Forum Bullies and Abusers

narcissist chicken

This is a letter which was posted on a forum which is now defunct. But I wanted to have this letter up because the cult which we used to belong to destroyed the forum not once but twice.  While this is neither here nor there for us because we had our own blog going to expose the abuses of this cult since 2006 (Tales from the Crypt), there will be many who will lament the forum’s passing.

We put this letter up last year and within a few months the forum had been hacked.  They don’t like being exposed, moreover, they don’t like being told off publicly.  Mild conversation about the cult’s activities was acceptable, almost, but having the temerity to take on one of their cult imposters was too much for them evidently.

This is one for all the cult survivors in Brisbane and Australia, and well, let’s just say everywhere.

An Open Letter To An Anonymous BCF Member who abuses the name of the prophet Haggai,

I have been reading your posts for the last six years. Not a lot has changed. You ask the same questions over and over in different ways.

Are you genuinely expecting people here to adjust their glasses, take a good long look at you and say ‘My but that boy knows what he is talking about, I must consider what he says’.

I am sorry but that isn’t going to happen.

You set yourself up as an antagonist right from your first post.

Anybody who sings the praises of the elders in this place is going to be treated to the same response from the people here.

You have absolutely no understanding of human nature. You think that you can come here and have an impact but all you are doing is providing grist for the mill, proof that the BCF eldership are malicious and eternally vengeful and that sending you here to taunt and provoke is just another ploy from them.

No, you will tell us, you are an independent agent, not an agent of the elders. But you told us that you were yourself in your first paragraph, and have reiterated that over and over.

I saved your first post all those years ago so that I could analyse it for myself. I kept it just in case, and it is proving to be an interesting journey going back to look at who you used to be and comparing it to who you are now.

I normally only read on this forum, but I finally decided to share what I have learned with the forum.

Here is a reminder of what you wrote back then, six years ago.

I currently attend BCF. I do not in any way, shape or form represent BCF. I am involved in the youth program and have committed myself to a life of discipleship and training under the hands of the eldership of the lamp at BCF among the wider Lampstand of Restoration Fellowships International. No-one has asked me or influenced me to contact this group (or similar). In fact, when speaking casually with some of the elders here, they advise me to tread carefully in what I read and see (after watching the Four Corners program on ABC). Again, let me say, I am not their representative.

Now that I’ve got the disclaimer out of the way … What is the issue here?

I understand everyone has their own reasons for leaving the church (as with any church) but why label it a cult? Why create a forum to share past experiences of leaving said cult? and why praise the efforts of those who have left? … would you do the same for a mainstream Baptist, Pentecostal or Catholic church? I am keen to demystify any confusion about BCF and related churches through scripture. The word of God is true. If this is not the foundation of your faith, then how can you call yourself a Christian?

Now, although I have grown up in this church, I am not familiar with the likes of books that ex-bcf-ers would have read at the time of their leaving. I am not going to try defend statements or quotes from text that I most probably haven’t read. I am in the age bracket of 17-25, so please, state your disagreements and I will try to reply with scripture or if what you claim to happen, in reality, doesn’t I will let you know. I will try to keep an open mind to each reply that comes.

I do not endeavour to bring you back to xCF (although if I have that impact I’d be joyed) … I wish to remove the hostility between our church and your families for aren’t we One Body of Christ. When we get to heaven will there be a section for the baptists, another for the Jews, another for the Catholics etc … each denomination believes that they are the true church. I cannot change that mindset, however I can attempt to remove barriers – especially those barriers which block family members.

Also, just another disclaimer, I will not be checking this all the time. Probably a few times a week – depending on the amount of responses. I have set it to send me an email as replies come in, but I am busy and replying on this forum needs to be crafted to maintain scriptural accuracies so I need time to research

When I read this post six years ago I analysed it carefully, tore apart its semantics and quickly came to a number of conclusions. It is full of plot holes, inconsistencies, contradictions and just plain old bluster. It is the work of a genuinely deluded, arrogant and objectionable person who ignores completely anything which doesn’t line up with his own confident analysis of a situation. Nothing more is needed in your head than for the people of this forum to line up with their grievances so that you can solve all their problems for them. Moreover, and this underscores your insolence perfectly, you will tell the members of this forum if what they think happened actually happened. In other words, you will be the author of their reality. If that doesn’t scream abuser, I don’t know what does.

What’s really scary is that you haven’t changed.

Six years on and you are still spouting the same palaver with the same attitude clearly expecting that if you shout at the forum loudly enough for long enough people will listen to you.

So how is that working for you then?

What you have never understood is that people here have been beaten down, broken and abused. In fact, YOU have been broken down, beaten and abused. The difference is that you don’t know it yet. Your mind has been taken over, your heart and conscience seared and your emotions crippled. You have never known what it is like to live free from oppression. I am sorry for you.

But when you come here, you take on the identity of your abusers and out of your mouth comes the malicious abusive words we are so used to.

Do not expect that anything will change until you leave BCF.

You think you can keep coming here and doing your multiple personality disorder dance, now an abuser, then an apologist, again feeling sorry for yourself and sucking up to people, and then back to being an abuser.

People here are sick and tired of watching that dance. They LEFT their respective fellowships to get away from that, but Satan is making sure that you are going to never let them forget that he is always in there trying to bruise our souls, to steal our faith and destroy our relationships one more time.

You keep asking why people are here talking about what happened to them?

Seriously?

There is only one reason why anyone would ask that sort of a question, and that is to engage people in defensive argument. Get people on the defensive and you can control them because you are the one asking the questions.

It’s a good ploy, but it has nothing to do with engaging people in genuine relationshjp.

But you don’t know how to do that.

We do, because we had relationships before BCF, and we knew what that was all about, and we developed relationships out of BCF as we recovered.

Again, I am sorry that you were born into such a screwed up toxic environment.

But then again, you come here and abuse people.

People want to show you compassion here, I have seen it, I have felt their hearts as they have tried to talk to you. Sometimes it looks as you write that you recognise that too. But then you go back to abusing them and asking really really offensive and dumb questions.

You are too screwed up to be allowed to be let loose on a forum like this.

I still would like to know why you haven’t been tossed off by now.

But then on the other hand, you have never actually joined the forum have you.

Six years and counting and you are still a ‘guest’. It speaks volumes about your inability to let go of your loyalties to your masters and simply just talk to people about yourself. Your real self.

That’s what everyone else does.

But you don’t have a real self. You just have a series of tapes which go on in your head telling you what to say here and what to do there.

You hear these words so much they mean nothing to you. Yet when somebody says something to you that you don’t like, you complain about being ‘kicked in the guts’.

Then you get people apologising for ‘kicking you in the guts’ when all they did was speak the truth. It’s fun isn’t it. All you need to do is sqwark and people will tell you that they didn’t mean to hurt you. People do that because they know what its like to hurt, they have empathy. But you already know that don’t you. You know how to manipulate people, that is what you have been taught by your masters.

People only need to apologise for sin against you, and nobody here has sinned against you.

You have sinned against them.

You have come here questioning their authenticity, speaking with an assumed authority, telling them that they have no love, that they don’t treat you well, that you are not being respected or words to that effect. But you have absolutely no genuine respect for anyone here because you keep sinning against them. You keep abusing them, you keep saying the same ugly things.

You tell us that you are a disciple of the BCF elders but that you don’t in any way shape or form represent BCF. A disciple represents his master, and even more importantly the Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. When scripture tells us to ‘make disciples of all men’ Jesus is saying that we are to make men into His disciples, NOT the disciples of the preacher or elder.

Your colours have been flying openly since your first post and your allegiances are evident. You still tell us that ‘you just love those guys’. You haven’t changed your slave status. Therefore everything you say and do will be a walking, talking testimony to the elders of BCF, those ugly and barbaric individuals who have spiritually raped and tortured their flock for decades.

Unfortunately, and you won’t realise this because you are deceived, but you can’t come onto a forum of abuse survivors as the spokesperson of the people who abused them (despite your protestations to the contrary) and then tell them how to live their lives. Anyone outside of BCF would not even have to be told that.

Six years later and you still haven’t learned.

I have news for you. Jesus is the good shepherd who will find the lost and hurting ones and heal them. Luke 4 says that Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted, to set the captives free and to free us from oppression. He is the one doing the work that is necessary. Anything you attempt to do in his stead is going to not only be purely of the flesh, but is going to cause more harm.

But here is the thing.

Anybody on this forum is more than capable of pulling apart every word you speak and telling you how you are wrong, wrong and even more wrong. But it would make no difference. You live to debate. You will not be convinced by argument and you will not listen to people who know more than you do. You cannot understand what other people have experienced because you have no imagination nor any empathy. You can’t put yourself in other people’s shoes, and you don’t want other people’s experiences to affect or inform you in any way at all. The only people you will listen to are the one to whom you are enslaved to. Paul tells us in Romans 6:16

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness”

You obey the elders, you are their slave.

You are also placing men in the place of the Holy Spirit, which makes you an idolator. Idolatry has always been a grievous sin in God’s eyes. You should also know that idolators will not inherit the kingdom of God and since you are so fond of referring to the judgement seat of Christ, you need to consider the words of your own epithet. (1 Corinthians 6:9)

Or as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 10:

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”[a] 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all[b] these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

While I am at it, Jesus also said that you can’t serve two masters because you will love the one and hate the other. You can’t serve God and Vic Hall, and Vic Hall does not serve God. Therefore you will hate God and everything that is connected to God. You hate those who have left BCF because BCF is not of God and those who have left are proclaiming that fact. This forum is a means to proclaim that truth, and therefore you hate this forum and all who are on it.

This forum was taken down by Vic Hall’s computer wiz kids (sounds like children with bladder problems). But another weapon in his arsenal is the spy who infiltrates. You have infiltrated this forum, in the same manner that the snake infiltrated the garden.

Rather that you face the ugly truth here with your insults and arguments and inane questions than go to your death never having heard it. Some people have sat in BCF their whole lives and never even heard the gospel. You need to hear the truth, and if it hurts, that is good! It is the kind of hurt that will set you free if you let it. It’s the pain of being born son. Embrace it!

If you can’t relate to us from the reality of your own soul, then all you are doing is throwing fire crackers into an open flame. You just want reactions, you want argument and you want to annoy and frustrate the good people of this forum to the point that they try every means they have at their disposal to try and either reason with you or appeal to your heart. Which is a shame because you are neither open to reason nor emotional appeal.

A person who is deluded and as abusive as you has only one option open to them.

You need to be a) born again and b) filled with the Spirit and then you will be able to speak with wisdom and show compassion and mercy, two qualities which you have never in the last six years shown any evidence of.

Ever.

I don’t see a brother in Christ.

I don’t see a man who knows what its like to experience the joy and the freedom of relating intimately with his Lord and Saviour and who understands the joy of relating to others in the Spirit.

You know a lot of stuff, you can argue with the best of them, your head is filled with information. You come on this forum and swagger and bluff your way around. Its’ why you get people angry, because you like the attention.

But it’s also why you don’t want to meet anyone face to face or pick up the phone and talk as some here have suggested you do. That would break the spell wouldn’t it?

You can write till your fingers cramp, but your heart is as cold and as hard as the hearts of the Pharisees. Like the Pharisees, you want people to look up to you. You are covetous of position and influence and actually, just power.

So you come onto this forum and you survey what is here and what people are saying and you figure you have us all summed up. We are an easy target. Victims who seek to assert themselves and give themselves a voice generally are. Forums are an even easier place to pick off prey. Everyone at the water hole is distracted because they are there to find refreshment. The predator on the other hand is there to fill his belly.

I have seen men like you on every possible page of the internet, and in particular on pages where there is an emphasis on intellectualism and the use of language to destroy not only your opponent’s argument but your opponent’s soul.

I have seen men who purport to come from the Calvinist tradition, the Baptist tradition, the Jewish tradition, the Pentecostal tradition and even the Emerging church who out of all of these traditions has made huge headway by redefining the language most Christians are used to. Except they move the goalposts every time they want to score a point against somebody else. These are all the things that you do. All of these men do the same thing, they turn the word of God into a weapon aimed at their fellow believers, and they then turn their sights on demolishing other people so they can emerge the victor.

Anyone who isn’t bamboozled by language can look at these poor sad wretches with their keyboards and their computer brains and realise that these guys know absolutely nothing about real relationships.

Because if they did, they would not be making love to their keyboards, they would be relating to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

But here’s the thing. You don’t recognise us as being part of the body of Christ. You won’t admit this on screen because that would be too much like being vulnerable. But your lords and masters have dismissed us the way they do everyone who leaves. They hate people who leave and they must destroy our reputations to the people left behind. So they tell us that we are ‘not of them’. They tell us that we will suffer terrible consequences for leaving. They say these things with blank voices and passive faces and condemn us to hell and then wipe their mouths and move to the next meal.

But we are survivors. We deserve a damn medal for what we have survived, we have been bloodied and burned and trashed beyond recognition some of us, you need to take off that mask and have a look at some of the people who have left your lovely never land. I have seen people your age in shopping malls who have left. Young men who spent their whole lives in BCF and finally couldn’t take it any more. They look like the walking dead. They look like recovering drug addicts with tormented pale faces and sunken eyes, some needing anti-depressants to keep going, others simply morphing into unbelievers. They go from being happy clappy conformists to the Vic-culture of BCF, and become what they truly are when they leave. They were never changed so when they left they left as they were born, unbelievers. Not everyone goes through this, but enough do, and I have seen them and my heart goes out to them. They are lost, orphans and wanderers. And Vic will sit back, pleased as punch with his ‘discipline measures’. He has sent them to the devil. The trouble is, they were never Christians to start with. They were given just enough of the gospel to immunise them against the truth, and when they were no longer given the blue pill, when they no longer swallowed the kool aide, they looked at the world as it really is and despaired.

We have all been through the devastation, some have emerged less scathed than others. Myself and my family are doing pretty well now. But for many years after we left there was simply existence, not life.

God is blessing us mightily. We are learning so much, the Holy Spirit is baptising my children, who are all well into adulthood now. But they are growing and changing into the likeness of Jesus Christ. My children, all about your age, were born into BCF too. But we left before they were old enough to be pummelled by anyone else. They left before they were loaded into the cattle-cars and into the concentration camps of young adults or teenagers. I truly feel sorry for you. You have been through a great deal.

But coming here and trashing the faith, hopes and heroic efforts of my brothers and sisters in Christ is NOT OK.

You need to do what you said you were going to do. You need to leave.

And NOT come back here.

We have recognised our own foolishness in being ensnared by fear of man and we will not do it again.

But you, all you have is the endless, agonizing and hopeless quest for attention and recognition from your ‘fathers in the faith’. They drop you a few breadcrumbs from time to time, and your ego does the rest. It doesn’t take much for young men like you and in fact the more men like you suffer from pride and vanity, the louder and more aggressive you become. It is a whole lot of spiritual chest beating, In your case, your position is so untenable that you have to come to a forum where people are empowering themselves with encouragement and support from their own experiences and browbeat everyone into submission to yourself.

You need to stop it.

I rebuke you in Jesus name demon over the life of this young man.

I rebuke you and command you to leave him alone and allow Jesus to speak to him and change his heart from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

Do not come back here demon. You are not welcome, and I will continue to pray against the works of the enemy in your life and coming against the lives of the people here.

I pray that your ears and eyes are opened to the truth.

What difference does any of this actually make to you I might ask?

Why Everybody Hates You

 

cross

John 7:7

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

John 15:18

If the world hates you, you know it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:19

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 17:14

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

1 John 3:13

Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 3:14

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

For the last twelve years or so, Steve and I have spent long hours talking and making sense of the world we entered after leaving the cult.  The world has changed markedly and continues to do so at a rate of knots.  But even more disturbing is the fact that the church has also changed.  We understood that we came out of a place which was an exception to the rule.  Once we wrapped our minds around the concept of the term ‘cult’, we expected to find different behaviour in other churches.  We have been deeply concerned  to find that in fact, much of the behaviour we saw in the cult is being replicated in other Christian organisations; churches and schools.
We were used to being treated badly by cult leaders, but we were not expecting to encounter abusive behaviour from what might be termed ‘ordinary Christians’.  What we discovered was that our cult experience was the thin end of the wedge.  In fact, as we went back over our histories, two separate and disconnected paths, we realised that we had both experienced really horrible behaviour from church people most of our lives.
Why was this?  Were we at fault?  Or were we just unfortunate enough to have been the target of a lot of badly behaved Christians?  Was our experience unique? I don’t think so. In the last twelve years we have done a lot of research and found that large numbers of Christians are leaving the church and not for the reasons that the so called researchers, like George Barna, have suggested. More often the stated reason for leaving churches is because the gospel is no longer being preached.  Genuine brothers and sisters in the Lord are offended with the false gospels, the false teachers, and the false prophets who arise in their midst.  They are faced with the choice of attempting to change the church or leaving.  It seems many, even after years of trying to get the leaders to see sense, have simply given up and looked for another place to fellowship. What they are finding is that there are very few churches now which appear to preach the gospel. If the gospel is not being preached, people sitting in the pews are not getting saved.  We heard the testimony of one man who sat in David Wilkerson’s Times Square Church and said that it was the first time he had ever heard the gospel in 20 years of being a Christian.  It was then that he actually became born again.  This is not an isolated example.
On this note, one preacher we have found to be the epitome of a good solid bible teacher is a man called Charles Lawson.  He is a Baptist pastor in Knoxville Tennessee.  He is what you might call an ‘old time pastor’, but he has done his research and is willing to discuss things from the pulpit that most pastors will not.  He talks about end times, the rapture of the church, he talks about the one world government and the occult.  He is filled with the Spirit and is a genuine brother in the Lord.  We delight in listening to his messages because for 12 years we have looked to find something similar in our country and have failed.  He is surely not the only pastor who preaches the gospel, but he is one we have spent a lot of time listening to.
line breakGood teachers aside, I believe there are two issues intertwined in this matter.  On the one hand  you have the hatred of the world for genuine believers, and on the other hand you have people who identify as Christians but are in fact not genuine believers because they have not been transformed. They have either come into the church on ‘another gospel’ or they have not been born again. So they are in fact still ‘in the world’ despite the fact that they believe in God.  Now bear with me, this is not about being accusatory, it is about observing and recognising the false and discerning the true.
Peruse the above verses.  You will find that Jesus made it abundantly clear that the world hated Him.   The world hated Him because the world is not of God.  Since born again Christians are of God, then it follows that the world is going to hate you. This is not a maybe.  Jesus was not saying ‘if’.  This is a rule of thumb.  The apostle John also reminds his readers that it should not be a surprise if the world hates you.  Because you are of God.
If the above is true then why am I seeing a whole lot of love for Jesus from the world.  And why is there such a conflation of world and church now in so many denominations. Everybody from Hollywood to the White House are saying that they are Christians.  And its not just happening in America.  I live in Australia and for the longest time our Prime Ministers made a big deal of being church going folk.  The Queen goes to church and is the head of the Church of England.  Are they all born again Christians? No.  No they are not. How do we know this? Because the world loves them, the world embraces them and they are not suffering persecution. And of course, their behaviour shows they are not.
I think what is happening here is that they are worshipping another Jesus.  The Jesus that they worship has a different source, the world.  The Jesus who walked the earth two thousand years ago and died on the cross, that Jesus was hated by everybody. Nobody wanted that Jesus to rule over them. Has the world suddenly changed since then?  No, interestingly, just as God doesn’t change, evil doesn’t change.
I think a lot of Christians assume that just because other Christians believe in ‘God’ that we are all worshipping the same God.  Not true.  There are many ‘Christ’s out there, and Jesus said that this would happen in the last days. But there are also many who are sitting in church believing they are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, when in fact they have not actually even met Him.  They have not had a true conversion experience.  They might have been experiencing some kind of ‘spiritual’ experience, which it appears is a common thing even amongst pagan tribes.  We westerners tend to believe only in science and rational thought.  This is all well and good until you realise that much of what passes as science is rooted in pagan religion.  We have been fooled into thinking that there is no such thing as supernatural beings or supernatural powers.  Yet the Bible makes it clear that Satan is real, demons are real, angels are real, and they are constantly around us despite the fact that we cannot see or hear them.  Our religion has been influenced by such movements as the reformation – which in fact was simply a version of Catholicism and not true biblical Christianity (although it contained elements of it)  – and the charismatic/Pentecostal movements which were founded on various supernatural occurrences during so called ‘revivals’ over the last couple of hundred years. Many of those supernatural experiences were not of the Holy Spirit but were demonic in origin, and these experiences and the doctrines which support them have influenced our teaching and our expectations as believers.
We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are not cessationists.  We have prayed for and seen healings, miracles, baptisms in the Spirit etc.  But what we are looking for is transformation.  We need to see changed lives which are led by and bear fruit from the Holy Spirit.  That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. We tend to see the opposite in many Christians, or sometimes fake fruit.  Let’s look at that.
True Fruit                                                                          Fake Fruit
Love                                                                                   Affection
Joy                                                                                      High Spirits or Loudness
Peace                                                                                 Numbness
Patience                                                                            Inclusion
Goodness                                                                          Doing the right thing
Kindness                                                                           Tolerance
Gentleness                                                                        Psychology
Faithfulness                                                                      Prejudice
Self Control                                                                       Legalism
Christians in Western countries tend to believe that things should be a certain way.  We expect that Christians should act a certain way, generally according to the denomination we belong to.  Reformed churches behave this way, Pentecostal churches behave that way, Baptists do this, Presbyterians do that and so on.  What we have not really done is read our bibles, take note of what constitutes a changed life, the life of Christ within us, the life empowered by and filled with the Spirit of Christ.  We do not measure ourselves against scripture, we measure ourselves against the latest self-help book or teacher, not realising that these people are often not born again either.
A true born again Christian loves other true born again Christians.  You know when you have met somebody who is truly a new creation, you can see it in their eyes, the Spirit within you witness to the Spirit in the other person.  There is a unity which exists which does not need outward expression or conformity to a set of denominational rules or a set of rules which says ‘this is what a genuine bible believing Christian does’.  If the Spirit of him who raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells within  you, then He who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies.  That same Spirit will empower you and that same Spirit will lead you and guide you.
Now obviously, Christians can be carnal.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? … (I Corinthians 3)
 When Paul says carnal he is referring to immature Christians who are still spending most of their time walking in the flesh and therefore acting like ordinary men, unbelievers in the world.  We have obviously met a number of these.  The sort of behaviour though that we have experienced is more along the lines of people who don’t change at all over time.  They are not carnal sometimes and spiritual other times.  They really don’t have any Christian characteristics at all.  They are simply religious.
What we have to come to terms with in this so called post-modern society is that there is no longer a ‘church’ denomination which contains a bunch of born again believers.  True believers are now scattered.  Has it been this way from the beginning?  It is possible that this is so.  If true believers are salt and light then we cannot all stand in one clump, how can we salt the earth if we are sitting in one bunch every Sunday or weekday.  It is not possible for us to have a savoury effect.  Have you ever over-salted a soup or stew?  I have.  You can’t ‘unsalt’ it, you have to throw it out, you can’t eat it.  Likewise, we as believers are meant to be spread throughout the world and the so called ‘church’ on the earth.  We can come together to encourage each other, but I am starting to see that this coming together is going to get harder and harder, and we must find each other through other means than the local church organisation.  The church has now become like the world and the world like the church.  There is no longer any delineation, and the true believers are going underground.  Maybe it was always going to be this way at the end.
line break
We should no longer be surprised when we are hated both by the world AND others who identify as Christians.  IF the Holy Spirit is in you and not in the other so called Christians, you will be treated by them as you are by the world, because they are actually of the world.  Scripture tells us that there were believers in Paul’s day who turned away because of their love of the world; Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) was one of them.  We are told that if we are friends of the world we cannot be friends of God. (James 4:4).
The conclusion of the matter for us is that those who abused us and refused to change were not Christians to start with as they a) had no love for the brethren and b) were not transformed and c)did not have the fruit of the Spirit.  They were of the world and so hated us.  This goes for every other Christian we have not been able to communicate with or has treated us with disdain.  This is the only explanation that is viable.  Genuine believers may have bad days, or have some struggles with sin, but they do not habitually treat others with rudeness or disrespect.  Nor do I know anyone, who does not have a character disorder, even in the world, who would treat a perfect stranger with rudeness or disrespect.  But people who you know who habitually act coldly and arrogantly towards you yet claim to be believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are not the genuine article.
It is in fact a huge relief for me to finally allow this truth to embrace my heart.  I do not have to feel bad that there are those out there who claim to be Christian who do not love me, despite the fact that I have striven to attain that love over the course of many years.  These ones cannot love, they do not have the love of God in them.
Only true believers can love true believers.
Only the world hates true believers.
And never the twain shall meet.

Refining Fire

black saturday.png

Our family were in the Dandenong Ranges during the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria a few years back. We did not suffer loss, but we had friends who did.  It killed many, changed many lives.  Many who were not even affected by the fires made significant life changes as a result of them.  They left the hills and went to live closer to the city where there is less bush to burn.  The reason they went to the hills in the first place was to find a haven, a tree change in the midst of the rat race.  What they discovered that living in the country has its own hazards and you can’t outrun the long arm of the Lord.

Suffering loss through a natural disaster covers the gamut of experiences.  As I said, you can remain physically untouched by the fires but still decide, out of fear for the future, to move house, and that is a traumatic enough experience, especially if you have lived for many decades unmolested by misfortunate and at peace.  Or you can lose everything.  One family we know of built a home amidst the bushland and literally away from everybody with only a dirt track running up and down gullies to get to their home.  When the fires struck they were in real danger.  What they thought was a secure haven became their worst nightmare.

This was supposed to be a good news story.  Just give me a paragraph or two.

One of the methods to fight large bush fires is to backburn. The rule is where the fire has already been, it cannot pass over again.  So fire fighters remove the source of the fuel where they think the wind is going to send the fire.  This usually happens in open country where the fire is getting out of control. Sometimes you get fire fighters in Australia doing what we call ‘burnoffs’ in the winter when the possibility of bush fires is a lot lower. They burn in the winter in order to reduce the severity of any possible fires in the summer when the conditions are a lot worse.

I find it really interesting from a spiritual point of view that when God talks about our works being tested by fire to see what will burn, God is pretty much doing the same thing.

But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 13 :10-15)

Once the fire has taken everything from you, there is nothing left to burn. You get to a place in your life where there is literally nothing left in you, no  more idols, no more fleshly attitudes, no more obsessions or things you won’t let go of.  There is just you and God and your faith in Him because He has tested you and tested you.  I am here to tell you that the testing sometimes gets very very hot, to the point that you can’t think of one more thing that could possibly happen to you.  Once you get to the place where you trust God in all things because all of the fight has been burned out of you, you are just about numb and can do one thing and one thing only and that is praise God, then you know you have come to a place where you are on holy ground.  God does not try us to destroy us but to destroy our flesh.  He takes us through every possible testing, if we are willing, and wants to know what we will do with it.  Will we, like Job, choose unrighteousness over affliction?

Do not desire the night,
When people are cut off in their place.
21 Take heed, do not turn to iniquity,
For you have chosen this rather than affliction. (Job 36:20,21)

Or will we say to ourselves, like Job, God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

There is another thing about back-burning and God’s ways.  Sometimes He burns us before Satan gets a chance to.  If He controls our lives by taking us through afflictions so that He can burn away the dross and get to the refined gold, then Satan will have less with which to whip us if he gets a chance to set a fire in our lives. Because both God and Satan can arrange a scorched earth session.  If Satan gets to it you can be assured he will make it burn hotter for longer than God ever would.  He seeks to destroy, God seeks only our good. This is why God looks for the response of faith in affliction.  Remember:

Many are the afflictions of the righteous but God delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19)

koala-bushfires

The iconic picture that went viral after the Melbourne fires. It sums up the plight of the survivor. God gives us the cool water of the Holy Spirit to minister to us in the midst of our afflictions. Thankyou Jesus.

To be able to worship the Lord in the midst of affliction is the change God seeks in us.  But to get to this place, we can’t just wish it upon ourselves, God has to work the change.  Sometimes you think things just can’t get much worse, and then they do.  What I have discovered is that if you really look back at your life, you will see that you actually did survive, even if you feel like you have been run over with a truck.  Not only did you survive but you survived to praise the Lord. And this my friends and family is the place of true joy and life.  For God is eternal and unchanging, and whether we live in the best of times or the worst of times, He does not change.  He is still holy, perfect, righteous, just and merciful and He goes with us through the battle, through the pain, through the devastation, through the outrage.  And if we choose His ways, and to praise Him through it all instead of cursing God and turning away from Him, we will change.  We will become the sons and daughters of God that He is looking for.  People who do not look to their outward circumstances for evidence of God’s faithfulness, but recognise that His faithfulness is eternal and is therefore worth praising regardless of how we feel.

I used to hear sermons like this as a young Christian.  I don’t hear them nowadays, they would be considered to be ‘offensive’ to many.  Yes, because they are offensive to the flesh, they are offensive to the natural mind of man, not to the Spirit, and to the nature of Jesus Christ which He is working in us.  And He is not looking for men to pay lip service to Him either.  To find the genuine ability in a human being to praise God in the midst of difficulty is a rare thing, because narrow is the way and few are they that find it.

To be able to declare God’s goodness in the land of the living (as opposed to Hades) is a wondrous thing. How can any human being do such a miraculous thing unless God himself touches us.  He scorches our land, takes the fire through, takes everything, burns it to see what it is made of.  If it is flesh, it will burn, if it is Spirit, it won’t, because of course that which is of God is made of gold, silver and precious stones, as is the New Jerusalem. We must be made of things eternal, which moth and rust and thief can destroy (not to mention fire).

This is not a popular thing to say. Nobody wants to be told in the midst of difficulty that God is testing them.  Paul tells us that nobody enjoys chastening but afterwards reaps the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrews 12 7-11)

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

But it is true nevertheless.

Being in the midst of a trial makes you blind. You can’t see the big picture, often you can’t even see your own hand in front of your face. You often can’t see God, can’t hear Him, don’t know if He is listening to your prayer.  But keep going.  In fact, let me just say this. You may have what psychologists term ‘suicidal ideation’.  It’s just a fancy term meaning, even death looks good compared to this.  They just don’t want to use the term.  But I will.  Because death to the flesh is actually what Christians are involved in every single day of their lives.  But you have days when your life is turned upside down by difficulty and trauma, sometimes from all sides at once, and you think you can’t possibly cope with any more pain.  Yet you do.  Guess what?  The earth has just been scorched.  Once God has burned the ground, it doesn’t burn again.  You are safe on the scorched earth.  If you stand there, you are free.  You have nothing left but God. Yes it seems like its the worst possible thing that could happen to you, but it isn’t.  Allowing God to test you in the fire is going through death in order to find life.  It’s no longer I that liveth but Christ that liveth in me.

Have I made it?  Am I that person who can praise God in the midst of trauma?  Let me just say that in all honesty I wish I was.  But I am BETTER at it than I was ten years ago.  I am not blowing my own trumpet here, I am just able to say that yes, the fire has scorched the earth and I am standing on ashes, but what burned was necessary to burn, and what has not burned is my spirit and my soul, and I can stand and praise God and focus on Him and know the truly peaceable fruit of righteousness. AMEN!

What God Has Been Doing Lately in Our House

20150816_201748-1

A few weeks ago our family went through a time of fasting and cleansing. We haven’t posted much lately because some of us have been getting born again. God spoke to our family a few weeks ago and called a three day fast and during that time God did mighty work. The result of which are still ricocheting through our house and I would suggest through some other people’s houses and all.

Our family lived in a cult for 15 years from 1989 to 2004. During that time the faith we had was undermined and eventually destroyed. By the time we left the cult we couldn’t even open our bibles without experiencing severe emotional distress. All we heard was the condemning voices of the men who had run the cult. They had taken every critical verse of scripture and made it their own, turning everything into a mockery of Christ and his work on the Cross. It was an authoritarian, abusive, controlling and destroying cult. People’s lives, marriages and families were broken, and they are totally unrepentant. Even some ex-leaders who have left have never openly admitted and repented of their false gospels and the damage they did to thousands of people. So God has, for the past twelve years, been undoing the damage that was done to us slowly, painfully and piece by piece.

In the process of healing and changing we have had to address false doctrines which have snuck into our family, destructive habits – sin in actual fact – and other things which needed to change. Last weekend was kind of a culmination of that. All of us were affected in one way or another, and those we thought needed the help the least were the ones who had been, unbeknownst to us, needing it the most.
But here is the thing….

We didn’t go to some conference, convention or convocation. Yes, we need the body of Christ, but when we are addressing issues that arise in our private lives within our family, God is quite capable of dealing with it between the people who are involved and not some stranger who we think is more spiritual than we are.  We have been listening to a section of a .Podcast from the Grace Community Church in California wherein John Macarthur has admitted that he didn’t know when he gave his life to the Lord, that he never really knew when he was converted and he isn’t worried about that. This was up on Pastor John Coleman’s website, (see link) Coleman has been a strong critic of MacArthur for some years but not from personal gripe, simply from examining his actions, teaching and the testimonies of members of the Grace Community who have had to leave due to abuse.

One of the most high profile evangelical ministers with an impressive pedigree of five generations of preachers and ministers (and high ranking freemasons) who has edited his own bible and run a huge international organisation admits that he actually didn’t ever get converted, he just kind of always sort of knew he was a Christian. As the host of the audio tape (Pastor John Coleman) said,  everyone he knows and has asked knows exactly when and where they got saved and how it affected them. I agree.  I remember distinctly the second week of the May school holidays in 1977 in my second year of High School, late one night in the bunkhouse of a Scripture Union camp saying a prayer and asking Jesus to forgive me for my sins.  I didn’t have a huge understanding of what I was doing then it wasn’t until much later when I was baptised and baptised in the Holy Spirit that I realised what the Cross and Resurrection were all about. But it changed me, and I went home to my unsaved family and told them what had happened and faced rejection and abuse because of it.  I have never regretted that decision nor have I wavered from it. I knew when it happened, I might have only been 13 at the time, and 19 when it all made sense, but I knew when it happened.

John Macarthur, evangelical Super-Pastor of the Universe apparently doesn’t know and doesn’t care. But then as we discovered later he is a Calvinist and Calvinists believe in predestination. If you are saved its because God has chosen you and you have no free will to make that choice yourself. So, John Macarthur figures he doesn’t need to have made that choice, its clear he is saved, obviously, duh, he runs a mega-church right?

So John Macarthur needs to get saved too. And he doesn’t need somebody who is more spiritual than he is, all he needs is to have his ears opened to the gospel and his heart convicted by the Holy Spirit. He KNOWS what to do, he just didn’t think he ever needed to do that. I think we need to pray for him, and his poor church organisation which according to reports is taking over other people’s churches, abusing its congregants and generally behaving like a cult, false doctrines and all. Who knew? We shall certainly pray for the congregations to get saved as well.

So, when God does a work in your life or the lives of those closest to you, remember that it is because of prayer, it happens in His timing not yours, and it is because you are open to hear his voice, obey his voice and to repent where you need to repent. Nobody is excluded from this. Nobody. I don’t care how many bibles have your face on the front cover.

 

Nick’s Testimony

cricket nick

My name is Nick Brady and i have been alive for 22 years. I came to Christ when i was 17, growing up in a christian home. Giving your life to Christ at that age was pretty hard for me as i was in my second last year of high school. I know it shouldn’t be hard but let me explain.

One of those pesky teenage traits was to have everyone like you (haha I’m still dealing with that one). So being courageous in my faith was one of those things that went to the back of my head as soon as i went through the school gate. However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t put into situations where I had a feeling deep down to let Christ be heard.

About halfway through my senior I had the opportunity to go on a geography excursion to Fraser Island in North Queensland. The week before I mentioned to my parents that I thought that God had been telling me to take my bible along. Just that, not preach my heart out, not give it to one of the 15 people going along, just take it along. I should probably mention by this point that I had been both baptised in water and the Holy Spirit. So I made the decision to take it along. Everything went well the first night, but on the second night (of the 5 days that we were there) I felt the urge to get out my bible and read it. I did this by myself, my teacher made some comment on how it was good that I was doing so. Still to this day I don’t know why he made those comments as he wasn’t , from what I could tell, a Christian.

Anyway that all went down, and then on the next night the Spirit of God really started to get things moving. I had decided that I wasn’t going to go off by myself and read on my own. That night I sat in our cabin and read my bible. There was about 6 guys all in the cabin and for the time that I was reading they came in and out. Once the lights out call had been given everyone settled down. Now that I look back I’m pretty sure we pushed the lights out a further hour or so. I’ll tell you why. A couple of the guys noticed that I was reading and asked what it was that I was reading. I told them that it was the bible, and then things kicked off from there. I had all sorts of questions flung at me. What do you believe? Why do you read it? You don’t really believe that do you? Then the next night the girls who made up the rest of the group ask me to read to them. Every student that was on that camp heard the word of God. A rather strange fact was that the people who owned that camp that we stayed at their main land address was 666. Creepy right!

So for the rest year twelve I didn’t have any other major opportunities to sharing of my faith. Questions where asked in both of the history classes I attended, when religion was the main topic of conversation. High school is always about fitting in, and for me that was paramount until I made the decision to follow my faith. I think by the time it came to graduation I had a better understanding of who I was in the world. I remember clearly one of my friends said to my once ” You are different Nick! Not a bad different but a good different”. I knew what he was talking about but he didn’t. He had picked up on something about me and that meant a lot, that people could see the difference.

After high school came a stint in Uni where I found that I was not cut out for all the demanding academic work. Later I fell into a job at a large department store.  Since starting full time work I have had multiple incidences where my faith has been discussed. Some of the older people have questioned it more sceptically then the younger people I have talked to. I have had opportunity to pray for a couple of people and also offered to pray others who are hurt. My position in the store is managing the stock replenishment team and that affords me the opportunity to talk to multiple people throughout the store. I pray often for the chance to talk to them about my faith, I doesn’t happen a lot but when it does I really relish the chance to talk to them about my faith.

So to sum everything up into a nice neat package I have chosen to give my life to the Lord, I have made mistakes but who hasn’t. That is what the power of the cross is for. My journey hasn’t been long but that doesn’t matter. Everyone is different.  I think what makes a big difference in the lives of young Christians is the ability to recognise when you have sinned, whether it be from the Lord through the Holy Spirit, through parents and or friends. It is like a radio, where you go to tune to a station, it takes time but when you finally get the station you can hear it loud and clear. It is also not just that ability to recognise but also humbling yourself before the Lord and going about the right way to cleanse yourself before a God that can not look upon sin. I can testify to the importance of this as I feel that through my mistakes and Cross bound redemption I am hearing more clearly from the Lord. That channel is becoming clearer and clearer.