#BeingCHRISTIAN – “Consistency Principles” (Part 2)

On Sunday, September 11th., 2016 – I continued preaching through the #BeingCHRISTIAN sermon series, specifically dealing with the “In-House Discipleship” we have been detailing.

I have begun marking out what I am calling “Consistency Principles” in an effort to highlight areas we may need to be a bit more consistent. You can listen to the podcast of the September 11th sermon, which highlighted Patriot Day, as well as National Grandparents Day, at the following link, http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/420603-beingchristian-in-house-discipleship-part-2

The “consistency principles” were:

Wisdom – We are told that if we lack wisdom to ask God for it (cf. James 1:5), therefore we are called to have wisdom. Wisdom is the applying of the the knowledge that we understand.

  • Are you become wise through the knowledge of God? Are you asking for it? Are you exercising wisdom in your life?

Faith – The Scriptures reveal that it is impossible to please God without faith (cf. Hebrews 11:6), and one of the goals of our instruction is to establish a sincere faith (cf. 1 Timothy 1:5). Faith is an “action word”, which is our exercising the knowledge of God to accomplish something beyond ourselves, or not leaning upon our own limited capabilities or misunderstanding, rather His abilities and His understanding.

  • Do you live with faith rather than leaning upon your own understanding? In what situations might you be able to express more faith in God’s work rather than your abilities or understanding of the situation?

Faithfulness – Most Christians would admit that that they desire to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant” from our Lord. Our persevering efforts of faith garner the term faithfulness. Mark Batterson, famous author and preacher, says, “Faithfulness is not holding down the fort (keeping things safe, living safely- or as some say “dumb, fat, and happy”), rather faithfulness is chasing 500 pound lions(the challenges God puts before us to enable us to reach our dreams).

  • Where is God looking for more faithfulness on your part? Are you chasing lions? Are you persevering in the faith in all regards? Where can you show more faithfulness?

Freedom – As disciples of Christ we are called to be free (cf. John chapter 8; Galatians 5:1). We are not to be held in bondage, or participate in anything, any religious tradition, or anyone that would lead us into bondage. Especially, false righteousness. We know that true freedom in found in Christ, and as John Piper says, “God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him”.

  • Are you finding that freedom and satisfaction in Christ? If not, what is keeping you back?

I look forward to producing more of these “consistency principles”, as I know God is glorified through Christians being Christian.

In Service to Him,

Pastor Michael Miano

See, Part 1 of this writing at the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/beingchristian-consistency-principles-part-1/

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The Neubauer/ Denham Debate: A Direct Response

Last night I finally got around to watching the beginning of the debate between Mr. Holger Neubauer and Mr. Howard Denham. These two men are preachers in the Church of Christ denomination, and a bit of background had previously been provided by Dr. Don K. Preston. You can read those details at the following link:

http://www.bibleprophecy.com/responding-to-the-critics-preterist-controversy-in-the-church-of-christ/

About two years ago, I received a call from Holger Neubauer, and enjoyed a conversation with him in regards to Full Preterism (aka., Fulfilled Covenant Eschatology, Fulfilled Eschatology, Fulfillment, etc.). Surely seems like a great brother and asset to the Kingdom. Watching him detail the “time statements” and the infamous “timing determines the nature” argument gave me great joy, as I imagine it did our Lord. Glory to God when a man walks worthy of 2 Timothy 2:15 and preaches with excitement the fruit of his labor.

I must be honest however, I was already disgusted with the debate and felt it had been forfeited by Mr. Denham before Mr. Neubauer began his statements. Mr. Denham’s blatant ignorance regarding the AD 70 “coming of the Lord” and his cognitive dissonance in regards to what he actually read from the pages (ie, Acts chapter 1, verses 9-11) astounded me – and was clear to the brother (Andy) I was sitting with as well. Glory to God we used it as a discipleship moment, wherein we paused the debate and went to the Scriptures.

I then made the following remark on Social Media:

So Howard Denham lost the debate with Holger Neubauer about 24 minutes into his affirmative. I was able to utilize the moment to clearly detailing Acts chapter 1 to Andy Diaz as a fulfilled reality thus demonstrating the faithfulness of God. I appreciated Holger’s use of the “Time determines nature” argument which served as the negative that Denham required.”

Now watch the response this warranted from Mr. Howard Denham:

“ You evidently do not understand plain English. LOL “THE SAME WAY…” AD 70 was not any where near to be “the same way.” Something so simple,and yet so profound that Neubauer could not touch it for 4 nights, and neither have you.”

“ BTW what kind of Hyper-Preterist are you? (1) One who denies that Gentiles can be saved today. (2) One who denies that anyone is saved today. (3) One who affirms that everyone has been saved since AD 70. (4) One who affirms that all who are in Christ are saved, regardless of how much sinning they may do. (5) One who affirms that the church, baptism, the worship described in the NT (including especially the Lord’s Supper) have ceased. (6) One who believes that only hose who are linear descendants of Abraham are saved. (7) One who believes that Genesis 1-2 is just myth. (8) One who believes that Genesis 1-2 has nothing to do with the creation of the material Universe. (9) One who believes that the Lord was errant when He taught that Adam and Eve were the first human pair. (10) Or any modification or combination of these. Just so Holger Neubauer can see who he’s now depending on for his support and fellowship.”

Also, the speeches were only 20 minutes each, which means you cannot even tell time today. Ciao!”

Let’s look at those responses in terms of Paragraph 1, Paragragh 2, & Paragraph 3.

My response to Paragraph 1 would be that I do understand plain English, actually it is because of the plain English that I have my understanding of Fulfillment in Acts 1:9-11. Go read the text slowly to yourself and then answer

In what manner did Christ “go into heaven” in which Acts chapter 1 not only records but prophesies of?

….and a cloud received Him out of their sight” and where did the cloud take Him? . Mr. Denham seems to lack an understanding of how clouds were used in the Law and the Prophets, how Jesus Christ said many times (using the prophetic imagery and context) that the coming of the Lord would be with clouds, and how that would have applied to the audience.

Thank God that we have historical record about what would be Biblically classified as a “coming of the Lord” in that generation, in AD 70, while some of the original disciples were alive, in direct fulfillment of what Jesus prophesied.

And not many days after the feast, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, a certain marvelous vision was seen which passes belief. The prodigy might seem fabulous were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the calamities which followed deserving of such signs.
 For before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities.
 And at the feast which is called Pentecost, when the priests entered the temple at night, as was their custom, to perform the services, they said that at first they perceived a movement and a noise, and afterward a voice as of a great multitude, saying, ‘Let us go hence.’ “ – Eusebius, 4th century Church Historian quoting Josephus, 1st century Jewish Historian

Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice.
There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms,
the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure.” – Tacitus, 1st century Roman Historian

You can read more at the following link:

http://fulfilledtheology.ning.com/forum/topics/historical-records-with-some

I believe that response suffices against Mr. Denham’s seemingly angry response in Paragraph 1.

Now on to Paragraph 2. “Hyperpreterism” is a term that most Full Preterists have asked not to be associated with, since the denotation of “hyper” implies going to far with something. Hyperpreterists would be seen as those who say there is no lasting effect or work of Fulfillment for us today, 2000 years past the fulfillment of the Age to Come.

I am sure that the reasoning behind Mr. Denham’s statement in Paragraph 2 is to instigate further division and to foist more claims of “heresy” upon these men in regards to their Church of Christ affiliation. Well, to be clear, I imagine some of my views might put me outside the “Church of Christ” denomination, which is fine with me. However, I hold to the Scriptures, I cling to 2 Timothy 2:15 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17, as well as follow what I see to be an eternal principle of gathering with Believer’s to “rightly divide God’s word” and encourage one another to good work. Therefore, I don’t care to go through Mr. Denham’s silly little list. Holger, you have the support of God and His Word, don’t let the confusion within the “preterist camp” or the pointing it out by anyone discourage you from standing firmly upon your instruction – 1 Timothy 1:5.

And finally, to the trite statement we dare called Paragraph 3. Mr. Denham’s arrogance is wild. This man is a preacher? A man I am called to look up to? I surely can tell time, sure enough can read, write, and speak plain English, and even further- I can understand that in reading a historic book how important humility in regards to “audience relevance” truly is – something Mr. Denham seemingly lacks. I meant 24 minutes into the the entire presentation I was watching – Go see for yourself how everyone should have simply closed up shop and went home at 24 minutes in, because Mr. Denham is ignoring what his Bible says!

Here’s the link, http://www.preteristdoctrine.com/video/3485/debate-neubauer-denham-night-1

In Service to Him & His Truth,

Pastor Michael Miano
Blue Point Bible Church

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GSBC – Solution-Oriented Community Engagement

Earlier this week I was invited to a “Meet & Greet” held by the Great South Bay Coalition Against Substance Abuse (GSBC) at the Bayport-Blue Point Library. I understood this to be a meeting where the community leaders and “social workers” networked with one another under the umbrella of what the Great South Bay Coalition is all about “….empowering, promoting, and improving the physical, mental, and spiritual health of our community to reduce the impact of substance abuse”. One thing I have come to appreciate about the GSBC is that the motto of the coalition is not to necessarily have the answers, but the empower the community, promote the community endeavors, and to highlight the the improvement that is happening through community endeavors.

Unfortunately, drugs, especially heroin, have wreaked havoc all across Long Island. The towns surrounding the Great South Bay have all been affected, and we continue to see the effects day in and day out – everything from crime to overdoses and deaths. So many community leaders, so many community organizations, and even so many individuals have worked tirelessly to figure out what we can do to ward off what seems to be an epidemic. It’s fair to say that many are tired, frustrated, and worried.

However, there is a growing tide of people who have grown restless with being tired, frustrated and worried, and are using that frustration to be motivated to instigate authentic, creative solutions. I saw this type of thinking in the “community boards” that were set up at the GSCB event. They had one sign for “Community Concerns”, another for “Things You Can Do (or are doing) to Help”, “Things You Love About Your Community” and others. Wow! Great idea.

As a local pastor who is always keeping in mind my call to “bear the burdens of others”, you surely know I made my way over to the board at the end of the night. The list of “stick notes” that offered concerns of our community were as follows:

“Easy access to drugs”

“Drugs/ Alcohol – parents allowing; underage drinking”

“Drugs!”

“We should focus on all teens interests to prevent…substance abuse”

“The youth seem bored”

“We should get young adult activities at the new park @ the Firehouse Deli”

“Need more things for teenagers to do,

“Mental health awareness”

“Self-esteem and purpose development”

I organized the like-minded ideas together to demonstrate some clarity on what I am putting forth in this blog- they all up to drugs, teens and young adults need things to happen in the community that interest them, and the need for mental health awareness and growth. All things that will require a community as was mentioned at the “Meet & Greet” the other night. Not the community all necessarily doing one thing, but each different organization and/or person doing something.

“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, concerned, and committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. – Margaret Mead, Sociologist

I write all of this as I look through social media and am inspired by an authentic community action happening in the Bayport-Blue Point Area. Earlier this week there was a fire in Bayport, and Bayport United Methodist Church along with the Johnny Mac Foundation have teamed up to get donations and support for this family.

To combat the drug problem, especially heroin, in our area, The Blue Point Bible Church, opened our doors to Heroin Anonymous (HA) about 2 ½ years ago. This “program” has proven to be fruitful in changing lives because of the committed team of men and women that believe they can use their experiences with addiction to help those still suffering. They meet at the Church – Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Here is the website,

I (Pastor Michael Miano) having had a rather “troubled youth”, have a care and concern to see our youth being given authentic opportunities to find positive role models who are interested in investing in their lives. After attending various different community and youth oriented meetings, I began to be burdened that something different needs to be done to reach the youth. I have listened to and shared my ideas with out County Police Commissioner in regards to reaching the youth (more discussion in the future, God willing).

At The Blue Point Bible Church we have been having “strategic planning meetings” for months now concerning the youth, and surely we hope the community will get involved – empowering, promoting, and improving the lives of our youth. Two developments have come out of these meetings which I believe further work toward alleviating some of the concerns that were listed at the “Meet & Greet” – a cohort of Christians adults from Sayville, Bayport, and Blue Point teaming up through and with a program called “Young Life” to reach the young lives by helping them developing meaningful and healthy relationships with their peers – on their turf according to their sub-culture. We would love for others to get involved, all you simple have to do is contact Pastor Miano (contact information will be provided below).

Also, we are putting together a “extremely different youth group” (XD Youth) at The Blue Point Bible Church that will focus on a fun-engaging environment, authentic mentors, and enabling youth to develop a worldview that is wholesome, worthwhile, and beautiful. We would love for others to be involved with this effort as well. Simply contact Pastor Miano.

To help with the mental health, self-esteem, and purpose development we would simply invite people to get involved with the ministry at Blue Point Bible Church, where we seek to enhance our lives by “making known the manifold wisdom of God” through study and fellowship. Also, I will soon be hosting a weekly class at the Bayport-Blue Point Library which will be dedicated to helping people find “life to the full” through a course I call L.I.F.E. Seminars. Keep your eyes on the “bulletin boards” at the Library.

Prayerfully, you are convinced that it takes a community to heal a community, and all things are possible, if we keep the faith.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

Blue Point Bible Church

(631) 363-6111/ Email – ChristianityGoneWild@Yahoo.com

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That Wicked Generation

This past Sunday at The Blue Point Bible Church we had a discussing going on regarding the historical period of the 1st century. I wish I could say the dates are always ready and available in my head (quite the opposite actually – it would seem my mind constantly wants to jumble all the dates and events).

Therefore, as I woke up this morning rethinking our Sunday School discussion, I began to make up a historical list and I figured I would share, as it may be beneficial to some. Namely my goal was to sort of paint the historical scene in my head by following along the dating.

Before I share, allow me to express how appreciative I am of Ed Steven’s book, The Final Decade Before the End (which is pretty much my “go to resource” in these types of matters. I urge you to get a copy and immerse yourself in the historical context. In the Table of Contents alone, Mr. Stevens provides historical details from the Apostle Paul’s third missionary journey to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

The dating of the events from the end of the Gospels into the beginning of the “Book of Acts” (namely, the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ – along with Pentecost in Acts chapters 2-3) are argued on all fronts, therefore for simplicity sake I put AD 27-33.

The conversion of the Apostle Paul as he ventured to Damascus in Acts chapter 9 is said to be AD 37. The conversion of Cornelius and his family in Acts chapter 10 is said to have been late AD 38.

Most would place the Apostle Paul’s first missionary years in the years AD 45-48, which is what you read about in Acts chapters 13:13-14:28. The Jerusalem Council which is found in Acts chapter 15 is said to have been in the year AD 49. The second missionary journey that the Apostle Paul went on was AD 51-53, which is recorded in Acts 15:40 to Acts 18:23.

Again, I make mention of Ed Steven’s book, Final Decade Before the End, because most of the dating that I have from the 3rd journey forward poin is accredited to him and his book.

The Apostle Paul’s third missionary journey was from AD 54-58, also during this time penning 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, and Romans. In AD 58, the Apostle Paul arrived in Jerusalem and met with James and the elders. In Jerusalem, in the Temple, the Apostle Paul was arrested in June AD 58. This is when his trial began which we read about in Acts chapters 24, 26, and 28.

The Apostle Paul’s appeal to Caesar (which at that time would have been Nero) was a big issue because of all the issues in the Kingdom of Rome (“wars and rumors of wars”). The last thing anyone wanted to do was make Caesar doubt their governance.

The Apostle Paul finally arrived in Rome in March AD 61 and his imprisonment lasted for two full years (AD 61-63). It was during this time that the epistle of James was written . It was from AD 60-62 that the Apostle John wrote some his writings – The Gospel of John and 1-3 Epistles of John. The Apostle Luke also penned his Gospel (The Gospel According to Luke) and the Acts of the Apostles AD 61-62.

It was in AD 62 that the Roman authorities in Judea ceased minting the Torah-compliant Jews, and this would have further incited the Zealots, along with various earthquakes and famines happening all throughout the “known world”.

The Apostle John was likely exiled to Patmos in April AD 62. In the fall of AD 62 the Zealot (Sicarii) activity began to increase. Jesus bar-Ananius began to proclaim “Woe, Woe to Jerusalem” all throughout the region. It was during the summer of AD 62 that the Apostle John penned the Revelation of Jesus Christ .

The Apostle Paul was released in March AD 63, a time of relative peace, however many earthquakes throughout the land, also, Nero and Poppaea had a child.

The Apostle Peter began to write his epistles around July AD 63, and by this time, the Christians begin to flee Jerusalem and Judea. In August of AD 63, the Apostle Paul made his final visit to the churches in Asia. Later in the month, the Apostle Paul was arrested and sent to Rome for execution. During his imprisonment he penned his letters to his spiritual son Timothy. In late AD 63 the Apostle Paul was martyred.

Jude wrote his epistle in Jude AD 64. In AD 64, the Apostle Peter was martyed, however this would be before the July 19th, 64 “Great Fire in Rome” and the following persecution of Christians (which began August AD 64). The “birthpangs” of Matthew chapter 24 raged in the years AD 64-66, what is historically referred to as the “Neronic Persecution”. In fall of AD 64, the Apostle John was “killed by the Jews” (most likely in the Neronic persecution) according to the Fragments of Papias.

“The Neronic persecution was a very dark time for the Church, and even though it was short-lived (only two years – AD 64-66), it was extremely intense and killed the majority of remaining Christians. And it was the “eve of destruction” for the Jews. They wanted to wipe out the Church, but instead got wiped out by the Romans. – Ed Stevens, The Final Decade Before The End

In AD 65, Nero caused the death of his wife. And so the tide began to turn against the Jews. Many false messiahs try to lead people out of Jerusalem to “safety”. In AD 65-66, it is said that there were great signs in the sky and off happenings around the Temple. In later AD 66, wars began to increase all around the “known world” as well as in Jerusalem. Roman procurator Gessius Florus is said to have “filled Judea with abundance of miseries”. Christian persecution is on the low (since the Christians

have since flee’d as they were told to by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:16).

“There were no true Christians in Judea after the Neronic persecution broke out, unless a few might have disobeyed the warning to leave and somehow escaped detection during the Neronic persecution…By the time of Cestius Gallus’ attack on Jerusalem (in November AD 66), the Parousia had already begun (in May AD 66)…” – Ed Stevens, The Final Decade Before the End

In the summer of AD 66, all rebellion broke out- rebel priests refuse to do the sacrifice due to the antagonistic efforts of Gessius Florus and his attacks upon the city of Jeruslaem. The rebel priest, Eleazar bar-Ananias also “sounded the shofar” to initiate battle. By the winter of AD 67, factionism was rampant within Jerusalem and things continue to go from bad to worse. Nero died on June 9th AD 68.

And so occurred the Roman-Jewish War, or what is Biblically referred to as the “Coming of the Lord” (the vindication and rewarding of God’s saints and judgment upon their enemies). The term “parousia” or “coming” is understood not to simply mean a momentarily or one-day event, rather an extended visit . For example, Nero’s visit, or “parousia” in Greece as the Greek writers mentioned was from September AD 66 – early AD 68. So to it was with the “Coming of the Lord” in the years AD 66-70, that destroyed the city of Jerusalem and decimated the Herodian Temple in in fulfillment of what Jesus Christ said in Matthew chapters 23-24, most notably Matthew 24:2.

As I go through this study I am humbled by the amount of details that fill in the historical context. There is just so much to study, say, and discuss within the first century “audience relevance” of Scripture. This should cause a real honest examination of things and a true conviction regarding 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the Word of Truth….”.

Here are some links for the details of the “Coming of the Lord” (The Roman-Jewish War):

Www.josephus.org/warChronology1.htm#map

http://preteristarchive.com/JewishWars/timeline_factional.html

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

(Blue Point Bible Church; The Power of Preterism Network)

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#BeingCHRISTIAN – “Consistency Principles” ( Part 1)

conistencyFor the past two months at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) we have been going through a sermon series called “#BeingCHRISTIAN”. The goal of this series has been to challenge ourselves, as well as the larger “Christian Community” to become a bit more consistent in regards to what we are saying and what it means “to be a Christian”.

The series has been a hit so far. Examining ourselves in such a fashion requires objectivity in many regards, therefore this has been and will continue to be a collaborative effort. We have heard from Pastor Steve regarding the “presence of God” as a reality that sets Christians apart from the world (If this was true of OC Israel according Exodus 33:16 – how much more should it be understood and exemplified by what we have in and through Jesus Christ?) We also had a shared testimony from sister Jean Marie Prince from the “Inspired Blessings” T.V. Show and will continue to hear more powerful testimonies regarding “Being Christian”. The presence of God should be made manifest through our testimony, amen?

All of that said, in the midst of the encouragement and fellowship that we enjoy in “Being Christian”, the goal is also to challenge us to be consistent. All to often we hear people “trash” the Christians Community/ Church as hypocrites and inconsistent. So, I came up with this idea to highlight “consistency principles” pertaining to what we learn during the Sunday Sermons (this month specifically since we are going through “In House Discipleship”, and challenge us to either see or implement these things into our lives.

So for WEEK ONE, which you can listen to here —>     http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/418432-beingchristian-in-house-discipleship-part-1

Here are our “Consistency Principles”:

  • We are called to be disciples & make disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. Matthew chapter 28). That means being students and followers of Him. We must become “bond-servants”, as He did to reach us, in an effort to actively seek opportunities to reach others with the Gospel (cf. Philippians chapter 2).- Are you doing this? How can you begin to intentionally and actively reach others with the Gospel in your life?
  • We are called to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (cf. 2 Peter chapter 1; 2 Peter 3:18). We must grow in the knowledge of His Word (2 Timothy 2:15) and this is done as the Church (community – “together”) (cf. Ephesians chapter 4).
    – Are you actively growing in the grace and knowledge of God? What opportunities can you get involved with to do so? What community do you need to begin gathering with?
  • “Going to Church” should be us seeking to opportunity we have to gather and grow as often as possible to further encourage one another in good works. (cf. Hebrews 10:24).
    – Do you take advantage of “Going to Church”. When are you going to start?

Surely, “Christians being Christian” glorifies God!

In Service to Him,

Pastor Michael Miano

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Why I Love My Church (Specifically)

A couple nights ago a few of us from Blue Point Bible Church attended a Bible study conducted by another “church”. We walked in knowing at the outset that our “churches” had some areas of disagreement in doctrine, however they invited us, so we attended.

 

That alone could be the reason I love my church- we love Bible study! Some have said that our church is like a big Bible study group- surely worse could be said about a local church, right? Actually, our church was in the local paper some years ago because of others boasting about the nature of our small groups – discussion and Bible study.

 
However, something else is highlighted and marks us at Blue Point Bible Church a bit different than the churches around us – not only do we study the Bible, we seek to study it in a manner that truly draws out what it means. Not what it means to “me”, or two church leaders, etc….but what did these historical details mean to the original writers and recipients?

 

Valid question, right?

 

You would think this would be more evident in Bible studies, however sadly that is not the case, and all to often this style of study is demonized -because let’s face it, we like our own thoughts, traditions, desires, and perspectives.

 

“Even though the Bible was written for us, it wasn’t written to us. When we take our Western, modern culture and impose it on the text, we’re putting in meaning that wasn’t there, and we’re missing meaning that the text has.” – Dr. John Walton

 

So while there is so much to boast about in regards to what God is doing (especially in my locale on Long Island), many of us see the need for a continuing reformation and revival.
We rejoice that we have great fellowship, food, coffee, and even new people attending services, even getting baptized, at Blue Point Bible Church, however we know that the substance is found in knowing God through His Word. And unfortunately, many Christians in their failure to establish the historical context and what is referred to as “audience relevance” in Scripture, are proclaiming a “half-true gospel”. We will not revive, reform, or renew our generation for the Lord with a “half true gospel”.

 
The Blue Point Bible Church readily recognizes this issue. Our leaders at BPBC are committed to honestly handling the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) in an effort to glorify God and reach the lost. Recently, I listened to a couple podcasts regarding evangelism and this generation, and one concept that was continually highlighted is our message. Our current culture should cause us to analyze our message (besides the ever-reforming nature the community of Christ is called to have (cf. Romans 12:1-2)), and in that analyzation is should be evident that the world around us hardly knows what it is we stand for as Christians and/or how reforming/renewing our Truth really is.

 
One writer asked, “What would it look like if the Church can revive the Christ-centric vision of the Kingdom of God”?

 

That’s why I love my church, specifically, because we recognize the truth to that statement is found by “studying to show ourselves approved”. (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
On Sunday, August 21st, 2016 – Pastor Steve Schilling exhorted us with a message from Exodus 33:11-23 in which he detailed how our message to the world is to proclaim His fulfilled work!

 

More often than not, I find myself in discussions and dare I say “Bible studies” that are focused on what we (humans) want God to do, or what we think is next on His “prophetic time clock”, and we completely miss the point of His fulfilled work. Worse yet, many have come to disagree regarding fulfillment. Just how much did Jesus Christ fulfill?

 
Summarizing the great message Pastor Steve preached we find that the work God does in the world, which He did at Mount Sinai and which He did in and through Jesus Christ, is manifest His presence among His people. His presence is what sets His people apart from the world (cf. Exodus 33:16).

 
The goal of God’s presence amongst His people is to manifest and make known a wholesome, worthwhile, and beautiful existence (which we call “life”) to which this world needs to be restored. Sadly, in our carnality we commit this sin of Adam and Eve when we try to define the world, the solutions to the world, our views of God, and His will according to our own definitions and standards.

 

Blue Point Bible Church is on the front lines of renewing and reforming Christianity, moving away from out of context teachings based on whims and wills of man, instead searching and studying the Scriptures to better manifest the presence of God. That is why I love my church, specifically.

 

Join us on Sundays @ 10:30AM for prayer, worship, & the Word!
www.bluepointbiblechurch.org

 

In Service to Him,
Pastor Michael Miano

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Who Is That??!? Yawheh’s Divine Council (Part 3)

Well the “can of worms” has surely been opened at The Blue Point Bible Church. Lately as we gather for Sunday School we have been talking through the details of Jeff McCormack’s article in Fulfilled! Magazine about the “divine heavenly council”.

I have made no effort to hide my frustration with the article, as I didn’t hide my frustration when I first heard an introductory teaching on the topic done by Pastor Dave Curtis at the Berean Bible Church conference in 2015. Simply put, as I mentioned in Part 1 and 2, this view seems to be out of sync with the Biblical narrative. If we actually understand the Biblical narrative and the context through which it comes.

I am hardly a Hebrew-perspective scholar, or a scholar in any regard, however I do believe my honest studying with a critical eye and a desire to know has led me to some clarity in these matters. Also, this is not an open and shut case for me, as this topic is surely close to the “secret things of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 29:29), therefore I am always furthering my studies, reading new resources, and the like. Actually have the following books sitting on my “Next Read Table”:

The Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser

Confronting the Powers by C. Peter Wagner

Antichrist by Bernard McGinn

Creation & The Persistence of Evil by Jon D. Levenson

The Origins of Evil Spirits by Archie T. Wright

I am constantly reading online materials as well, and who knows what will be sent to me, or I might purchase in the next couple months. Most of this study is being done to be sure of my thoughts as I write my upcoming release, Wicked: The Search for Spirituality & Life, which is hopefully going to be released in or around January 2017.

So I have sort of taken up lamenting the ever popular “understanding” (probably better said “misunderstanding”) of the “spiritual realm”. It seems that most “understandings” miss the powerful language, poetic imagery, as well as the metaphors and details that are brought forth by the Prophets. This is quite detrimental because a faulty of false spirituality will lead you to desperation rather than life- and many are living that reality while falsely cloaked in “being spiritual”.

For most, even most “Christians” the “spiritual realm” is an otherworldly/ imagined world wherein we fill in the blanks with out vain thoughts of what “spiritual” might mean and look like. This is hardly the Hebraic perspective of spirituality that seemingly opens the Bible with the Spirit of God hovering over the waters (cf. Genesis 1:2). It is vital that we understand the spiritual worldview that was being offered through Genesis in contrast to the worldview that seemed to captivate the Ancient Near East, as well as the later Hellenistic mind of the Greeks.

Hebrew Spirituality, which I posit begins at Genesis, seems to offer somewhat of an abstract, more conceptual than otherworldly, view of spirituality. The “spirit world” is not necessarily ‘out there’ or ‘up there’, but rather among us, even evident through us as we live our natural lives. Whereas the ancient pagans had a perspective of the natural being evil and a desire to one day become “otherworldly”or spiritual, the Hebrew perspective saw the natural as worthwhile, wholesome, and beautiful when looked at through the lens of the One True God. True Spirituality is found by living with clarity and obedience to God. We don’t need to go anywhere, we manifest ‘spirituality” whether we know it or not, good fruit or bad fruit.

Just recently we had a guest speaker at Blue Point Bible, and when she mentioned spirituality she said, “We are physical beings trying to be spiritual beings”. I concur. However, how would we explain the reality of becoming “spiritual beings”. Sadly, many would say when we die. This is false spirituality. Instead, we become spiritual when we die to the natural and put on Christ – thus walking in clarity and obedience to the will of God.

Understanding the details of the “spiritual realm” from this perspective, what I would like to call the Biblical perspective, at least for me provides clarity into details such as angels, the “cosmic battle”, Satan, and other “spiritual” things we commonly talk about.

Spirituality is that which contrasts carnality. I can walk in the confusion (darkness) of carnality, or even a pseudo-spirituality, however true life, clarity, and peace is found in true Spirituality. This is essentially the picture you should get from reading Genesis chapters 1-2. It’s not so much “otherworldly” as it is “other-mindedness” (not inclined toward carnality). The “cosmic battle” is between clarity (light) and confusion (darkness) which is between the truth of God and idolatry. Sadly, as John Calvin said, “The human mind is a manufacturer of idols”. So there is the battle.

So I detail all of that to simply point out that the “divine princely leaders” that captivates Mr. Jeff McCormack, Pastor David Curtis, and many others is simply a over-dramatized, otherworldly perspective of spirituality that seems more in line with the confused pagans than the narrative we read in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

As I continue to read and analyze the introductory details that Mr. McCormack seeks to bring forth, it seems evident that he is misreading apocalyptic details found in the Books of Daniel and the Psalms. Biblical commentators have long been divided on who the “archangel Michael” is and was, namely because the Book of Daniel is painting an apocalyptic picture (a couple actually). However, with a bit of historical information and a discerning eye one can see how the details of Daniel came to fulfillment, and we hardly need a rather wildly fantastic interpretation to confuse us. Instead, take some time to understand how the Hebrew prophets used “prophetic imagination” and “Hebrew metaphor” to detail natural happenings in rather powerful pictorial ways.

The same goes for the Book of Psalms, which is a “wisdom book” full of songs, imagery, and details that chronicle the ups and downs of David’s kingdom which you read about in the historical books such as 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, as well as 1 and 2 Chronicles. Who would dare take a book of songs and poems and try and make dogmatic doctrine out of the details? Take some time to read through Psalm chapter 82 and Isaiah 24 and find the historical details. You will notice the “spiritual” being made known (the truth and will of God) in the midst of the natural story, no need for added excitement.

I’ll conclude this Part 3 at this point.

Prayerfully in this blog I was able to exhort you to find the “spiritual” in the midst of the natural, that is the Hebraic understanding, in contrast to the pagan otherworldly concept. There is no need for us to add fantastic notions and interpretations to the Scripture, rather when we do so we end up in confusion and depression, the exact opposite of what God brings forth in true spirituality.

In Service to Him,

Pastor Michael Miano

P.S. – In the next and final part, we will explore the “cosmic battle” of the New Testament and what exactly was being “revealed”.

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