Holy of Holies: A Poem

Oh the desperation of this imperfect skin

Oh the inadequacy of holiness

that runs rampant through my life

Who am I to address the Throne of God?

To bear witness before His presence?

 

Do I not descend from the line of Adam?

Is not his fallen DNA rushing through my veins?

I feel it, I hear it, its pulse drums in my chest

At times pinging louder than any snare ever could

 

So who am I to bear witness before His presence?

 

While my soul longs to meet with Him face to face

The fear inside me cries out,

“Thank God for the earthly Tabernacle!

That I might keep my distance from His Holiness

That the Levites might be called before Him

And that their clan may make a wall around Him

To protect me from the place where He dwells

I am much safer here, on the outskirts surrounding

That humble tent of sacrifice”

 

My heart quickens as I imagine being in that place

Step by step, inch by inch

Getting closer to the Holy of Holies

The place where God dwells

 

Oh how beautiful the veil that separates our eyes

For how could I in my imperfection

Gaze upon such holiness and live?

Surely my life would crumble in a moment

Obliterated into shards, lying on the floor

Waiting to be swept away with the dust

 

Dust. Surely that’s all I am in His eyes

For I come carrying a multitude of sins

Some being simple mistakes

Some I’ve committed in full knowledge of their effects

So brush up the ashes of what’s left of me

And let it go to the wind, disappearing into the sunset

 

For the innocence of a thousand animals

And the gallons of their blood

Could certainly not make right the life of this sinner

Let alone the iniquities of my brothers

The conviction upon me is so great and so again I cry out,

“Thank God for the Tabernacle!

Thank God for the Levites!

Thank God for the veil!”

For without these, I’d be naked before Him

Every last hint of me visible

With a soul piercing gaze in His eyes

 

Oh the conviction

How it burns deeply in my heart

I would fall prostrate before him

Weeping until a river had formed

And my tear ducts had run dry

 

There with my face in the dirt I’d lie lifeless

Incapable of exerting any strength

“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY,” cries what’s left of my mind

The words I cannot speak, but the thought repeats itself

Over and over again, as steady as the ocean waves

“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY”

For what other words can be found in this moment?

 

But the thing that confuses me most

As I imagine being before Him

Is that despite my sinfulness

Despite my inadequacy

Despite my unholiness

I can’t help but want to take a glimpse of Him

Like a bug chasing after a flame

Perhaps He will consume me

But the urge is irresistible

 

Though my strength is shot and I can’t move a muscle

My desire to look upon Him is so great

That I force it to happen with what feels like supernatural power

My world goes into slow motion as I stare into beauty

And that split second of life becomes all that I remember

 

So yes, I fear God—I dread His holiness

For who am I to address the Throne?

But I can’t help but desire with all that is in me

To come before His presence

 

 

 

 

My heart yearns for Him to walk among us

In the cool of the day as He did in Eden

To hear His footsteps in the lush grass behind me

before I had even turned around to see him

 

Oh if only such a possibility still existed

 

But here in the Tabernacle, God is only approached once a year

Oh what a dreaded day the Day of Atonement must have been

for the priest called beyond the veil

with only the smoke of his incense to protect him

 

What if he wasn’t holy enough?

Were the legends true?

Did they really tie a rope to his ankle to pull out his corpse?

Would there be anything left of him to pull out?

Such beauty the Day of Atonement represents

And such fear for the price in which it might be paid

 

One can only imagine how much the priest’s hands might have shook

How quickly his eyes moved to and fro

Or perhaps he stared at the ground

out of fear that his life, as holy as it was, wasn’t enough

 

I think of the innocent bull sacrificed on that day

And how it became a sin offering for the priest and his house

 

I think of its blood being sprinkled

On the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant

And obsessively sprinkled

Seven times on the ground in front of it

 

I think of the innocent goat sacrificed on that day

And how it became a sin offering for everyone else

I think of it’s blood also being sprinkled on the mercy seat

To make atonement for our transgressions

For our deliberate sins and our willful rebellion

Sin so serious that this blood was taken into the holy of holies

 

I think of the other goat whom the priest laid hands on

And how all of our evil was confessed over it

I think of how it was sent into the desert

To a place where it could not return

 

Run quickly young scapegoat

Take our sins far away and die with them

For to see them return would be more than we could handle

Release us from this burden we’ve brought on ourselves

 

Year after year came this bittersweet day

This Day of Atonement

Sins were recalled and then wiped away

Would this cycle ever be broken?

Or was this the circle of humanity

A never-ending pattern

The rhythm of life

 

Centuries later something new took place

An odd supernatural manifestation of color

Over time a new tradition was added to the day of Atonement

And a scarlet rope was hung from the tabernacle

It’s color reminding the people of the bloodshed on their behalf

But after one goat given judgment and sacrificed

And the other given mercy and released

This scarlet rope would miraculously turn white

 

No science could explain this

It had to be a sign from God

A reply from Heaven to say that

The Most Holy One forgives us

Our sins are wiped away

We are as white as snow

 

This sign happened for years

And then one day it just stopped

What was it that happened?

Had God forgotten about His people?

Had He stopped forgiving them?

Had they not been good enough?

 

Or was it that this was around the time that Jesus had died?

Was it that there was a new way of atonement?

Had an ultimate sacrifice been made?

A new covenant that overruled the old?

 

Yes! Perhaps that was it!

Perhaps He was it!

But then how?

How did the Tabernacle relate to this man at all?

 

Was His blood the atonement?

His life the sacrifice by which we enter the tabernacle?

If so, then shouldn’t I as a Christian be fearful?

After all, if He is the ticket to enter the Holy of Holies

Then am I to access God’s presence?

The place where His Spirit dwells?

The place I fear and dread and yet find oddly irresistible?

Surely that place is not open to me

 

But then the Bible says the veil was supernaturally torn after Jesus died

The very last thing that kept me safe from His Spirit

If His Spirit has been unleashed on the world, why am I still standing?

Is it that God has left the earth?

Or is it that He’s doing a new thing?

 

If Paul is right, and my body is a temple

And it’s there that the Spirit dwells

Have I become the very place I fear and dread?

 

After all, Jeremiah spoke on behalf of God, saying:

“I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 

Is this truly what Jesus has done?

Has He torn down the veil and placed God’s Spirit within us

And we have somehow survived?

Have we all come to know the Lord

And been forgiven—our sins remembered no more?

The scarlet rope inside us turned white?

The scapegoat sent away for the last time?

 

Who are we as humans to approach the throne together?

Who are we as humans to have the Spirit of the Most Holy God

Living inside of these broken, sinful bodies?

 

While His original Tabernacle may have been a humble tent

It was still filled with golden furniture

And when the permanent Tabernacle was made—the Temple

The Holy of Holies was far more magnificent than this lowly body

 

The walls were covered with about 46 pounds of pure gold

The nails themselves were made of gold

The statues of creatures were covered in gold

And they even had wings that were 30 feet across!

Even the veil was made of expensive linen

 

How could God possibly take residence in me over such a place?

For human hands cannot make much better a place than that Temple

 

God, how have we suppressed you so greatly

That after 2,000 years this is what the world looks like?

For Your Spirit is powerful and operates now in our bodies

Surely we have done something wrong

 

We ask you now to take up residence as King and invade our lives fully

For its Your presence we’ve been seeking since Eden

It’s the sound of your footsteps, but resonating from our own feet

It’s the fear of your presence that we find irresistible

 

We ask—no, we beg

That we may be raptured in Your presence

And confounded by Your love

Because for so long our flesh has expected You to be angry

But you have said that it is not so through Isaiah

 

“I dwell in the high and holy place,

and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,

to revive the spirit of the lowly,

and to revive the heart of the contrite.

For I will not contend forever,

nor will I always be angry;

for the spirit would grow faint before me,

and the breath of life that I made.

Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,

I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,

but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;

I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,

creating the fruit of the lips.

Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, and I will heal him.”

 

God, may we no longer backslide

May we be of lowly and contrite heart

May you bring us peace and heal us

For Your Spirit inside of us

Is the strongest force in the universe

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Favorite Worship Artists and Albums

Sonicflood

In my personal opinion, this is the best album Gotee records ever put out (and considering the album went gold, many must agree with me). And when I mention Sonicflood, let’s be clear that I’m referring to the original Sonicflood that released a debut self-titled album and a live album entitled Sonicpraise. I am not talking about the band that kickstarted INO records by taking on the same name with nearly all different members.

A friend of mine had bought Sonicflood’s first album for me as a moving-away present back in about 1999. I had heard their hit I Want to Know You, but didn’t know much about them otherwise. And so I threw it in my portable CD player and was almost immediately addicted to it. I don’t know why. This was well before I played any instruments so I could only understand the beauty of their music to the extent that my ears enjoyed it, but I still loved it.

This was the first worship music I had ever heard that was incredibly intimate and rocked out at the same time. It was also the first music I heard in which the songs weren’t trying to be three minutes a piece. The songs were as drawn out as the band wanted them to be and it was perfect that way.

I even happened to see them live at the very first concert I ever went to. They opened for the Newsboys and even though they only had about 15-20 minutes to play they must have only gotten through two songs altogether. I didn’t understand the repetition at the time because it was before I had a charismatic bone in my body.

And then, in 2001 when their live album Sonicpraise came out, I threw it in my CD player and rarely took it out. There was something magical about this album just like the first one. I listened to it for hours and scratched it up pretty good. I especially couldn’t stop listening to their Spontaneous Worship track which was a whopping 9+ minutes—way beyond what any Christian record label would have put out at that time.

Why was I so attracted to this? What was it about this album?

I now believe that my attraction was to an anointing God had put on this album. It had been blessed and turned into a true worship project. It was highly musical, incredibly genuine, and ground-breaking for its time. The spoken words that started the album must have literally done something in the spiritual realm:

We love you Jesus. Manifest your presence through this album and through the lives of these men who go out commissioned by Your word to be worshippers of the true and holy God. And making disciples in Jesus name.

You could see even more of their desperation for God in the hidden track, which is about three and a half minutes of discussion of the album.

Again, the original Sonicflood isn’t around anymore, but their lead singer Jeff Deyo has been writing and releasing some great albums you should look into.

Jesus Culture

As of right now, my favorite worship band would have to be that of Jesus Culture. The first time I had heard of them was when a friend of mine had used a video of them singing How He Loves in a presentation she had given in a worship arts class. I remember being captivated by it, but I didn’t look into the band until David Crowder Band made John Mark McMillan’s song an even bigger hit than Jesus Culture did. Soon the whole Christian realm was aware of How He Loves and many were pointed to the live recording that Jesus Culture had done.
That’s what happened to me. I posted a review here on my blog about David Crowder’s version of How He Loves and someone left a comment telling me to check out the Jesus Culture version. After watching the video I was immediately overwhelmed. I had to get some of this band’s music. Why? I think it was because I hadn’t heard any music that had been so anointed since the original Sonicflood albums.
Jesus Culture is probably gaining popularity more than any other worship band right now (even Relevant Magazine recently wrote an article on them), and they’re doing so by playing long extended songs full of passion and spontaneous praise. They don’t want to succumb to industry standards, they just want to worship. And with it, I believe a generation of worshipers is being unleashed. On top of that, many are turning to Bethel Church in Redding, CA where Jesus Culture is based. Because of this, many are learning of the gifts, miracles and phenomena of the Spirit that take place there and are running to learn more about how God can do such things in their own life.
I think my favorite album of Jesus Culture’s would have to be Come Away, but I can’t help but push you to buy everything they’ve released. It’s all spectacular and anointed.

Bethel Music

Since I’m on the topic of Jesus Culture, I might as well mention Bethel Music. This is the church I just mentioned above in my overview of Jesus Culture. Bethel is home to Jesus Culture and therefore their albums have all kinds of artists on it—from those in the Jesus Culture band, to others who lead worship at Bethel. The original songs coming out of this church are quickly making their way into mainstream churches and even into mainstream worship leader’s new albums. Bethel does so many amazing things and in my opinion is one of the leading churches that God is putting over America right now. I stay on top of not only the music they release, but what their church is doing through a subscription to iBethel.tv.

All Sons & Daughters

I only discovered All Sons & Daughters a few months ago, but I was immediately taken by their music. That’s honestly a bit strange for me because their particular genre is one that I’ve heard a lot of over the past few years and am not usually smitten with. But strangely enough I found myself wrapped up in their music and quickly buying everything they had to offer. There was something very genuine about their music and I got to see it firsthand when they played a concert at my alma mater just weeks after discovering them.

It was incredible. I’ve never seen a band with no drummer sound so full. It was truly a time of intimate, stripped-down worship and I was very moved by it—even after discovering that they were more or less a church worship band! I’ve noticed recently that a lot of church worship bands are trying to get their music out there when they probably shouldn’t be. But All Sons & Daughters is one of those church worship bands that the Christian music realm desperately needs and desires.

You have no need to buy all of their EPs because they just released an album entitled Season One, which has almost all of their music to date, plus two new songs.

Jeremy Riddle

Jeremy Riddle is closely connected to Bethel Music and has even released a few songs on Bethel’s albums. He is an amazing worship leader with a great atmospheric rock sound and lyrics of desperation. His album Furious is an amazing album that can really help you enter into the presence of God. His song One Thirst and Hunger is among one of my favorites of his and I use it in our church’s worship services quite regularly. Outside of that his song Always is among one of the most peaceful and beautiful worship songs I’ve ever heard. I love to set an atmosphere and just blast this song in all of it’s ambient-prayer-closet-beauty.

Cory Asbury

There are few studio worship albums I probably listen to more than Cory Asbury’s Let Me See Your Eyes. If this dude writes a song, you better believe it’s going to be catchy, born out of desire, and full of Scripture. On top of that, I’ve never known any worship artist to succeed at so many different kinds of genres. I get excited anytime I catch live him on IHOP.

Cory Asbury would also have to be king of the fast songs in the Christian music worship scene. There are so many good slow worship songs out there, but so few fast ones. Cory is able to operate on both sides of the table—whether it be the joy and uplifting sounds of the upbeat side of things, or the desperate and worshipful cries of the deep, intimate side of things.

This man is truly anointed by God to be a worship leader and you should definitely grab his album. And while I’ve been patiently awaiting a new album from him, I’ve also grown addicted to an album he worked on with Matt Gilman entitled Holy. Both are well worth a purchase.

Pas Neos

There’s another IHOP artist outside of Cory Asbury that I am in love with named Pas Neos. These guys are still pretty new to the scene but they have done something that few worship bands have ever done so well: electronica.

I am a huge electronica fan. It’s actually more or less my favorite genre. And now that it’s taking over the radio I’m that guy who gets to yell at everyone and say, “I’ve been listening to that kind of music for like a decade! I was obsessed with it when no one else would listen to it!” And no, I’m not a hipster.

This band is straight up indie-electronica and they do an amazing job at it. Their lyrics are also so Scriptural that the words they use in their songs can catch you off guard at first. They really push you to think of what they’re saying. It’s one of the most intriguing worship albums to come out in a long time and I am so incredibly happy that it has come out of IHOP.

IHOP

“Man Jamin,” you say. “I’ve never heard someone reference pancakes so much when talking about worship music.”

“Yeah, I actually get that a lot,” I reply.

But if you’ve been in the worship scene for awhile, you probably know that when I reference IHOP, I’m not talking about the International House of Pancakes, but rather the International House of Prayer. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was made aware that there was a place out there that hosted 24/7 worship and that you could watch it online. I was immediately intrigued and spent many hours streaming IHOP into my room. In fact, I have it streaming right now.

The IHOP musicians can literally play one song for an entire hour on the IHOP worship stream because they know how to dwell in a time of worship. Half the time they’ll make up the song on the spot by singing Scripture. It’s no surprise that such amazing music would come out of this House of Prayer. Both Cory Asbury and Pas Neos mentioned above have come out of Forerunner, the label associated with IHOP.

One of my favorite live albums that has come out of IHOP is Onething ’09. This is another great album to look into if you’re looking for more upbeat fast songs for your worship sessions.

Shane and Shane

Shane and Shane visited my campus one semester and a friend of mine couldn’t stop talking about how amazing their worship session was after they had left.

He was right. Shane and Shane had just released their album Pages which was full of some of the most intimate lyrics I had heard in a long time. They opened the show with one of my favorite songs of theirs, Vision of You. This was one of the most intense “inviting-the-presence” songs I had ever heard before. Their beautiful voices soared over the music and drew the entire audience into worship.

I only walked out of the room for a few minutes and that was so I could buy their album. I now own several of their albums and press you to listen to all of their works.

Matt Redman

Not only is Matt Redman a great worship artist, but he’s also a great author. Actually, I did a lot more reading of his books before I really got into his music. I mean, I knew his big hits like everyone else (like Better is One Day, Heart of Worship, and Dancing Generation), but I hadn’t really listened to a lot of his music up until recently.

Fortunately, because I had read some of his books before I got into his music, I was able to truly see the passion he had for leading and writing worship music. I was especially moved by his album 10,000 Reasons. It had great songs all the way through it and was full of true worship and praise. If you haven’t listened to this album yet, I suggest you buy it along with one of his books like The Unquenchable Worshipper or Mirror Ball.

David Crowder Band

 

David Crowder Band has always been one of my favorite bands, especially for their work on A Collision (Or 3+4=7) and their latest and final album Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]). Crowder has some of the most interesting and creative worship lyrics. Even more so, he has some of the most intriguing music. You can’t play half these songs at your church, mostly because they’re too amazing. Even some of their most simple worship songs that are played in churches all the time throw worship bands off. Sure the chords may be G D Em C, but you hold out the C an extra measure on this pre-chorus, two measures on the second one, and one and a half measures on the third.

But that’s David Crowder for you and you have to love it.

If you’re looking for a simple prayer closet album, check out his debut, All I Can Say, which many have overlooked in the success of his most recent albums.

And just a heads up: even though David Crowder Band is now officially broken up, most of the band members of DCB have started a new group called The Digital Age. They’ve released a few glimpses of what they sound like and it is AMAZING. Here’s a video of them doing their own take on All Sons & Daughters‘ song All the Poor and Powerless.

Chris Tomlin

Like I even have to mention Chris Tomlin. This guy has written (or at least made famous) many of the worship songs every contemporary church plays. This includes songs like: How Great is Our God, Our God, Forever, The Wonderful Cross, Famous One, We Fall Down, Indescribable, Holy is the Lord, Enough, Made to Worship, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), Jesus Messiah, God of This City, and I Will Rise.

Again, he didn’t write every one of these songs, but he at least made the majority of them famous. He’s perhaps the most well known worship leader because he writes some of the greatest, catchiest, thoughtful, wide-spread worship songs we’ve ever heard.

And if you like all of the Tomlin songs I just mentioned, just buy How Great is Our God: The Essential Collection, because I literally just gave you the track listing.

Worth Dying For

There are many other worship groups I could mention, but I want to end by mentioning a newer group called Worth Dying For. I discovered them when they released their album Love Riot and was captivated not only by the music, but by the genuinity of their worship. It was some of the best rocked out worship music I had heard in a long time. They also just put out an amazing live album Live Riot.
Also, feel free to download some of my own worship music for free here.

Happy Worship Tonight

The band I play in is getting together tonight for some worship at the Lighthouse Club in downtown Jackson at 7:00. I’ll let these pictures explain the rest:


Attaining Righteousness

I’ve spent a good portion of this morning reading and praying and there’s been a repetitive theme that I’ve seen while doing so. I first came across it this morning while reading They Shall Expel Demons by Derek Prince, a book I mentioned I was reading recently on instagram (yeah that was a shameless plug for you instagrammers):

As I was reading through it today, Prince listed 5 qualities that were typically found in false religions. That one that really caught me by surprise was number 4: “Religions teaching that people can attain righteousness by their own efforts.”

Again, the appeal is to human pride. Proud people are drawn to religious systems that demand hard, unreasonable forms of work and even self-inflicted suffering. The more rigorous the demands of a religion, the greater the degree of pride a person feels in fulfilling them.

Now perhaps this shouldn’t have caught me off guard. After all I’ve preached it before and I understand that our perfection is found in Jesus. But on the other side of things, we Christians do have to push ourselves to stay disciplined in the faith and stay away from sin. We have to seek to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

The problem is that many of us Christians focus so much on disciplining ourselves that we never even bring Jesus into the picture. Yes, we are called to live righteously, but Jesus is our righteousness. We cannot become righteous without Him and His all-powerful blood.

There’s a balance. A balance between the all-sufficient atonement of Christ and the discipline of your flesh. If you focus only on yourself and your flesh, “you appeal to human pride,” as Prince said. If you only call yourself saved under the grace of Jesus, but never look to live a righteous life, you take advantage of grace. For this reason, you could cast out demons and do miracles in the power of the name of Jesus and God could still tell you “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23). You could be a Christian and do Christian things and at the same time be a worker of lawlessness.

I think a lot of times I tend to find myself on the side of “I’m not good enough” rather than on the side of “Jesus is good enough for me.” And I think this morning God was trying to restore that balance in my head. I had read what Prince had to say while I was at home and then, when I got to my office, I decided to take communion. Now I tend to open myself up to communion differently when I take it in private, (i.e. in worship, reflection, meditation, or quiet), but this time I went with the good ol’ fashioned Free Methodist handbook. And as I read through it, this stuck out to me:

We do not come to this Your table, O merciful Lord, with self-confidence and pride, trusting in our own righteousness, but we trust in Your great and many mercies. We are not worthy to gather the crumbs from under Your table. But You, O Lord, are unchanging in Your mercy and Your nature is love; grant us, therefore, God of mercy, God of grace, so to eat at this Your table that we may receive in spirit and in truth the body of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, and the merits of His shed blood, so that we may live and grow in His likeness and, being washed and cleansed through His most precious blood, we may evermore live in Him and He in us. Amen. (Emphasis mine)

Enter the balance. If you’re like me and tend to focus more on your good works, start to focus on Jesus’ righteousness. You can’t achieve it without Him as seen in Romans 3:21-26.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

But if you’re used to taking advantage of Jesus’ righteousness, grace, and mercy and living an immoral life of sin, start to discipline yourself and do what you’re called to do as pointed out in James 2:14-17.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Righteousness comes to us by faith in Jesus Christ. But we are hardly righteous if we don’t live like it. For a long time I’ve tried to reconcile the following two passages together:

Romans 4:1-5

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…

James 2:21-26

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Despite what it may look like at first glance, I no longer think these verses are at odds with each other. I mean you read a bunch of the other letters Paul wrote and it becomes completely obvious that he knows you have to live righteously to get into Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11):

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul and James aren’t at war with each other. They’re emphasizing different sides of the spectrum. Paul shows the victory of the righteousness we gain from Jesus. James acknowledges that victory while stating the obvious that we still have to live righteously and our works should show it.

And with that, I’m going to close. I think the Holy Spirit has taken me much further into this discussion than I thought He would! I meant to wrap up like three paragraphs after my picture!

How are you imbalanced in this discussion? Make steps to fix it. Ask Righteousness to help.

Apollos: Healing (Session 1)

When it comes to spiritual gifts, people probably believe the most in healing—though it’s usually God at work through the “surgeon’s hands” rather than the Holy Spirit. And it seems that when God does show up and supernaturally heal someone, He doesn’t even get the credit. People assume the doctor had the wrong diagnosis before they truly believe it was God.

On top of that, many Christians have left the faith or have grown angry with God because of this spiritual gift. Perhaps they’ve lost a loved one and have blamed it on God. Or perhaps they prayed for healing and it never came. Whatever the case may be, healing can become a very confusing gift to operate in.

For session one on healing, we will watch a documentary by Darren Wilson entitled The Finger of God. This movie focuses in on a few supernatural themes such as signs and wonders and healing. My goal in showing you this movie is to give you visual proof of God’s healing powers. Next week we will talk more in depth on healing as you read through this PDF. But again, I want you to see it in action so first we will watch this movie.

Now since you’re following this online, it’s going to require a small financial contribution. You can download Finger of God on iTunes for only $6 (or you can rent it there for $4). Consider this your tuition fund ;)

This movie challenged me and really opened me up to missions and the supernatural world of God. So please—don’t skip this section. The weirdest stuff is at the beginning and then it will settle down and get… well… less weird.

After watching it, try to find time before next Monday to look over and meditate on the verses in the PDF attached. What can you learn about healing through them? We will discuss our thoughts next week.

Apollos: Dreams

This week at Apollos we looked into interpreting dreams. This is one of the supernatural ways that God works that I’ve experienced most so I figured what better place to start? On top of that, we all dream which makes it an even better place to start! Join the podcast and read the PDF to learn what dreams are from God, what dreams are from demons, and what dreams are just straight up natural.

Download the High Quality PDF here.

Download the Smaller PDF here.

Download the MP3 here or subscribe to the iTunes podcast here. If the latest session on dreams isn’t up there when you visit iTunes, give it sometime and it should be later today. If you subscribe, it should download once it gets up there. Or you can go into your subscribed podcasts on iTunes and right click on the Apollos podcast, and click on “Update Podcast.” Then it should begin to download.

Want to learn even more about dreams? Read James W. and Michal Ann Goll’s book, The Dream Language.

Apollos: Introduction & History

We had our first Apollos class last night. If you wanted to make it but could not, I’m podcasting it so you can keep up with us. You’ll want to grab two things: the MP3 of our discussion, as well as a PDF copy of my Introduction handout. So grab either a copy of the high quality PDF  or the reduced quality PDF (they actually look almost the same but there is a 25 megabyte difference).

I will try to get the podcast onto iTunes so you can subscribe to it for free there. But at the moment it is in the process of being moved there. For now you can keep up with the MP3 podcast here. But check back here for the PDFs that go with each week.