Monthly Archives: December 2016

Reviewing 2016 & Peering Into 2017

It is a rather unfortunate thing that the current trend in our contemporary society is to forsake making New Year’s resolutions. I see this leading to nothing other than utter disappointment and dissatisfaction as many fail to properly examine themselves, their lives, and their goals when they are afforded the opportunity.

Winston Churchill, the British statesmen and Nobel Peace Prize winner, once stated that “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see”. Every year I offer up a review of the past year in an effort to challenge and stimulate my perspectives, goals, and ideas for the future. I pray that through my honest examination and expression that I would inspire you to do a review of the past year and prayerfully develop some resolutions for the year to come.

The word “authentic” has been reverberating through my mind and heart for the last couple months. Properly defined, the word authentic means to have a traceable place of origin, to be genuine. As I have been reviewing the past year and peering into 2017, authentic seems to be the perfect word to sum up my resolutions in life, as well as ministry.

In review of the past year’s notes, I found the following quote:

Allow His Word to be understood in the text, and then Spiritually written on your heart”.

That quote illustrates the “authenticity” I am speaking about. As a pastor whose life mission is to help others know and understand how to live an “eternally fulfilling and satisfying life”, I make it my business to help others genuinely understand the details of the Gospel as expressed through the Scriptures in their historical context. Because then, and only then, will the wisdom that is from beyond man (spiritual), be written on your heart. Also, this authenticity is pointing me toward a more aggressive, bold posture in the new year.

My favorite Bible verse is 1 Timothy 1:5 and surely having love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith all of which demand authenticity. Two other Bible texts that seem to be motivating me this season are Proverbs 25:11 and 1 Timothy chapter 6. The Proverbial advice “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstances” highlights the need for us to authentically explain and detail the Gospel in a manner that is like “apples of gold is settings of silver”. This requires a genuine interesting and listening to the concerns of others and presenting truth from His Word. The Apostle Paul’s instruction to his spiritual son Timothy highlights that many fail to know, and/or abuse the doctrines of Godliness by using them for the wrong reasons. The Apostle Paul says, “But flee from these things you man of God, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11)”. Also, as a pastor, I will seek to walk worthy of these details in my calling as outlined in Titus 1:9, therefore requiring an authentic boldness – what I have usually referred to as “zeal empowered by knowledge” (cf. Romans chapter 10)”.

Allow me to offer up a quick review of ministry in 2016:

BLUE POINT BIBLE CHURCH

Early in 2016 we made it the goal at BPBC to “Walk Worthy: Bearing Fruit”, ultimately with the desire to find the Church at work in the world with “purpose and strategy”. As I reviewed the work of our church this year, and the sermons that were preached, it becomes evident that 2016 was a year of establishing a foundation regarding our identity in Christ and in the world.

We went through a couple of “sermon series” this year at BPBC which were:

Life Together” which focused on the many relationships we have as Christians and how we are called to live in those relationships; “One New Man” which brought us through the “body” texts of Scripture and showed that we the Body of Christ are the One New Man that was hoped for throughout the Old Testament; #BeingCHRISTIAN highlighted the many “Spiritual To Do Lists” found throughout the Scriptures and how we need to see those details in our lives – you can find our “check lists” at the following link:

https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/beingchristian-exams-parts-i-ii/

We concluded the year with a praise & worship series called “Yadah…Yadah…Yadah.Shachah”, which aimed to focus us on submitting to and being in awe of Him in all that we do, especially allowing this to by highlighted in our “worship service”. And thus our Christmas service highlighted the “mystical realities” we have in Christ and how we need to grow more fully in being “full of grace and full of truth”.

In the midst of such sermon series we went through some other resources learning how to Wiser Together, Chase the Lion with Mark Batterson, and more…all seemingly focusing us on our identity in Christ. Prayerfully as we end the year and move into a new year, we have begun to see ourselves as the fulfillment of what was longed for through the Old Testament, we are a nation, a reality set up in righteousness to convey the truth of God to the world. That’s the role of the Church as per Ephesians 3:15.

On April 11th, I woke up thinking through all that we offer at BPBC and summarized like this:

The local church provides the “knowledge of God” to enable us to live like, worship like, and love Jesus Christ”.

As I said at our Semi-Annual Meeting in June 2016, “As I have searched out His ways and reasons (regarding church growth), it seems pretty clear that God has given us this time to “examine ourselves”, all in an effort to allow us to demonstrate a purposeful and strategic method of evangelizing and making disciples of the nations. The very purpose of this church as stated in our Constitution”.

Considering that we have had some new faces around BPBC this year, Mr. Andy Diaz was baptized here and continues to grow in the faith, and I have have the privilege of talking with many of you this year – I’d say it was a blessed one! Prayerfully we demonstrate all that we are called to now at The Blue Point Bible Church, and all the more as we grow into 2017 – all for His glory!

#ProjectRESTORE

You could rightly say much of my life’s mission is that by teaching and preaching the “knowledge of God”, and demolish anything that hinders a healthy understanding of it. Early on in 2016, I felt convicted that there are so many beautiful, worthwhile, and wholesome realities that many are missing out on and they need to be restored.

We continued our allowance of Heroin Anonymous to use our churches, even trying to fix up our basement a bit, allowing for a more beautiful, worthwhile, and wholesome experience of sobriety while at BPBC. Also, we further jumped into outreach this year – developing a BPBC Philosophy of Outreach, participating in Hope Day, maintaining a close relationship with the Suffolk County Police Department, local Civics and community groups, as well as various other efforts to bring common grace to our neighbors and the world.

Also, with the help of It Is Finished Organization (my fiancee’s startup non-profit) we renovated the playground at BPBC. Currently, our Children’s Ministry is in need of a “new beginning”, however in faith we moved forward offer a more beautiful and worthwhile playground – hopinf “if we build, they will come”.

Come to The Blue Point Bible Church to learn more about and to get involved with our “outreach philosophy”.

THE POWER OF PRETERISM NETWORK

As a mature Christians at BPBC who readily understand Bible prophecy to be fulfilled – thus making us “Preterists” – we are continually encouraged with the advancement of the modern reformation. The Power of Preterism Network exists to network Christians who believe in the reformation of Full Preterism/ Fulfillment/ Fulfilled Eschatology and the effect it is  having on the church, by provide exhortation and leadership in regards to being Christian and Preterist, as well as moving toward establishing apologetic and evangelism efforts, education venues, outreach, ordination, church planting and more…Also, The Power of Preterism Network (TPPN) maintains an informative resource website as well as details from the annual Bible conference at The Blue Point Bible Church.

We have seen so many come to the understanding of Full Preterism and be edified and encouraged by our work at TPPN in 2016. We had a great conference in March 2016 and look forward to another great one in March 2017 – more information coming soon. You can view the various videos produced through the past years conferences at the following link, http://www.powerofpreterism.com/preterism-.html

This year I had the opportunity to speak on “The Efficacy of the Local Church” on the Montly Fulfilled Prophecy Conference Call which you can listen to and review at the following link, https://preteristconferencecalls.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/01-michael-miano-the-efficacy-of-the-local-church/. Also, an article I had written on Reformation Now: End Times Views Matter was published in the Winter 2016 issue of Fulfilled! Magazine, which should soon be posted on PDF at the following link, http://www.fulfilledcg.com/Site/Magazine/magazine_previous_issues.htm

TFC Magazine was a great resource throughout 2016, however I realize I only posted 3 articles in 2016. Much more to come in 2017, however you can review those articles at the following link, http://tfcmag.com/preview1.php?&search=by%20Michael+Miano

I am currently working with Mr. Ricky Carranza from Finland on a documentary regarding a genuine everyday Christianity that ultimately leads to understanding Full Preterism. As always, so many resources coming from the “Preterist Movement”, I look forward to keep you in the loop through The Power of Preterism Network Updates at www.powerofpreterism.wordpress.com. Through our efforts with TPPN we look to offer more clarity and strategy in being “On the Frontlines of Reformation and Revival” in 2016.

Look forward to more about #TeamPRETERIST in 2017 (we are currently redoing some of the strategy). Look forward to our “Book of Revelation” Bible Conference on March 24th-26th, 2017 at The Blue Point Bible Church (again, more information coming soon).

In the meantime, a resource I recommend you getting your hands on is the new DVD – Resurrecting the Past – which can be ordered at the following link, https://zephonministries.blogspot.com/p/dvd-store.html

(We will have a public showing (with popcorn) at the Blue Point Bible Church in mid-January 2017). 🙂

MGW (Miano Gone Wild) MINISTRIES

There will be quite a bit of changes with my ministry “Miano Gone Wild”. Primarily, it will be changed from solely an online radio platform to a full-fledged ministry – online radio, YouTube video teachings, and blogging. Another aspect that will changed will by the style of the programs. Let’s face it. Those of you who know me know my constant almost neurotic desire to “name and label” things. I am not realizing that doing this, especially on MGW Online Radio often hinders and becomes a distraction from authentic learning and zeal, ends up puts me in a box so to speak, all of which is set to change in 2017.

In the past year, on MGW Online Radio (which is currently under construction at www.MianoGoneWild.com) I offered broadcasts dealing with Church History, Ignatian Spirituality, and more recently “The Flavors of Preterism”. While I enjoyed much of what these series offered, I know many desire a more natural expression of “Miano Gone Wild”. So…look forward to a new weekly style and show starting Monday, January 2nd, 2017.

The combination of my YouTube and blog site to MGW Ministries will prayerfully allow for more edification to flow through my learning and sharing. On YouTube I shared a couple different series – 3Pi YouTube Series, From Fasting to Feasting, and I am currently going through a series called “Gaining a Narrative Theology”. You can watch those videos and more at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfOfWwisYZA

My reading and learning of course usually has a lot to do with what I am zealously sharing and what I hope to transmit to you. Some books that I read and shared this year were Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, many Church history texts, dating and marriage books, Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson, A contemporary look at Ignatian Spirituality, Redirectional Idealism by Don Perry, The Journey to Grace by Richard Belcher, Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser, and Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller. I look forward to reading many more books this coming year, however I read an interesting quote this morning that I pray will be fruitful in my reading and application in 2017:

Book reading is of small value unless the truths which pass before the mind are grasped, appropriated, and carried out in their practical issues”. – Charles Spurgeon

GROWING INTO 2017

That leads leads us into a summary of 2016. If you’ve been tuned in to our ministry at The Blue Point Bible Church, as well as all that has been done through the ministries I work in and through, this past year the truth of the “ever-reforming nature of the Church” was highlighted in our learning more about the Church. Through our examining and coming to a more beautiful, worthwhile, and wholesome understanding and expression of our identity as the Church, we have opened more opportunities to grow into 2017 – full of grace and full of truth.

I look forward to growing into 2017 with a marked-out authenticity in preaching, discipleship, and outreach. In September 2016 I woke up one morning thinking about my calling in Christ. I wrote in my notes that “God designed me with a thirst for knowledge, a diligence to study through details, and a desire to share.” This reminded me of my initial zeal (what I often refer to as being “freaked out”) and desire to learn and share the Truth – a zeal empowered by knowledge. I pray that I will express more of that in 2017.

In my life and ministry I have made the resolution to be more authentic and bold in my expression of 1 Timothy 1:5 – loving with a pure heart, maintaining a good conscience toward God and others, as well as living and offering a sincere faith. My mantra has been “zeal empowered by knowledge” which I believe is the living out of my calling as detailed in Titus 1:9 – exhort others with sound doctrine and rebuke those who oppose it.

Ministry at The Blue Point Bible Church will move forward with the vision of #AThinkingFaith. The hash-tag (#) symbolizes our desire to share and be a blessing to the world. We give what we have – a thinking faith. A faith that is build upon heeding to the wisdom of Scripture – studying to show ourselves approved and rightly dividing the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), examing all things and holding fast to that which is good(1 Thessalonians 5:21), and being able and ready to share that with the world (1 Peter 3:15).

I ended classes regarding Immersed Discipleship a couple of months ago for a couple of reasons. Primarily, in being authentic I want to move away from programs and “naming”, and instead truly allow individuals to experience this immersion. We will offer three different Bible reading tracks, and a forum-based Saturday morning Bible Study (9AM-11:15AM) led by Pastor Mike Miano for immersion into Biblical topics and themes as well as Q & A in keeping with individual Bible reading. Set up a meeting with Pastor Mike to learn more about Immersed Discipleship.

We anticipate more and more authentic outreach in keeping with our BPBC Outreach Philosophy of simply serving where we feel inspired and burdened. XD Youth (our new youth ministry for ages 12-16) will be hosting Friday Night Bible Studies at 6:30PM, and on the last Friday of ever month we will throw a “youth party”. It Is Finished Organization looks forward to more organization and activities in 2017 as well. I am praying and resolving to do much more intercessory prayer in 2017. After all, it was one of my favorite Christian leaders, Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “Intercession prayer is the most promising way to reach out neighbors, and corporate prayer offered in the Name of Jesus, the purest form of fellowship”.

Also, in the new year look forward to the following (however there is truly much more in store):

  • Launch Reformation NOW which is a ‘ministry’ designed intentionally to encourage reformation in the Christian Church, ultimately leading to a greater revival and revolution.
  • Launch L.I.F.E. (Learning Institute of Fulfilled Eschatology) – certificate program
  • Publish Wicked
  • Publish Returning to Our First Love: Biblical Narrative Study Guide

I really do look forward to a blessed and God-glorifying year at The Blue Point Bible Church, as well as all that I have the privilege to participate in. God willing, you will join me in some of these efforts.

I pray the following words of Jim Elliot, a servant of Christ and a martyr for the faith, will be exemplified in and through my life, Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

In Service to Him,

Cheers to a Blessed Year,

Pastor Michael Miano

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Spiritual Stuff: Disagreeing with Dr. Michael Heiser

“The path has not been easy. It came with risk and discomfort. Friends, pastors, and colleagues at times misunderstood my questions and rebuttals of their proposed answered. Conversations didn’t always end well. That sort of things happens when you demand that creeds and traditions get in line with the Biblical text”.

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to brother Travis Finley’s podcast, Rethinking Revelation, with a guest appearance by Dr. Michael Heiser, a well known Old Testament/ Ancient Near East scholar.

You can listen to that podcast at the following link,

https://www.spreaker.com/user/rtb4tftx/episode-17-interview-w-mike-heiser

While highly esteeming his credentials, and in many regards would seemingly be a “grasshopper in his sight”, I have come to be in sharp disagreement with him. Namely, his understanding of the “Divine Heavenly Council”, also however his perspective on the “spirit realm”.

I finished reading Dr. Heiser’s book, The Unseen Realm, a couple of months ago and have been planning to write a short review. Plainly, this is a classic example of someone saying so much I find myself in agreement with, yet finding myself completely disagreeing with them in many other regards. How does that happen!?!?

In the opening introduction, Dr. Heiser explains his coming to understand his view of the “heavenly council” in such a manner:

“There it was, plain as day: The God of the Old Testament was part of an assembly – a pantheon – of other gods”.

I heard about this “heavenly council” view from Pastor David Curtis of Berean Bible Church, and then of BBC’s elders, Jeff McCormack wrote an article for FULFILLED! Magazine on the same topic. Simply put, I have found no substance for this view and see it to disturb the way the ancients would have understood things, as well as the narrative of the Bible.

Oddly enough, Dr. Heiser make the following points in his book;

He speaks about his seeking to understand the “heavenly council”, as a “…a place evangelicals fear to tread”, something I experienced by and large as I studied eschatology and came to understand Full Preterism.

“The explanations I found from evangelical scholars were disturbingly weak….”, which again would be true of my journey. Actually, some of this was shown by Dr. Heiser’s explanations of Revelation (as detailed in the above podcast I shared).

“When I looked beyond the world of evangelical scholarship, I discovered that other scholars had churned out dozens of articles and books…”, again I think of men like Dr. Don K. Preston, Dr. Ed Stevens, among many other scholarly men who influenced me as I navigated toward the truth of Full Preterism, in opposition to what other “evangelical scholars” had to say about eschatology.

“My conscience wouldn’t let me ignore my own Bible in order to retain the theology with which I was comfortable. Was my loyalty to the text or to the Christian tradition? Did I really have to choose between the two? – And there we have the ongoing reformation mindset. Glory to God!

I have to say upfront that I appreciate Dr. Michael Heiser and the mind that God has given him. He clearly has a desire to know, understand, and teach the truth. He mentioned the amount of time it took him to finally write a book on these views, 15 years. At that I feel I must be humbled and tread lightly in my critique. I’m not a know-it-all, so as I study, I’ll either have better responses or be proven wrong – so be it. In the meantime, I am disturbed that a man can have so much right, yet miss so much on the other end.

Also, I totally agree with Dr. Michael Heiser’s approach in understanding the Bible. He clearly recommends a healthy understanding of “audience relevance” as well as the points he made in the following quotes:

“Our traditions, however honorable, are not intrinsic to the Bible. They are systems we invent to organize the Bible. They are artificial. They are filters”.

“The facts of the Bible are just pieces – bits of scattered data. Our tendency is to impose order, and to do that we apply a filter. But we gain a perspective that is both broader and deeper if we allow ourselves to see the pieces in their own wider context. We need to see the mosaic created by the pieces”.

I am a big advocate of what it referred to as “Narrative Theology”. Not the quote unquote liberal theory of Narrative Theology, but rather a big “picture theology” that is shaped by an understanding of the whole story that graces the page of Scripture. However, it would seem my and Dr. Heiser’s understanding of that narrative differs.

Dr. Heiser says, “The story of the Bible is about God’s will for, and rule of, the realms He has created, visible and invisible, through the images He created, human and nonhuman. This divine agenda is played out in both realms, in deliberate tandem”.

I would summarize the Biblical narrative to be a big picture reality on how man has come to and can come to know the truth of God. If man coming to know God is redemption, then what we read through the pages of Scripture is the historical detailing of that redemption. God used Old Covenant Israel as His historical people and example through which man’s sin is highlighted and offered the gift of grace through the Messiah. God wants man to rule, reign, and rest with Him and for Him and that is found “in the Spirit”, however man naturally leans upon his own misunderstands (cf. Proverbs 3:5-6). Man leaning upon his own misunderstanding, in contrast to heeding the truth of God (Spirit) is the conceptual reality that is highlighted in the Genesis account, and than man being saved from that through the Messiah is highlighted in the last 2 chapters of the Book of Revelation.

Where I have come to sharply disagree is how Dr. Heiser is his understanding of “the intersection of our domain and the unseen world”. I remember reading through various books and articles on Hebrew mythology and the Ancient Near East and wondering how did all of this reflect upon the details I find in Scripture. How does the truth of Scripture contrast the understanding of the ancient near eastern myths and cults? It would seem that Dr. Heiser has allowed these “Hebrew myths” to develop his understanding of the “heavenly council”, which in some respects has become his “filter” (talked about above).

Honestly, I couldn’t fully read through the book. He used a host of texts (some you will find in a picture below), and used them in a very erroneous matter. I couldn’t stomach the disagreement any more, so I jumped to some chapters, and then finally just reading the last 2 chapters to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Dr. Heiser uses Psalm chapter 82, of which he says, “has at its core the unseen realm and its interaction with the human world”.

Let’s take a look at Psalm 82:

“God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and the fatherless do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They do not know nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods”, and all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men, and fall like any one of the princes”. Arise I God, judge the earth! For it is Thou who dost possess all the nations”.

I am baffled that this text could cause so much disruption in Dr. Heiser’s view. The is surely a Messianic picture. God taking His stand is God coming in judgment, and that judgement would be in the midst of His people. Thus is why Jesus Christ quotes this passage in John 10:34-37. Jesus is explaining to the Jews (who are the rulers who judged unjustly and showed partiality to the wicked), namely they did not follow the command of Deuteronomy 4:6-9. Not to see this is to miss the entire point of the Old Testament and the purpose of the Messiah coming to His own. I have no idea how this verse disturbed Dr. Heiser.

Old Covenant Israel was those who walked in darkness and did not know nor understand. Israel was suppose to have the presence of God, however due to sin, which was highlighted by the picture in the garden (which would have been a covenant story for Israel throughout all their generations) they were separated – thus “dying like men, and falling like the princes”.

Dr. Heiser’s confusion is compounded because he has said, “At no point in the Old Testament does the Scripture teach that Jews or Jewish leaders were put in authority over the other nations”. I put a big frown in the book next to this statement. How could Dr. Heiser miss this?

Israel was given the oracles of God (cf. Romans 3:2), they were to rule and reign over the nations as they lived the example of the Law (cf. Deuteronomy 4:6-9), and they came under judgment again and again for failing to live up to this, ultimately culminating in the AD 70 “coming of the Lord”.

After hearing Dr. Heiser on the Rethinking Revelation podcast and really paying attention to his thoughts on eschatology, I realized maybe he needs to return to study of the Biblical narrative past the ancient near east. The “spiritual realm” which is being conveyed through the whole of Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation) is a conceptual reality (an actual reality being made known through a picture), not a dualistic other-world.

Through covenant God chooses those who dwell in His presence, His people had been removed from His presence only to gain access through Jesus Christ at the end of the age (cf. 1 Corinthians chapter 10; Hebrews 9:26). No other gods dwell there.

I urge a study on all the verses that will be in the picture below – of course after a healthy understanding of the Biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. Keep an eye out for my book, Wicked, due to be published in March 2017 which will deal with some of these details as well as an examination of all things wicked – Satan, demons, hell,etc…

In Service to Him,

Pastor Michael Miano

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