between the truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit.

People who think like this do not realize that this effect is precisely the intent of the person who subjects them to this method. If the counterfeit of the truth is the opposite of moral truth, at the same time, it simultaneously represents an extreme paramoralism and bears its peculiar suggestiveness.”

Source: Andrzej Łobaczewski, “Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes,” page no. 151

Does it now make sense to you now, why the government and the news media tells you what you see with your eyes and what you hear with your ears are lies? They do this to control and shape information and ideologies. They want to control all sources of information, including what you see and hear over social media. Their agenda must succeed at all cost. They’ll lie about, deceive, and character assassinate their opponents, or worse.

We must reject their psychological warfare and their usurpation of our right to free speech, freedom of thought, and our God-given use of common sense.

Usurpation: “to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully, to seize and hold (office, place, functions, powers, etc.) in possession by force or without right.” Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

Don’t fall for the secret weapons of psychological warfare. They’re after our minds!

Prodigal Fathers & Lost Sons – By Thomas Koester

“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.”

Did you know that the prime role of a father is to create within their sons the ability to father?

If we are to become a good and healthy culture, we will make a society of self-governing men and responsible sons to become faithful fathers. But alas, most fathers are emotionally detached from their sons or leave them altogether. We are living in a time of prodigal fathers and detached sons, whereby the sons and fathers are both lost.

While growing up, I lived through this as a detached and lost son, and tragically, later in my life, I also became a prodigal father, emotionally detached from my children. When I became a father, it was difficult for me to become bonded attached to my sons and daughter. I abandoned my children’s need for a present father for the sake of fame and fortune, just as my father had done. I put my career above my children’s needs at a time in their lives when they needed me the most.

Before my father died, God put it in my heart to wrestle for his blessing. I desperately needed a miracle to happen.

Just four days before my father passed, we turned our hearts towards each other. His “I love you too, son” responses to my, I love you, dad, brought me back to life as a man and fulfilled my quest to become my father’s beloved son. It was as though I had placed my heart into my father’s and found it to fit perfectly.

More importantly, on the night of October 7, 1998, my father, in turning his heart towards me, made it possible for me to believe that I am also God’s beloved son. And frankly, this began a chain reaction, whereby in a few short years, I became the man I was destined to become and finally the father my children had longed for. It also profoundly changed me into the husband my wife, Toni, had prayed for.

This unique encounter with my dad changed the trajectory of my life and would eventually change the lives and the course of my children. A prodigal father turned his heart towards his son, and a lost son was found. God’s amazing grace healed not only a lost prodigal father but also a lost and broken son.

There is hope for lost fathers and lost sons.

See the movie “Warrior” With Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, and Jennifer Morrison. The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home. At one point in the film, the father, tormented by guilt and an inability to reach his sons, cries out:

“We’re so lost… …SO LOST!”

What they need is redemption and forgiveness. This is just what most of us need also. Watch the movie to find out whether they had succeeded.

In the latest of the Robin Hood movies, starring Russel Crowe, Robin, being the lost son of a forgotten father, rediscovers his past in the same town he was born. He recalls his painful memory of his father’s stand against tyranny. While he and his band of men are visiting his hometown, Robin removes a stone at the monument located at the town square, where he finds the imprint of his little hand next to his father’s. He places his now fully grown hand into his father’s imprint and discovers it’s a perfect match.

He also finds the same inscription on the underside of the stone he removed, which bears the same engraving on the handle of a sword he had earlier recovered. It says:

“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.”

And it means never give up until the impossible happens.

Boys and men, never give up until the impossible happens! Seek out your lost fathers; fathers seek out your lost sons; seek them with everything you’ve got! Forgive them, love them, and change both your lives and destinies.

Keep rising until the impossible happens!

The Magician’s Greatest Trick – By Thomas Koester

The destruction is always in the distraction.

The goal of any magician is to get you to focus so closely on their distraction that you will be oblivious to their sleight of hand.

Even though our eyes were focused and wide open during the show, we’re left with the feeling of bewilderment and amazement. The sleight of hand was, therefore, successful.

Sadly, we, the American people, or, at least 50% of us, have been thoroughly duped during the early morning hours of November 4, 2020. If the election results were indeed the greatest magician’s trick of all times, then one must ask the serious questions, for what purpose, and to what end?

Since November of 2020, there has been one trick after another. Every single trick was deployed to cover the grand magician’s masterful illusion of the disappearing of millions of votes.

What does this mean? It means that we are in a police state. It may not look like North Korea, but we’re there, the past 3 years were a dress rehearsal. The world in which you see, hear, taste, and feel is mostly a charade. All these crises in the news, they were planned, produced, directed, and well acted.

Their next act is to make assault [all] weapons to disappear. If they can make millions of votes disappear can they not do the same with our weapons?

Is your 401K vanishing? How about affordable groceries, are they too disappearing? How about baby formula?  Affordable fuel? The tricks just keep coming, folks.

In just six months, Twenty-four food processing plants throughout the country, poof, gone up in a puff of smoke!

Heck, even eggs are disappearing!

“A late-night fire on May 29, 2022, at a commercial egg farm likely left thousands of chickens dead Saturday night near Cokato, Minnesota. Two hundred thousand dead chickens were discovered inside the burned structure. This plant produced 3 million eggs per day.”

Hey, but don’t worry, Ole Uncle Joe said, “were in the best economic recovery in forty years.” “Come on man, inflation is Putin’s fault.”

Everything on the TV, Cable, and Social Media is nothing more than a ruse. We should be more focused on what’s not being said than what “they” are saying.

What is emerging from behind the their evil show’s curtain is hideous and sinister, beyond imagination. Now we’re beginning to see just how deep this network of social, political control, and espionage has gone.

The Globalist has been organizing itself and now is in position, fully manned and fully armed. They know who the dissenters and the detractors are; they know their targets. It is not Islamic Terrorists but the average conservative patriot, who is now, by their definition, “The New Domestic Terrorist.” Yep, even well-informed parents are considered domestic terrorists!

They are begging for the American people to rise up, so they can blame the True Freedom and Liberty loving people for the burning of our once Great Republic.

I agree with the late Rush Limbaugh, the Coup de ta has already taken place and we’ve lost complete control of [our] government and all media outlets. Our children’s schools have already become re-education day camps. Our treasury has already been taken over by madmen and madwomen. Our major corporations have joined the Leftist Elites. Every sector of our federal bureaucrat agencies has become espionage outposts for this regime and administration.

The most private and personal issue of every citizen, legal or not, is our health care, and this has been placed in care, custody and control of the same Federal Government and enforced by the IRS. Had we all not acted like sheep, we wouldn’t be in this terrible mess!

So, stop thinking that our President is just a clumsy oldman and our Vice President, just a ditsy, unqualified woman. They are exactly as they were chosen to be. They are simply placeholders. For the moment, these two nitwits are the coverband playing the Left’s repertoire of greatest failed hits.

They’ll keep it up until large enough sector of the populace rises up so they can bring down the top. Then their revolution will begin.

For the Christian, your time of testing is about to begin.

For the Atheist, your time of believing in God is about to arrive.

To the Unbeliever, your time of doubting will soon be over.

The Liberal is about to become Conservative.

The Uninformed Voter is about to become informed.

The Socialists will soon be dancing in the streets.

The Communists will soon begin their kidnappings and arrests.

And the regime will kill many of us, especially the useful idiots, the fools, which promoted and pontificated their agenda in our schools, colleges, universities, local governments, and news media agencies.

The many must be executed until all those left are the feeble of mind and weak of heart.

This is not new – it’s happened repeatedly throughout history. But you don’t know this because you were too focused on the magician’s distraction…

…and now, you’re dead!

WAKE UP!

The Great Financial Collapse – My April 16, 2022 Nightmare – By Thomas Koester

Belief in the empty tomb will strengthen you during the time of empty banks.

I had a very vivid and story-like nightmare last night.

I dreamt that I was driving with two of my youngest children. Traffic slowed to a stop. Civil unrest and pandemonium everywhere, on the streets and sidewalks.

I rolled down my window and asked what was going on?

Someone shouted:

“The banks are closing, and the ATMs won’t work!”

I immediately turned my truck around and headed to my bank, Wells Fargo. When I arrived, people were lined up in front of the bank, restless, panicked, and afraid. Nobody was prepared for the chaos; everyone just wanted to withdraw their cash. The police tried to control the crowd, but they too were concerned and worried about what looked like a financial collapse.

[In reality, I’m the well-informed type of guy. I’m like a watchman when it comes to political and financial news, but in my dream, I was taken by complete surprise like everyone else.]

I stayed at the bank for what seemed like hours, pounding desperately on the door, demanding our money. Finally, a manager poked her head out from behind the glass door, saying, “Sorry, we’re closed, there’s no money inside; please, please go home!”

I got back into my truck; my kids had fear and confusion written on their faces, saying,

“dad, please just take us home!”

Instead, I drove to our other bank, Umpqua. The manager was outside and politely speaking to the crowd. We all pleaded for our money, but she said, “There’s no money here.”

I stuck around until most of the crowd had dispersed. I asked the bank manager what’s really going on? All she knew was that she was ordered to close the bank.

I got into my truck, assured my kids that it would be alright, and started for home.

As I was waking, you know, that moment between dreaming and awakening, a thought scrolled across my mind, like a news chyron, during a televised breaking news event…

…The Feds Have Just Announced The Dollar Has Been Replaced With Federally Issued Digital Currency…

…Moments later, I heard Toni calling me down for breakfast.

I got up from bed, still sleepy, processing my dream, and wandered downstairs for a cup of coffee.

Toni was at the table, enjoying the breakfast just delivered to our beach cottage in Mendocino. I shared my dream with her and said it was an unusually realistic dream.

As a matter of fact; I had awakened a few times during the nightmare only to drift back asleep, stepping right back into the dream where I had left off! Typically my dreaming is abstract and meaningless, but not this dream, folks.

Several things come to mind…

  1. Our faith must be 100% in the Lord, and not in the world or in the world’s systems.
  2. We must get our finances and affairs in order. We must get out of debt and cease our dependence and addiction to credit.
  3. We must get our relationships with one another in order. We must not withhold forgiveness. We must become one people, one family, united in truth and faith.
  4. We must prepare for persecution and severe trials. (If I read any comments, “don’t worry, cause we’ll all be raptured,” please unfriend me).
  5. We need to walk in peace and confidence, being solidly in Lord now, or we won’t when calamity and pandemonium strike.
  6. This collapse will indeed arrive sooner than later, and without expectancy. Therefore, we must be prepared to shine brightly, holding forth the Word of Life.
  7. Belief in the empty tomb will strengthen you during the time of empty banks. “‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.'” Philippians 2: 14-16

The world is crooked and warped to this; there is no argument. To those who believe in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, we must prepare ourselves to shine among them like stars in the sky. We can only do that if we have an unbreakable grip on the Word of Life — The resurrected life of Jesus Christ.

I’ll say it again; Belief in the empty tomb will strengthen you during the time of empty banks.

Encourage one another while the lights are still on. Darkness is coming. Your day of shining is fast approaching.

The Power of Love – By Thomas Koester

When reading the title to my article, you have to be honest, right? I bet, like me, you immediately thought of the hit song by Huey Lewis and the News, or the movie, Back to the Future. Maybe the last thing you thought of is Christianity or the Church.

According to the Founder of Christianity, we as Christians are to be known by our love for Jesus Christ and one another. Matter of fact the world would know that we are his disciples by our love. But as you are well aware of, every Sunday morning we all segregate into our own favorite flavors of Christianity and tasty preferences of religious delights.

As believers, our doctrine and affiliations should not separate us. We are to be known by our love for one another, regardless of whether we agree or disagree on tenents of the faith.

Love for one another trumps knowledge, prophecy, and tongues. Love trumps Calvinism and Arminianism. Love trumps Premillennialism and Postmillennialism. Love trumps and destroys bitterness and anything that may divide us.

If Jesus Christ were to walk into our town of Copperopolis on any given Sunday morning, we’d all leave our Church buildings and gather where He is. He, not the differences in our denominations, is the focus. Jesus Christ is not a Baptist nor a Pentecostal; He’s not a Presbyterian, a Catholic, or an Independent. He is the where, the who, and the why we are followers. He is not a denomination, a religion, or a building.

Where is the Church of Copperopolis? Where is the Church of your town or your city?

Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd of one Church and one Body — we need to act like it and put aside our petty and religious differences. Let’s save our towns, county, and states and seek and save the lost. They are everywhere that we’re not.

We have to love beyond the borders of our denominations, beyond enforces of sectarianism and the supremacy of the elitists. Without Love, we have no authentic identity as disciples and no real gospel power.

Let the love of Christ Jesus compel us towards unity and love for one another. Otherwise, the world will be without a witness and the real Power of Love!

The Power of Inner Peace – By Thomas Koester

Inner peace equals outer peace. You can’t have one without the other. The world’s peace is fragile and flimsy. You’ve not been given worldly peace.

Jesus’ Gift of Peace

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27

It’s the world’s trouble and fear which makes you think that way. Closeness to Jesus, resting in his authority, his Holy Word, and abiding in the Holy Spirit (The Comforter) is how you have peace when the world and our Nation are in turmoil.

The world has its warriors. But you men and women are sons and daughters of The Most-High God. Heirs to Christ, and possessors of the Holy Spirit. You have no trouble like the world has and nothing to worry about.

I’ll say it again, you have no trouble like the world has and nothing to fear. Your Savior is the Prince of Peace, and he resides in you!

What can make your trouble troubling is when you forget that Jesus has made you an overcomer. Jesus never said if we believe and belong to him that we’d have no trouble. To the contrary, here’s what Jesus has said:

“I have told you this so that through me you may have peace. In the world you’ll have trouble, but be courageous—I’ve overcome the world!” – John 16:33

Your inner peace expressed outwardly is a greater force than sword or spear. If you have faith, trust, and obedience, your true enemies will know of your qualities well before you arrive — well before you pray, and before you speak. You will be known as God’s Peaceful Warrior.

“Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10

…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7