The Church, Our Forerunners

Church: Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., “the Lord’s house”), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship. In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the “Church of England,” the “Church of Scotland,” etc.

We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:

1. It is translated “assembly” in the ordinary classical sense (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).

2. It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic (universal) church (Eph. 5:23, 25, 27, 29; Heb. 12:23).

3. A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an eccesia (Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15).

4. All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church (Acts 13:1); so also we read of the “church of God at Corinth” (1 Cor. 1:2), “the church at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1), “the church of Ephesus” (Rev. 2:1), etc.

5. The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Matt. 16:18) are the church of Christ.

The church visible “consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children.” It is called “visible” because its members are known and its assemblies are public. Here there is a mixture of “wheat and chaff,” of saints and sinners. “God has commanded his people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges, ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving visibility to his kingdom, of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all together constitute the universal visible church.” A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a member of this church. This is “the kingdom of heaven,” whose character and progress are set forth in the parables recorded in Matt. 13.

The church invisible “consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof.” This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called “invisible” because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who “searches the heart.” “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Tim. 2:19).

(Hebrews 10:35-39 NLT) Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! {36} Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. {37} “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. {38} And a righteous person will live by faith. But I will have no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” {39} But we are not like those who turn their backs on God and seal their fate. We have faith that assures our salvation.These portions of scripture give us a capsulated glimpse of Old Testament believers who laid the foundation for our faith in Christ.

Hebrews, chapters 10 through 12 need to be all read as a single exhortation to the early Hebrew believers who were considering turning away from Yeshua as their Messiah. In these chapters, these believers are being admonished to consider the perseverance of those who went before them, such as Abraham, David, and Gideon. None of these received the end of their faith which was the coming of the Messiah, yet they endured without wavering, looking for a city whose builder and maker was God. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph and many others confirmed their faith in God’s promises in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances.

The letter to the Hebrews is timeless, in that it speaks of our need to realize that when we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we entered into something far greater than ourselves, or even our generation. We have been commissioned to take hold of the baton that has been passed on from one generation to another, and run our leg of the race that only we can run.

Throughout history believers have come to recognize that their purpose in life is far greater than what they can tangibly measure at any given moment. As part of the body of Christ, (the church) our lives are not an isolated part of history, but rather a continuation in the chain of events, which will ultimately culminate in the manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth.

Whenever the church has lost site of its part in carrying on what has been placed in the care of any particular generation it has become ineffective, powerless, and purposeless. In short, nothing has been more detrimental to any believer or body of believers than to fail to recognize the significance of God’s plan for the church. Even a momentary loss of this vision can plunge an individual, a church, or even a generation of believers into compromising their faith.

(Hebrews 12:16-17 NLT)  Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for a single meal. {17} And afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears.

Esau is a tragic example of someone who failed to recognize the significance of his place in history.  The Bible not only gives us examples of those who dared to believe God and succeeded, it gives us many examples of those who refused to believe and as a result failed. Adam & Eve, Cain, the 10 spies, the entire generation who died in the wilderness, Eli the priest, King Saul, Judas and many others.

The following are a few of the common characteristics of people who failed.

 1. They failed to esteem what had been entrusted to their care. They took their position, and place in history for granted.

 2. Somewhere along the line they lost perspective of God’s will for their lives. They took their eyes off of God, and the goal set before them.

3. They were moved by natural circumstances rather than by faith in God. Jealousy, intimidation from what they saw as an insurmountable obstacle, selfishness.

 These things are all written for our example.

(1 Corinthians 10:11-12 NLT)  All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. {12} If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin.

When the church realizes its’ significance nothing can keep it from accomplishing its’ God ordained purpose.

 (Matthew 16:18 NKJV)…and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

 

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America Needs to Bless God

From the inception of this nation, our leaders have called upon its citizenry to seek God, and implore His help during times of trouble. God has answered, and delivered us from tragedy beyond measure time and again. Yet this seems to have become a forgotten part of our country’s history.

Many of today’s leaders speak of the power of the human spirit, and give us pep talks about how we will prevail if we have faith in one another. Their solution to the perplexity of our problems is not humility, repentance, and reliance upon God. That seems to be far too archaic for the new enlightenment. Instead, they believe that mankind can overcome any obstacle through simple perseverance, and human ingenuity.

Unfortunately, most Americans have abandoned God, and instead are looking to the government to heal the environment, restore the economy, care for their families, and save them from all of today’s evils.

At a time when we should be calling upon God to forgive, and heal us, we are continuing to witness the amazing arrogance, and absolute stupidity of many in positions of power.

For example, recently, Federal Judge, Barbara Crabb ruled the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional, stating that it violates the first amendment. Yet one week after the passage of the first Amendment President George Washington, at the request of the U.S. Congress, declared a national day of thanksgiving and prayer on October 3, 1789.

We continue to hear political leaders conclude their speeches with the phrase, “God bless America.” I believe that God has blessed this nation, yet we have failed to bless God! How can we expect God to continue to bless this nation when we blaspheme His holy name, remove His laws from our places of learning, and continue to attack the very acknowledgement of His existence?

The following is a timeless quote engraved upon the Jefferson Memorial. “God, who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever…” Thomas Jefferson

The United   States of America has been preserved these many years because we have honored God. Yes we have had our faults, and many failures, but in all of this we have honored Him as the sovereign and great God.

If we continue to show contempt for His laws and precepts we will go the way of every other nation that has turned from Him. We will reap the consequences of our own moral depravity, and great will be our fall.

It is time to put our hope in God, and call upon Him to have mercy upon us, and forgive us for our arrogance, and many sins. God alone is the hope of nations, and the only one who can deliver us from the evils of our times.

Sodomy In America

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Marriage between a man and woman stands as the  foundation of all civilization. Abolish this institution and you destroy the very fabric of society itself.

If we do not begin to  engage our culture, by entering the public forum armed with the truth, the very survival of our nation stands in jeopardy.  No longer can we fold our hands and vainly imagine that it will all work out in the end.

Destroy the moral foundation upon which our country was established, and it will mark the beginning of the end of our nation as we have known it.

Gay activists have a very serious and clear objective, and are using Hollywood, the liberal media, and activist judges to propagate their agenda.  Regrettably, they are succeeding in convincing the general public that homosexuality is as normal as baseball and apple pie.  For example, the majority of today’s youth believe that homosexuals are simply born that way.

Now I realize that whenever dissent is raised against this life style one stands the risk of being labeled a bigot, or homophobic.  This of course is a great way to silence opposition in any argument.

I do not hate homosexuals, nor do they intimidate me. I believe they can find freedom through Jesus Christ, and I am thankful that many are.

Contrary to popular opinion, people are not born gay. Every legitimate study has proven that sexual orientation is a learned behavior.  An individual struggling with his or her sexual orientation does not validate homosexuality.

Thousands of Americans struggle with numerous addictions such as alcohol, and gambling abuse.  Should we tell these people that they were born with these addictions, and as such should embrace this life style?

Gay marriage is not a civil rights issue! The defiance of the laws that discriminated against the black community during the 60s is entirely different than the gay rights issue.

An individual’s race is a matter of birth, while sexual orientation is not.

If the courts legalize gay marriage, it will then be discriminatory to refuse to hire a person on the basis of sexual orientation. Churches and other organizations will be forced to hire gays or be charged with discrimination.

Gay education will be required curriculum in our public schools, from K through 12th grade, and history books will be rewritten to feature the contributions of gay men and women.

Allow the definition of marriage to be changed to include gays, and a precedent will be set. Every other fringe group in the country will line up to get their place in line.

Who would have ever imagined 100 years ago that we would even be seriously considering such a thing as gay marriage?

.

Liberals Are Tolerant

The media refuses to report the fact that the gay community is anything but tolerant!

Start Thinking Right

The left celebrates itself as “tolerant.”  If you agree with them, they celebrate your right to your opinion.

But if they don’t agree with you, they physically attack you; they spit at you; they spray poison at you.

“Tolerance” in the mind of the left is to act like demoniacs to anyone and everyone who doesn’t think exactly like they do.

And liberal “tolerance” is profoundly fascist: the liberal disagrees with his or her target, and therefore that target is “intolerant,” and there in the name of “tolerance” the liberal can take ANY measure to prevent the “other” from being allowed to have any voice.

VIDEO: Attacked by “Tolerance”
By TFP PRESS RELEASE
April 30, 2012

How same-sex “marriage” advocates use violence
against traditional marriage supporters

In this newly released video, volunteers with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) describe how they were violently…

View original post 2,673 more words

Obama is Bad News for America!

Lu Pritchett is one of corporate America’s true living legends — a former P & G executive, an acclaimed author, a dynamic teacher, and one of the world’s most highly rated speakers.

It was he who changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as “Partnering”.

You may remember a previous letter he wrote in 2009 to Obama and the New York Times which went viral.

From a speech given by Lou Pritchett April 15, 2012

“I was born in year two of the Great Depression (1931) and spent the first 10 years of my life, influenced by the extreme hardships of the depression. By today’s standards my family was about a mile below today’s so called ‘poverty level’; but if you never ‘had’ – – doing without was not so ‘bad’. Borrowing shoes to graduate from the 8th grade didn’t seem at all demeaning because most of the 8th graders did the same thing.

In June 1944, my only brother, Joe, was killed in action on Utah Beach in Normandy, France during the D-Day landings. Exactly one year later, my father died and left me, my mother, and my sister to go it alone, and alone we went. My mother went to work at a department store, my sister dropped out of school and joined her, and I went to work shining shoes on the streets of Memphis for a dime a shine. Government assistance was not available, and if it were I am confident my mother would have refused it, because she never wanted the government involved in our lives.

I mention this bit of personal history to help you understand that millions of Americans, including your parents and grandparents, grew up like me during the Great Depression and never expected nor wanted the government to offer them anything other than an opportunity, and now to see what Obama is trying to do to our country tends to make you crazy.

As some of you know, my “Scare Me” letter went viral with millions of hits on the internet during the past 3 years. I have now written a follow-up letter, which I will now share with you.

“In April 2009, I sent President Obama and the New York Times a letter titled “You Scare Me” because, as a candidate, he promised to “fundamentally transform America.” Now, after observing this performance for over three years, he no longer scares me, he terrifies me for the following reasons:

FIRST: He has done more to damage America’s standing in the world, to lower the standard of living in America, to impoverish future generations, and to shake our faith in the country’s future than any other American president in history.

SECOND: With a compliant Democrat congress, a lapdog media, and a weak, almost nonexistent Republican opposition, he has shattered the American dream of job security, home ownership, and rugged individualism for millions of Americans and has poisoned and divided our civil society with his politics of envy, class warfare, race warfare, and religious warfare, which he is using as fundamental building blocks for his ‘socialist’ agenda.

THIRD: Culturally, he remains totally out of touch with traditional American values.  This has absolutely nothing to do with race or where he was born, rather it has everything to do with where, how and with whom he was raised, schooled, educated, trained, and associates with still today.

FOURTH: He has surrounded himself with naive academicians, lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and socialist leaning czars who arrogantly think and behave exactly as he does. People who offer no balanced suggestions, or devil’s advocate positions, and think in lock step with him that big government is the answer to all our problems.

FIFTH: He not only encourages, but aids and abets the unionization of all American industry, the albatross around the neck of the free market. In turn, they provide the money and muscle to intimidate his opponents.

SIXTH: He has increased the national debt by over 30% in just three years. If re-elected, and this rate of increase continues, America will be burdened with an unsustainable 20 trillion dollar debt which will result in the country’s financial death. Recovery will be impossible; America will be the Greece of 2016.

SEVENTH: Given his fanatical beholding to the ‘environmental’ and ‘man-caused global warming’ fringe,  he has deliberately discouraged U.S. fossil fuel exploration and production, while wasting billions of tax payer dollars on solar, wind, and algae experiments. He refuses to accept that oil, gas, and coal are not America’s enemies, they are America’s assets which, properly managed, could make us energy independent within a generation.

EIGHTH: He views the U.S. as a power in retreat which abused its World dominance. Therefore he systematically apologizes round the world. This past March, he whispered to Russian President Medvedev – “This is my last election. After my election, I will have more flexibility”. Just what is the secret that Obama and Putin are concealing from the American people until after the election?? With what other leaders has he made similar secret agreements?

NINTH: And finally, after all his missteps, bad decision making, poor management, and zero leadership, the fact that he has the audacity to seek re-election should terrify every American.

I predict that if re-elected, future historians and political interpreters will look back at the eight year period 2008-2016, and conclude “the 44th President of the U.S. allowed the takers to overpower the payers, which resulted in the greatest economy in history vanishing from the face of the Earth”.  Farewell America, the World will really miss you!!”

Lou Pritchett April 15, 2012

It is my hope and prayer that this letter will also go viral and serve as a ‘wake up’ call to Americans of all political leanings, convincing them that never before in U.S. history has so much depended on Americans understanding that we are facing one of the greatest crisis’s in U.S. history. Convincing them that this election will be won not by letters to the editor, political speeches, or radio and TV sound bites.

No!! It will be won by those with a conviction, with a belief, and with a willingness to pay  the price in helping put the most enlightened voters in the polling booth on November 6.

Let me end on my favorite quote, which I think is very appropriate for each of us today:

“TO EVERY MAN, THERE COMES IN HIS LIFETIME, THAT SPECIAL MOMENT, WHEN HE IS PHYSICALLY TAPPED ON THE SHOULDER AND OFFERED THE CHANCE TO DO A VERY SPECIAL THING, UNIQUE TO HIM AND FITTED TO HIS TALENT; WHAT A TRAGEDY IF THAT MOMENT FINDS HIM UNPREPARED OR UNQUALIFIED FOR THE WORK WHICH WOULD BE HIS FINEST HOUR.”

Those words spoken by Winston Churchill over 70 years ago are very appropriate for all Americans today. For, if each of us is prepared and is qualified, then 6 November 2012 just might be our Nation’s, finest hour as we reclaim this “shining city on the hill” from the ravages of Obama Socialism.

IT IS NOW OR NEVER FELLOW PATRIOTS!! GOD HELP US IF WE FAIL!!

 

Iran’s Sleeper Cells in the United States

By David Zucchino Los Angeles Times

ARLINGTON, Va. — His disguise consists of a blue surgeon’s mask, sunglasses and a baseball cap that reads “Free Iran.” A small modulator distorts his voice. He uses a pseudonym, Reza Kahlili.

He lives in fear, he says, because his years as a paid spy for the CIA inside Iran have made him an assassination target of Iran’s government. He worries about his wife and children, who live with him in California.

At the same time, implausibly, he has become one of the most influential and outspoken voices in the U.S. advocating the overthrow of the Iranian government.

For the last two years, Kahlili has gone semipublic with a memoir, a blog, op-ed pieces and invitation-only speeches at think tanks. He warns that Iran operates terrorist sleeper cells inside the United States and is determined to build nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. The U.S. should respond, he argues, by supporting the opposition inside Iran.

He travels furtively between appearances, working as a Pentagon consultant and as a member of a domestic security task force.

“There’s probably nobody better on our side in explaining the mind-set of those in power in Iran,” said Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA military analyst who directs the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. “He understands the ideological sources of Iran’s nuclear program.”

U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Kahlili has convinced him of the importance of supporting the opposition and hardening sanctions against Iran.

“I thought I knew a lot about Iran until meeting with him,” King said on a New York political radio program in January. At the time, Kahlili was a guest and King was a guest-host, but the two had previously met in the congressman’s office.

“If you’re going to take this issue seriously, the one person you have to consult with and read his writings is Reza Kahlili,” King said.

In a quiet hotel lounge in Arlington, Kahlili is not wearing his disguise or using his voice modulator for a meeting with a reporter.

“You’d be shocked by how easily agents from the Revolutionary Guard come and go inside the United States every day,” Kahlili says in a near-whisper, bent over a table in a dark corner.

A soft-spoken man in his mid-50s, Kahlili is wearing jeans, a sports shirt and a black coat. He’s of average height and weight, with a smattering of facial hair.

He made certain he wasn’t followed, he says, and performed a quick security check of the hotel.

“They’d kill me if they could find me,” he says of Iranian agents.

Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer in Washington, D.C., said he had confirmed that Kahlili was a longtime operative of a U.S. intelligence agency, adding: “He has insights on Iran most people in the U.S. intelligence community don’t have.”

For covert operatives, clearance agreements with the CIA often prohibit public acknowledgment of the agreement itself or of the CIA. A CIA spokesman, Todd D. Ebitz, said the agency had no comment on Kahlili.

Brian Weidner, program coordinator for Iran instruction at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, confirmed that Kahlili is a paid lecturer for the Pentagon agency. Other instructors are videotaped, Kahlili says, but his lectures are audio-only to protect his identity.

***

Kahlili says he lived a double life until the mid-1990s, passing along secrets to the CIA and recruiting Revolutionary Guards for the agency. In a sense, he resumed his double identity after publishing his 2010 memoir; he was now a former covert agent who had thrust himself into the public eye.

He rarely leaves home — “my bunker,” he jokes — and shuns social situations.

For years, his mother in Iran berated him for working for a regime she despised; she died never knowing about his CIA spy work, he says. His children know nothing of his background. His Iranian wife was unaware of his spying for years, and was hurt, angry and terrified when he finally told her.

“It took a long time for that to heal, and for her to understand why I did it,” Kahlili says. Though his wife is pleased that he has publicized Iran’s human rights abuses, he says, she has begged him to go back into hiding.

He is pained by regrets. “I put my family in danger without giving it much thought,” he says. “They didn’t know what I’d done, but they were in as much danger as I was.”

The spy story Kahlili tells in his book, and in several interviews with The Times, features coded messages, disinformation, clandestine meetings and international intrigue.

After graduating from USC, Kahlili returned to Iran just before the 1979 revolution toppled the Shah. A childhood friend recruited him into the Revolutionary Guard, where he gained an insider’s access to the new Islamic government — and where he was to turn against the regime.

The Guard executed teenage girls for associating with opposition groups, but first raped them to deny them the heavenly paradise guaranteed to virgins. One of Kahlili’s best friends and the man’s two siblings were tortured and executed.

Eventually, he persuaded his superiors to let him fly to Los Angeles, telling them that his aunt there was ill. He looked up the FBI in the phone book and persuaded two agents to meet with him. They sent him to a CIA handler in London. He passed polygraph exams and returned to Iran as Wally, a secret agent who communicated via coded letters and radio messages.

Kahlili says Iranian terrorist cells inside the U.S. have weapons, explosives, money and safe houses; they use contacts with Mexican and Latin American drug cartels to smuggle explosives and weapons into the U.S.

“They have very detailed information about sensitive sites such as bridges, railroads, airports, military bases, power plants, nuclear sites, water plants, railway stations,” he says.

If the U.S. or Israel attacked Iran, he says, sleeper cells inside the U.S. would launch suicide bombings and sabotage. Iran would attack Israel, and U.S. bases in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, he warns.

Kahlili says Iran has intelligence agents inside American universities, Islamic cultural centers and charitable institutions, posing as academics, policy experts and officers of nonprofits. They try to influence policymakers to encourage negotiations in order to give Iran time to develop nuclear weapons.

Kahlili says the Iranian leadership is motivated by Mahdism, the messianic belief that the 12th imam of Shiism, the Mahdi, will one day reappear to establish universal Islam. The trigger is the destruction of Israel.

Sanctions against Iran won’t work, Kahlili argues. “It’s not about the economy. It’s about ideology,” he says.

***

Inside the hotel lounge, Kahlili appears worn and weary. He glances around. He says Iranian agents are trying to find him and his family.

“I have a lot of anxiety — I feel a lot of pressure,” he says. “I feel sick sometimes and I can’t sleep.”

There is only so much he can do to protect his family, he says. “If [Iran] found out about me, we’d be sitting ducks,” he said.

He smiles wanly. “Sometimes I think I should stop,” he says. “I think I must be crazy.”

But in the same breath, he also says the American public must be told about what is happening in Iran and what could happen in the United States. Iran’s regime must fall, he says.

And then he is gone, out the busy hotel lobby and into the night, a man with an assumed name living a life on the margins, running to and from his past.

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