The “Center” and the Cross


HERE … having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which is contrary to us.  He has NOW taken out of the way (EVERY SIN) having nailed it to the CROSS..so far be it from me to boast except in the CROSS  of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Colossians 2:15   Galatians 6:14

 Intro

I praise magnify and adore the LORD with other brothers and sisters in a small storefront building . The building  sits in a small Florida town . It faces south to a railroad track and  west to a park. The park surrounds  a small pond . In the park ,a statute of Ray Charles sits immovable like a royal guard .  Day and night brother Ray is poised playing a  piano . Ready to strike notes we never ever hear . His head is tilted  slightly upward as a reminder that something blind ,weak, and insignificant became insightful and strong right here in Greenville Florida. 

“That’s not really Ray Charles ” we teach the young ones  . “it’s just a thing to remind us about him”  we say.

But ,Ray Charles is not the only great story from Greenville. There are volumes of stories flowing from this town about God and Jesus and  all the Holy Ghost’s battles in this town. If there were a statue for every story in Greenville from every  spiritual battle and every valiant warrior, we could rebuild ,yet again ,the legacy of Rome. But now how many of The Lord’s sit  stoically still with  hands poised ready ?  How many spiritual statues await with eager longing?(1)

The Cross Invisible

The stories rumble from the ground with every passing train. Out and  over and in the building where I worship there are dramas . Many twisting  and turning  tales of faith filled fights that became healings of bodies and minds and spirits. They are valiant stories. Stories of folks pulling out the Sword to cauterize addictions. They are gentle stories . Stories of full grown folks becoming children again in the arms of “Abba”  “Daddy” their God and Father . (2) There are volumes  of stories on the shelves of time in a spiritual space .

A story about a wooden cross  first began for me ,in my living room, where a remnant of my church family first met. . We were meeting 50 miles away from Greenville . We came from many places together in a place that had no name. But,  God gives everything a name. So ,one day , He gave a name for our meeting to a young man .(3) The young man was so excited to have the name that he wrote it inside a big Bible dictionary. He wrote ” to the church of the Tuesday nights” It was easy for us  to live up to that name. We met Tuesday after Tuesday night. And, when we invited folks to come, they always remembered what night to come by our name.

In the “church of the Tuesday nights” , Brother Chris preached and teached behind a flowery green end-table topped  with a cross and his bible. We bent our kness on a green rug and we believed with Jesus for everything God promised. That was a story from long ago.

Pepsi stains and watermarks speckle both table and cross now . They stand tucked away in a small room silently speaking a story better than my writing could ever tell. They gather dust like ashes while I drive to Greenville on Sunday morning.

When we moved to the building in Greenville, we did not have a table or a cross. It was all new because Pastor and his family were bringing something new to Greenville. He had a podium for his bible and a new name for his meeting. We didn’t have a cross and we weren’t called a church.  We were named “Renewed Life Outreach Center”.

I thought a lot about why it might be named “center” and not “church”.  I was old thinking when I was younger. And in those days I always would give questions to heaven where answers either come down or where the question would be held hostage.  It was before I learned to TRUST.

This particular question was kept hostage with no earthly answer. But when  I prayed I had to call it something. So, with  Jesus I called it “His church”. (4) But when I was around folks, I would forget the name so often  that I would call it silly names like “skeeter hawk revival” .  And sometimes ,when I wrote a check, I would write “Renewed Life Outreach CHURCH”.

But God , in His mercy, would not let me hurt my head thinking about why we weren’t called church too long .He held the question in His heavenly grip and slowly released an answer to me.

He began speaking first, in Corinth where Paul first had “church”. He took me there where I saw how the apostle Paul set up a place to meet right in a center of the town of Corinth . It was an open storefront and just like my “church” , it was first used as a market .

No one in Corinth that I met could tell me what Paul  called his church . At least they could not tell me what it was called before Paul wrote to us “the church of God in Corinth”.(5)  Maybe he called it a “meeting place” they said.

From reading his letters to these Corinthian folks it surely was some kind of a meeting place!  It was  a meeting place for the dead in sin to be made alive in Christ. It was  a meeting place of deliverance from the sevenfold troubles of pride , gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, wrath and envy that caused divisions among folks in this first congregation.(6) It was such a meeting place for exchanging “the old” for “the new” that it  could have easily been named  “Renewed Life Outreach Center” .  And Paul , the preacher, might have easily stood at the doorway  of the enterance advertising ” cash in those rags for robes, renew your life here”

 


And, like Renewed Life outreach center, he probably didn’t have a cross in his building either.  He seemed to talk about the cross as a message and not an object.  He wrote words about  it’s invisible effect  but never as an object  to wear or draw .(6)
In fact,  folks around Corinth  told me that they did not have any crosses in town for a long time. Things of life ,like fishes and peacocks ,spoke the effect of the cross from one believer to another. https://churchpop.com/2015/08/14/8-ancient-christian-symbols-and-their-hidden-meanings/ Rumors , rubble and written books all say that the cross was an object of shame in the early church.  It did not speak of freedom but ,instead ,was a symbol of the death of slaves. (7)

 

Folks made signs with their hands of the cross 200 years before they drew them .It really wasn’t until the 4th century that a cross was first brought visible as a display of faith. Constantine abolished crucifixion as was practiced in Rome and brought forth the Cross as a display of this victory. They say that brother Constantine might have had the right spirit about the work of Jesus’s particular  cross. He knew the Spirit spoke that Jesus physical cross was used victorious over the devil and death.

But the Devil took Constantines thinking away from the Spirit of the cross and had many people killed who didn’t see the cross in the way Constatine did.   The Beauty of the cross mixed again with Bloody sinners in the Crusades and became a message of death and slavery.

All the rest of His Story about the cross is a tug of war between the true message freedom and the Devil’s message of slavery.(8)

The “chi rho” symbol adopted by Constatine meaning “to Christ” the victory

The Cross Visible


It wasn’t four hundred years but, just   four years that Renewed Life Out reach church was without a cross.  It did not seem like  four years. It just felt like we were as  Paul’s Corinth church. And it wasn’t for lack of believing in the cross. The whole mission of RLOC was “birthed out of the desire to see Gods people walking in and possessing all that was purchased for them by Jesus’s death ON THE CROSS” http://www.facebook.com/RenewedLifeOutreachCenter . Similarly ,a sign outside our building was wooden with a painting of a purple cross and our name.


“Where’s your cross” a visitor asked.

I held the cross on my neck. “No I mean a real live cross. You should have one” she insisted.

We just don’t have a cross” I told the visitor who asked

“we believe in the Jesus’s work on the cross”. I said , reciting something I heard a pastor once say.

She looked at me , then looked again around the room as if for a lost best friend. She then hurried out the back door facing the railroad and never came back. She eventually  found her friend . She found her friend in a place where a cross hung from a ceiling in a big church with colored windows.

Even though I was settled that we didn’t need a cross, I would sneak to chapels with colored windows late at night to pray alone and  see a cross .  And always, In  RLOC,  i might see the cross on the video screen from the back door on cloudy Sunday mornings .

As the four years passed, I would see more and more crosses everywhere.   I would see crosses on necks , in pictures on walls,  on tattooed  arms, ankles and chests, as screens on computers, hovering over churches, in the hands of the dying.

Every day I saw them more and more  peeking through bushes, as clouds in the sky, as breaking beams of sun, in cracks on side walks, on lattice windows and doors, even in prison gates.  One day, on Good Friday, I made a cardboard cross and took it to the park where Ray Charles sits ever so still . I wanted everyone to see the cross .

Crosses were every where in those years. And on top of that , Pastor was preaching like Paul every Sunday ,for all four years, the message of the cross. https://soundcloud.com/vunglaub/sets/the-kingdom-of-his, a playlist on #SoundCloud. The cross was a tool to see our Savior and not a trinket to throw on a night stand or hang on a wall.

He had us look at  every angle and side of the cross that could be seen. We looked so much at crosses our eyes felt splinters. Even some felt nails in their hearts and crowns on their heads. Everyone felt the work of the cross in their own individual way . 

But not many talked together about it. We just talked of hunting and knitting, eating and fasting, working and retiring, if we talked at all.  And we were a lot like that church in Corinth. Each one walking his own way.

The Cross Indivisible

But then, in the 4th year,  on April 2nd , something began to change. It was Sunday during the first worship song . Some were singing aloud , some were singing silently, some did not sing. Some had eyes open. Some had eyes shut.

Open or shut, our  eyes were chosing to see other people or problems or pain instead of the power of God. But, we centered our stance toward a podium or a screen expectant of something greater than ourselves .

As the first song played, our eyes were everywhere. There was not central place to set our eyes. There was no object that we all could converge on . Some were upward expectant at ceilings (9) , some downcast at the floor (10) . Some looking at the podium, some the screen. Some with eyes in the back of their head staring at the man or woman across the room.

Eyes were all over. Inward and outward. Eyes making judgement about what they saw. But  , that Sunday , when Houston and Roland wheeled the cross through the back door, all eyes turned to them and turned to the cross.

It came through the very door that my friend had walked out. It came during a pause of our wandering eyes and worship . It came right when I was wondering if we were a church or a center. It came when sinners were looking for Jesus and the saints were saying “jesus” while secretly sinning

The cross came when I, a sinner against a Holy God, was looking for Jesus and when, I, a saint, had been given everything  of Jesus to keep me from sinning.  It came tall wooden and varnished, with a small base, on wheels. And we all turned and looked with surprise when Pastor said “we have a cross”

“So Houston I gotta meet with you to find out about that cross” I said to Houston later that Sunday. “okay ” he said.

“I bet you got a story about that Cross ” I said in great anticipation.

“I guess “he said drying off from his baptism.

When the time came , I shot round after round of questions at Houston” “So what made you make that cross. . . oh it was you and Roland making that cross . . what were yall doing that you thought of it making a cross .  . oh an altar at the base of that cross. . . oh too big you say . . . then wheels for that cross. . . so you loaded that cross in the truck . . . what made you even think of all this . .  what made you make this cross Houston?” I paused to breathe

Houston stared at me in silence perhaps wondering if I would let him answer. I stared back trying to hold back more questions.

 “Well, Miss Vanessa,” Houston began pausing to make sure I would listen. “Well,  I saw we didn’t have a cross. and thought to my self don’t every church need a cross.?”(11)

“that’s it”

“Yep” he said

“Okay Houston. That’s  it “I said and walked away. I walked away wanting only to remember the April day the cross first stood center in the church. The answer to every question.

   The altar that Houston had only imagined drew many that day. The cross loudly preached  the answer to every question that longed for truth. It preached a surrender of more than was possible. It preached like  tounges of the Holy Ghost  in my soul saying “By The Spirit of the Cross all things are possible”. It bellowed and whispered, it wooed and wept and it awakened and warned. It was not a piece of wood at all , it became the center point in the church. It spoke the message of Jesus’s death for my sins and renewed life in my freedom from sin. And it spoke with The Spirit . The visible spoke of the INVISIBLE.(12)

The upward plank  still speaks each Sunday , every Sunday,  of how much we need our savior. And the reaching planks , where His arms bore the nails, speak of how much we need His Love for one another. What joy set before Him compelled  His outstretched arms of Love  for this church?  How generous His Spirit for  every dead church to become a LIVE and WELL church beneath These arms!

Suddenly , centered in the shadow of this cross, made by our own brothers, we touch heaven  and  we rightly touch one another with heaven and change the face of those on earth. (13) Here we are clothed by Jesus that we may rightly wear the “Renewed Life Outreach ” shirt because our hearts are “Centered” on Him. Here is His Cross. And Beneath it He finds HIS JOY , His Bride.(14)

Where’s Jesus ? He’s not on the cross” the little child asked , yesterday , on Pentacost Sunday.

“oh He’s here ” I said as I pointed to the church worshipping.” He’s off the cross He’s alive in them”

And yes, Houston,” every church needs a cross. “And every cross needs a church. Thank you dear brothers Roland and Houston for your obedience to the cross. … an obedience that gave THIS CHURCH A CENTER and the center is THE CROSS.

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

AMEN

 

Foot of the Cross Notes

  1. Romans 8 :22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together like in pains of childbirth for the revealing of the sons of God.
  2. Romans 8:15 . .  having received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughter we cry “Abba Father”
  3. Psalm 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by name
  4. Ephesians 5:27 So that he might present the Church (HIS BRIDE) to Himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
  5. I Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth , to those sanctified IN JESUS CHRIST call to be SAINTS TOGETHER with all those who in every place call upon the NAME of OUR LORD Jesus Christ both their LORD and ours.
  6. 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the MESSAGE of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  7. The letters to the Corinthians are loving instructions to a congregation who was born again as new creatures able to live free of what the ancients called “the seven deadly sins” that the enemy uses to kill God’s children.
  8. My brother named John Calvin long ago among others incited hostility against the physical image of the cross. He stated that it was” impossible to visually depict God who is invisible and transcendent therefore it is idolotry” This teaching resulted in the destruction of many crosses and art inspired by the Holy Spirit to draw sons and daughters to a deeper love for the invisible three in one reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Brother Calvin and I  are no longer friends on this matter.  I have seen again and again the cross is an visible though perishable reality of an invisible imperishable reality. And that reality is the GOSPEL.
  9. Mark 2:4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. Some look to the ceiling desperately seeking a miracle
  10. Matthew 15:27yes it is Lord” she said “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” Some look to the floor for but a crumb as a sign of a miracle
  11. Exodus 36:1Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person in whom the LORD has put ability and understanding to know how to do all the work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work according to all that the LORD HAS COMMANDED
  12. Colossians 1:15 Jesus is the (ONLY) image of the invisible GOd the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth visible and invisible . . . all things were created through Him and for HIm!
  13. The caption on the back of the “Renewed Life Outreach Center” T-shirt reads “Touching Heaven changing Earth” . It speaks of our upward reach like the upward beam of the cross to Heaven  and our outward reach in heavenly blessings as the outward beam of the cross to one another and the community.
  14. Finally Hebrew 12:2,12 we LOOK TO JESUS THE AUTHOR AN FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS DESPISING THE SHAME AND HAS SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD. . . . THEREFORE STRENGTHEN THE HANDS WHICH HANG DOWN AND FEEBLE KNEES AND MAKE STRAIGHT PATH FOR YOUR FEET SO THAT WHAT IS LAME MAY NOT BE DISLOCATED ED BUT RATHER HEALED.

Spring Planting : Good Friday 2016

girl with shovel

See to it sister that “you do not fail to obtain the grace of God: that no ‘root of bitterness’ spring up and cause you trouble . . . forgive as you have been forgiven by Christ so that you will not be outwitted by Satan. . . cause we ain’t ignorant of his designs” Hebrews 12:15 & 2 Corinthians 2:10,11

 We plant forgiveness and we wait for love to bloom. I waited a year to see the fruit of forgiveness. Now , today ,almost to the date of my planting with Jesus , I hear a pleasant report. Therefore I repost this blog as a true testimony that when you forgive as He is forgiving  you, you will surely see the blooms of the resurrection of Love in your midst!

The Big Sister’s call

Hurry , my sister it’s Spring , it’s Spring!!

Put that Stoney thing in the dirt

For We must run and sing!!

Get Shovel, Get Hoe

Lest that Bitter Thing grow!

Put that Stoney Thing in the dirt

Lest the Devil soon sow!!

 

The Little Sister’s cry

But Sister, Sister , it stings, it stings

So it never will ever feel like spring!

I’ve a wound so tender , like a boulder at my core!

No friend , no doc, no priest could speak to a thing so sore!

Or release this Stone that the Enemy threw to settle a score!

No Goliath with gall, or David with sling, or Samson so tall or Peter could bring

My heart to be healed from the hurt of this damn Stoney thing!!

The Big Sister’s call

But Sister, but Sister, it’s Spring!!

Now put that Stoney thing in the dirt!

So you can laugh and sing!

Get shovel, Get hoe

Lest that Bitter thing grow!

Put that Stoney thing in the dirt

Lest far away your heart go

 

The Little Sister’s cry

But Sister, Sister, it stings, it stings

And now there is no longer hope for my Spring

For I claim this wound as a part of my being

And I strive no more for hearing and seeing!

So many ask me “how have you been”

I just reply “I feel the effects of sin”

I carry the stone daily like a cross on my back

I sleep with it nightly tucking it in dreams and pillow sacks!

My soul never considers what it has but always talks of what it lacks.

The Big Sister’s Call

Oh Sister, dear Sister, it’s Spring

Put that stoney thing in the dirt

So you may dress in robe and ring!

Get shovel, get hoe

Lest that bitter thing grow

Put that Stoney thing in the dirt!

Perhaps to church you should go!

The Little Sister’s Cry

But Sister, Sister , in church it will stink!

I am dead like Lazarus with no life of my own to bring!

Might it stink when I bring it to others to be buried?

Besides, I have much to prove now and my time is quite harried!

It is best dear sis that I pretend it not there!

Besides, this stone on my heart is really no ones care.

Perhaps heaven will own it if I ever get there.

The Big Sister’s Plea

Oh Sister, Stubborn Sister, come out into Spring

Put that Stoney thing in the dirt

And Let Jesus do a Resurrection thing!

Get shovel, Get hoe

Lest that Bitter thing grow

Put that Stoney thing in the dirt

Let your Spirit yield and your Pride forgo!!

The Little Sister’s Fear

But Sister, my Sister, I will be all alone

As I rip away from my heart this UNFORGIVING STONE

And I cry out to Jesus “If only you were home!!?”

Oh Sister, your prayers cause me to quiver with this shovel and hoe in hand

You are speaking strange words in a tongue I do not understand

Oh sister , Oh Sister will I be all alone?

The Big Sister prophesies

Sweet sister, Sweet Sister, See He is your Spring!!

When you put that Stoney thing in the dirt , watch a LILLIE HE BRING

How free you will be and a new song you will sing

and then,  . my Sister You WILL KNOW HE is SPRING!

The Little Sister Laments as Jesus Plants

Oh Sister , O Sister, Look now He weeps on my Heart!

The stone falls off gently , from tender edges it parts.

He lays it deep in the dirt of HIS EMPTY GRAVE!!

And grave side He calls me “child” no longer “slave”

Oh sister, O sister, why so long did I wait?

Holding tight to this hurt and bound to it’s hate?!!

I hurt Him so deeply with this stone on my heart!!

It is buried today Sister, forever to depart!!

Thinking on these things …

WHEN I THINK ON THESE THINGS. . . . . .

A poem for Jesus from the children of God . . . .

img_3981

 

When I think on these things ,

I see you are most TRUE!

When Song and Dance Enter THE BRIDE, each Sunday, ANEW
And Praising Hands Lift HER many Troubles to Troubles that flew
And YOUR BRIDE arises tall from pew to pew.
WHEN I THINK ON THESE THINGS, I THINK OF WHAT IS TRUE!
When I think on these things,
I SEE YOU ARE SO HONEST
when Your Word and Your Voice crush every sin among us
And LOVE binds tightly to encourage hearts towards fondness
And YOUR BRIDE grows big with your created ONENESS
WHEN I THINK ON THESE THINGS , I THINK OF WHAT IS HONEST
When I think on these things
I SEE YOU ARE ALWAYS JUST
When Prayers prayed rightly cast out pride and fear and lust
And anointing oils keep eternal flow dissolving deadly rust
And your BRIDE stands strong in  your Boldness and Trust
WHEN I THINK ON THESE THINGS, I THINK OF WHAT IS JUST
When I think on these things
I SEE YOU AS PERFECTLY PURE
When children hear Jesus and look certain and sure
And the” least of these” reminds each heart of what LOVE will cure
And the Bride lies down to a Faith that will forever endure
WHEN I THINK ON THESE THINGS , I THINK OF WHAT IS PURE
WHATEVER WE THINK ON TOGETHER SEEMS MOST LOVELY,
LIKE THE RADIANCE OF YOUR FACE on THE DAY YOU FIRST SAW ME
WHATEVER WE THINK ON SEEMS MOST ADMIRABLE

LIKE THE CROWN ON YOUR HEAD THE DAY YOU FIRST DIED FOR ME

WHATEVER WE THINK ON TOGETHER SEEMS MOST EXCELLENT
LIKE THE GRIP OF YOUR HAND TODAY AS YOU LEAD ME

WHEN I THINK ON THESE THINGS.

I WANT TO THINK ON  THESE THINGS

WITH YOU

ALL THE MORE!!

HAVE THIS MIND AMONG YOURSELVES, WHICH IS YOURS IN CHRIST JESUS

PHILLIPIANS 2:5

 

A righteousness not my own

At times we must return to remember what The Lord once tenderly taught us. This is a post refined and matured from 3 years ago . Difficulties and darts seemed to  dull the glorious truth once planted so deep in my spirit But. . .He waters His word with our tears and so it grows !. I thank my church for  refreshing me in truth and  growing me up in this word …image

 

When we first enter church on Sunday  there is a sense that all of what the preacher is saying, and all of what the songs are proclaiming,  and all of what the folks are “naming and claiming”, is very far away.

Entering , we realize how we have forgotten much from the week before. There were so  many large and heavy words said in the church that were not said outside the church on the days that followed Sunday. We enter with the shadow and dust  of the world. It follows us in like a dark cloud .

Yet quickly , ” the dust settles” and the veil of fog lifts when Pastor prays. At that moment , the Holy Ghost, like a stage hand, draws back the dark shadow of dust and fog . With a strong arm He pulls back the curtain to introduce God. BEHOLD YOUR GOD !!!The Holy Ghost shouts!! He shouts in whispers deep into souls.

Here, at that moment , God becomes very big and very glorious in our minds . And , at that moment , when the songs are sung, God becomes very strong and able in our hearts . And , at that moment, when Pastor preaches, God becomes very near and pressing in our minds . And , at that moment ,when the people touch us and pray , God becomes very Merciful and Healing.He becomes present. He becomes  Just like Jesus in our midst.

BUT, the moment we leave the door, that moment when we echo our last “good-by”, all His glory begins to shrink. There seems to be a commonness of life that steals the glorious. We sense someone has stolen the “garment of praise” and “the robe of righteousness” right off our back .

To begin to walk ” in faith” , to even write this  is to press into greater obedience.  I began to wrestle as I do on Sunday afternoons. I begin  to hold a fear of losing sight of His worth and glory. I have given my writing to Him and felt always that to privately write Him was my act of worship. At times,  He would have me write to others but never publicly.

Worship is where God magnifies Himself to us and we in turn adore Him. So God would do so when I would write. It was like entering church for me, an entering in and being dressed by God in His glory and His righteousness.

My greatest fear was that I would either become self-righteous or would fail if I tried to glorify Him in public. This is how the enemy keeps us from worshipping Our Lord with our gifts.

So also, He hinders us as we go into the world. We all carry His Word as our worship and have Christ’s commission to proclaim. But , This is sooooo often  held back by our greatest fears of self-righteous pride or of shame and failure. This is when we operate from ourselves, our feelings.  The enemy has us think we will be stripped of all of His presence as we go out , as we obey a call from the Spirit . We suddenly  feel naked reaching  hard to grab clothes of righteousness to put on. We reach for clothes when we are already dressed IN HIM and BY HIM!!!.


BUT GOD.. But God we hear from Pastor Chris , From every worship song , from every prayer.   “But God” does not leave us undressed.   When we leave the door of the church, we feel naked of His presence only because we have let our minds forget we are clothed!!!!We are a royal priesthood dressed in the most glorious gowns and robes ! Designer Gowns and Robes labeled “Jesus”.

We are not like the royal one  in the children’s story by Hans Christian Anderson (1837). In the story , “The Emperor’s new clothes” a king commissions a designer to make clothes. He is fooled that he has the best designed suit but ,  he is actually naked . The king displays nakedness in the street  thinking he is clothed.  How often we are like this royal one ? When we try to design our own clothes are we not like this foolish emperor? In an opposition to the truth , we are foolish in our thinking when we, ones who are clothed in Christ,  think we are naked ?

As the Emperor did not know he was an old naked man when he went before the crowd, we do not know we are a clothed “new” man when we go into the world.  When we forget that Christ has bore EVERY sin from dark sins of the body or mind or tongue to the self-righteous sins of body , mind and tongue  on Himself.  (Galatians 5:21) , we forget we are saved.  We forget we are covered eternally in “robes of righteousness”.  We forget we are pure children and “if children then heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ!” What Christ is wearing today, at this moment , is what we are wearing.

To look at this glorious truth and forget it is called  “double mindedness’ (James- 1:8, 22-25).  Like the Emperor we do not know what we look like.  But to know what we look like is to have a single mind, the mind of Christ.  The Scriptures of  Isaiah 61:10  describe how we are dressed: “with garments of salvation (SOZO) and robes of righteousness”

As my mind agrees in greater certainty  with my spirit that holds the clothes of Isaiah 61:10, I then agree with God.  And , only as I agree with God ,can I write this blog , can I go and pray, can I love , can I produce fruit or gifts or desire my greatest treasure and worship Jesus with my whole life. !!

The glory of God does not only  sit inside a few moments on Sunday morning. It sits on the inside of me. It sits certain and bright.   It sits on the inside of us His Bride , The Church !! It has dressed us beautifully in a “robe of righteousness” and a “garment of  salvation” that we may live and act to the “praise of His glorious grace”.

Our Rightness/ His Righteousness at RLOC 1/31/16 #SoundCloudhttps://soundcloud.com/vunglaub/our-rightness-his on

Abiding Above the Rifle of ” Roof” (living in Psalm 91)

 This is a letter to my brothers and sisters at my church, Renewed Life Outreach. It is current and true.  It is a call for revival.  For revival is truly built on the blood of martyrs.  And we, in a small town of 800 are seeing many martyrs have shed their blood overseas and now at home in the US.  

This is a declaration to the Enemy of our Lord that the victory is won and we are not afraid. Thank you Emanual AME for being a modern day cloud of witnesses to us at Renewed Life Outreach Center , Greenville Florida.  To our God be all glory. 

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My most dearest brothers and sisters of common blood, of the Blood of Jesus:

I have been awakened in the night since we have met on Tuesday  with Psalm 91.  I am most certain I have been awakened by the Holy Spirit.  He wakes me with the word we spoke to one another in the Haffee Hays Park.  He has wakened me for four nights saying “ you will not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day”. He wakens me with “a thousand may fall at your side ten thousand at you right hand but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked”.  He wakens me with questions He wants to answer. He awakens me to write to you .  He awakens me to a “secret place of the Most High . .

IN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY

On Tuesday we rejoiced in the Word of the Lord in the Park.  We spoke of our secret place right there at the right hand of Daddy where Jesus gives to us any and every spiritual blessing we ask for.  We spoke of how Jesus longs to draw us to his perfect Heart , under His wing.  We talked of how we hear he weeps like he did over Jereselum also over Greenville. The Spirit called that we would come close to hear His heart to find refuge and from there we would  see His kingdom.

Snuggled beneath His wing, we see  so many great ways that He protects us and cares for us. We are never in want .  We are never harmed.  Rattlesnakes in our yard do not touch us.  Viruses and germs stalk after us to no avail. Homelessness and hunger have no place for us.  And gunshots. like arrows ,fly past us all day.  We only look with our eyes, perhaps weeping like Jesus, for the recompense of the wicked.  All because we hold fast to Him in Love.  All because we hold fast to Him in Love, He delivers us.

In the park, we were distracted by children and cars and  heat. Surely the 100 degree heat reminded us that everything withers. . . . Everything but His word.  “ It is all that remains” we agreed.  And Joseph opened praying, “God let your kingdom come, your will be done by your Word”

After our worship and study , we walked to RLOC in an awareness of the protection of our great Father . We heard that  Pastor was not able to come to Bible Study. But we feared not for him because we believed Psalm 91 for him as well.  We only missed him.  We all missed him for He had led us for many weeks from Ephesians to Romans. Verse  by verse , he equipped  us with great words from Daddy.

Last Tuesday night , our souls were parked at Romans 12:1 where we were left weeks before “Therefore , in view of God’s mercy we present our bodies as Living Sacrifices Holy and acceptable unto God for this is our reasonable act of worship”. We had been in prayer for weeks after this verse.We were in prayer and study about the gifts that come to us to  use to worship in this way to Daddy.  Through prayer and fasting,   The Holy Spirit had been putting fire under these Living Sacrifices. .Every  soul at RLOC seemed to burn brighter.   Daddy was teaching us the depth of this verse.

Daddy God did not cancel Bible Study. He kept it with Brother Roy as the leader because he wanted us to hear testimonies.Testimonies of Daddy’s work.  In every testimony we  knew all that was said came from the Word manifesting itself in the life of a lost child found by Daddy . We had learned this Word as we had been taught by Pastor.  We saw how true the Lord had been  to His word that says again and again to His children “I love YOU”

It was if Daddy Himself was giving testimony of His salvation for the most unlikely of all . . . US. He was saying in every testimony: I created you as my child. I created you for my glory.  You exchanged the glory of God for a lie.  You sinned and fell short to my glory.(Romans 1 &3)   But , I the Lord ,came to rescue you.I came as Jesus the exact imprint of Me God.  I came to buy you back to Myself, my purpose for you, for My glory.(Ephesians 2)  I died to do this.  I God , died for you through my son.  I have bought you with a price . You are not your own, nor the devil’s nor any created thing’s . You are mine. Choruses of testimonies resounded: I once was lost but now Im found. . . therefore I give myself away that He who saved me may be glorified, magnified, and shown worthy!

Brother Roy ended the night in a prayer quoting from Revelation 12:11 “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” He did not quote the rest of the verse but, in a day, it was displayed in a church not far away.

“Isn’t Psalm 91 awesome? And those testimonies. . . that was awesome” I said to Joseph on the phone the next night

“yeah, but did you hear what happened in South Carolina?” He replied.

“No . . . .”

Soon I did hear. I heard that  on the night after our bible study, in Emanuel AME church in  Charleston South Carolina a few folks gathered with the same mind as the brothers and sisters at  RLOC.  Like minded brothers and sisters , by blood, by the Blood of Jesus gathered to worship their King. Reports say a young man entered the church for the first time.  Reports say they welcomed the young man into their Bible Study.  Reports say he listened to them for an hour.  Reports say he almost received prayer. Reports say he said “they were so loving it was hard to do what I came to do”.  He came to shoot them dead

. Had not Psalm 91 been written for them? I heard myself ask.  Had not the Church of Emanuel of South Carolina  who were dwelling in the secret place of the Most High been in the Shadow of His protection? Doesn’t Emanuel mean God with us? Where was God?  Why could  they not have just seen the recompense of this wicked young man? Why did they not get saved from the arrow that flew by day? Why did you not save them from the deadly pestilence that stalked into that church that  night?  Daddy why? And Daddy how can we sit in the park in Greenville and think we are any more safe? Or how can we be in RLOC and think we are in an even safer place? If your word is most true,  and I know it is Daddy, show me , show me the glory of it amidst this tragedy.

“When we can’t see His Hand we TRUST HIS HEART” Pastor has told us again and again.

“WHERE IS YOUR HEART DADDY ? WHERE IS YOUR HEART JESUS? I MUST KNOW THAT I MIGHT SERVE YOU !” We all must know because  there is a Louder voice saying what  Brother Roy prayed on Tuesday night . . .”a Loud voice from heaven says “NOW the SALVATION and POWER and THE KINGDOM of OUR GOD and the AUTHORITY of CHRIST has come for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down who accuses them day and night before our God .  AND THEY HAVE CONQUERED HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB AND BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY FOR THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES EVEN UNTO DEATH”

UNTO DEATH IN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY 

In World War II , the chaplains would quote Psalm 91 over dying soldiers.  It did not make sense for that fact to be shared on Tuesday afternoon on the 16th of June.We were but Children of God hovered over by a Good Daddy.   But now , on June 20th,  I am compelled to think of us as soldiers.   We must see we are soldiers in a battle that has already been won.

This psalm read over and over was shared to give the soldiers a hope. And eternal end.  The psalm speaks of a current promise of protection for the believer and an eternal protection promised exclusively to the believer.  In this life both unbeliever and believer are given protection.  The unbeliever , a limited protection. The believer , an unlimited protection.  The unbeliever is not protected from eternal damnation (unending death)  and hell.  The believer is protected from both death and hell.  Though our bodies die , we live forever.  This is not so for the unbeliever, Therefore there is indeed a limit on the protection THE Most High offers the unbeliever.

So, in WWII , when bullets  and arrows literally flew by day and pestilence walked at night and ten thousand fell at their sides , there was comfort, great comfort in Psalm 91. There was great comfort  in hearing the chaplin read to the dying believing soldier “Jesus covers you with His feathers and under the wings of God you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler”. This is the HOPE of a certain end.

As Angela said in the park “its like we are strapped to Jesus. Always Buckled to Him FOREVER”

“Sheild and buckler” I awoke in the night hearing the Spirit say again and again “Sheild and buckler”.

Awake, I saw in my mind  the young man speak to the boy Roof:  “you don’t want to do this” . It is said a certain young man at the  Bible study stood before the shooter to try to talk him out of his planned assault.  It is said that his argument failed in the mind of the boy and the boy proceeded to aim his gun at the believer’s aunt.  In order to save his aunt, the believing man lunged in front of the gun.  He was ready to take the bullet for his aunt.  He was ready to die.

NOW for a good man one might die, but God show HIS LOVE for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us”. Romans 5 preaches in the night to me. The young man could die for the body of his aunt but not for her soul.  He is shot.  Eight others are shot.  But Christ remains the shield and buckler for the young believing man who went from life to life while saving the body of his aunt. His life testifies “The Lord took the bullet for you sinner”.

I remember again what Dylan Roof said “ It was hard to do what I came to do because they were so loving”. Love delayed the work of the enemy. A love poured lavishly into a surrendered heart delayed the devil. The Love of God poured down from heaven into the hearts of a dozen of believers halted a man equipped in mind and weapon and backed by Satan. He was held hostage to the Love of Jesus for over an hour!! Love almost stopped the shooting.

Suddenly I saw RLOC, Daddy’s church in Greenville  ,holding Satan’s minions hostage through the Love of JESUS. Still Nine believing children of God, servants of King Jesus , were killed.  Murdered. In a moment amidst the Shadow of the Almighty., Nine saved souls murdered  in the sight of three who looked with with their eyes.

IN scenes of WWII we see the blood of thousands  drip onto and  past the dying soldiers eyes.  Meanwhile chaplains pray desparately from Psalm 91 “ a thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand but it will not come near you .you will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked” . They say that blood was everywhere in the church. They say not everyone was shot.  They say Roof wanted to leave a witness to the crime because he said he was going to kill himself and he wanted someone left to tell the story. A few remained alive covered with the feathers of the Most High.

A few were there with  Jesus weeping as Jesus said “ Roof, Roof, my created boy that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to you.  How often would I have gathered you a a hen gathers her chick under her wing but you were not willing. See now your house is left desolate. “  Matthew 24. With His wings outstretched , the shots fired.  Only the victims  found “refuge” in His wings.

SEEING SALVATION IN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY

Another night is interrupted.  Aching for my church I pray the prophecy of psalm 91:14-16 that we spoke over each other.  “ Daddy because they hold fast to you in love you say you will deliver them, you will protect them, because they know you name and when they to all to you You will answer them . . . You will be with them in trouble you will rescue them and honor them with long life. . . . . “ I weep for the church of Emanueal With long life Daddy. . . . what about with long life. . . . I ask Daddy. He answers with the last six words of Psalm 91.

“I Will Show Him MY SALVATION”. I cannot sleep.

Though I never watch TV , on Friday afternoon the whole town had TVs showing the bond hearing of the shooter , Dylan Roof.  Broken children and parents spoke from hearts that knew deeply what  the angel Micheal knew , vengenace and judgement are assigned only to God. Vengance belongs to the Lord to speak but Salvation belongs to us to speak.

Clips of family members speaking echo in my mind.  They spoke so much forgiveness I could but hear my Savior from the cross speak to Dylan “Father forgive him , he knew not what he did”  So the families spoke one after another of the work of God “we forgive you because He has forgiven us”  “God forgive you and have mercy on your soul.” “Take the opportunity now ” Anthony Thopson said to the young man ” Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one wo matters the most, Christ, so he can change your ways no matter what happens to you and youll be ok. Do that and you will be better off than you are right now” Suddenly, salvation was spoken.

“When you can’t see His hand Trust His heart” Pastor says again and again to us

How His heart beats louder than His wrath. The murderer stands bound by shakles of both man and Satan.  In my mind I  see him standing with a youthful innocence yet staring with a haunting emptiness.  The word of salvation lands on him like an arrow, an artillery against his captor, Satan.

Jesus calls “I came to seek and to save the lost”. I came for you Dylan Roof.  It is no accident that you were exposed to the love of the saints.  It is no accident that you were assaulted with Love and Forgiveness of Jesus.

“if there were but one sorry hamerknocker of a sinner in the world.  If it was just you ” our Pastor shouted one Sunday “He would die for you!! He would die for one!!!” I pray for a chaplin like Pastor to preach to Dylan Roof.

I imagine Dylan saved .  I imagine and I remember Brother Roy say ” Satan will look like the small wizard from the Wizard of Oz in the face of the Glory of God.” In righteous anger and godly hope,  I read Isaiah 14:15-17  to Satan. ” How you are cut down to the ground oh  Evil one who aims to be like the Most High!! You defeated foe!! You puny enemy who makes the earth tremble who shakes kingdoms who make the world like a desert who does not let his prisoners go home. Look what The MOST HIGH is doing!!!  He is saving yet another through the testimony of the Redemened. ‘

Miss Ann reminds me “God is Good”

“yes, God is good ” I sigh

“All the time” She says convincingly.

“yep” I feel encouraged by Miss Ann ”

Aint the end of the story till God gets the glory” I say.

God is Good and Faithful to His Word. All the Time. Is not the Shadow of the Most High His Love for His people? His Love has saved us. His Love keeps us and protects us.  AND His Love consumes us in the face of the Enemy.   Finally His Love sustains us in death by the Enemy.

And in this War,  His Love is Testimony. The testimony comes in the death of His saints. And testimony is to “SHOW HIS SALVATION” so that more and more will “DWELL IN THE SHELTER OF THE MOST HIGH AND ABIDE IN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY”

The “completely” Perfect Pastor Present

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, COMPLETE MY JOY, by being of the same mind and having the same love and being in full accord and of one mind. “Phillipians 2:1-2

Like any other professional week, marketers burn with creative ideas and products to promote “pastor’s appreciation week”. Cards and cups and canisters, banners, plaques and brochures scream “we appreciate you Pastor”. Church folks buy and give with hearts bent in thanksgiving for all that God did through their pastor during the year.  But, somehow , deeply groaning, the Holy Spirit cries in the soul that there is an appreciation to give apart from what the temporal world would offer other professions.  Somehow, deeply, we know in our “inner man” , that there is something greater that THE LORD would give our pastors ,through us , in appreciation for their zeal in love and labor.

Perhaps, this concept is older than the modern marketer can trace.  Perhaps , Pastor’s appreciation is a call from God through the Pastor Paul many seasons ago.  From Phillipians ,we see ,that it is not so much a convention or ritual of  Christian church folks as it is a plea from a pastor himself.  Pastor Paul cries out for a gift that he wants given to him by his church. He wants the gift of “complete Joy” that only a church, under the unified headship of Jesus, can give.  This is a plea not for a glory that ends with the adoration of the pastor but a plea that ends with the adoration of Jesus.

A pastor is surely filled with joy that the Lord Himself gives him directly through an anointing in his spirit . And certainly, our Pastor, Chris Peterson, is a lively mage of a pastor with a “joy unspeakable and full of glory” But the words from Paul, who also had a great joy from a divine anointing, hint at a joy that is actually  incomplete.  He seems to call for it to be completed by the church’s submission to Jesus.  This “Submission “echoes from wall to wall , from ceiling to floor , to us every Sunday, as Pastor Chris calls  surrendered hearts to fall in the hand of a Loving Father, in obedience to the voice of the Shepherd Jesus.

So ,what can we really eternally give our pastor?  We can only offer ourselves , our “everything” to Jesus. Then, as each individual soul comes to fall before a One Father, hearing the One Voice of the Shepherd, in the Power of the Person of the Holy Ghost, unity manifests.  Submission will result in our oneness.  And our oneness will produce “complete joy” in our Pastor.

May we enter a season of complete joy for our pastor and his family as we have  like minded ,surrenderd ,eyes and hearts  fixed on Jesus!!