Jesus’ Subversive Kingdom – Part Thirteen

God is, first and foremost, about relationship. There has never been a time when God was alone, nor has He ever done anything alone. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3 NKJV). 

As I’ve stated in the past, God could not be love (1 John 4:8) unless He was able to express it within Himself in relationship, apart from His creation. This is the eternal reality within the Trinitarian Godhead: Father, Son, and Spirit.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24 NKJV)

Relationship is at the heart of the model prayer we will look at in a moment.

In part twelve, we looked at how Jesus deals with our hypocrisy and what motivates us to look good to others. We must decide if we’re going to follow after Christ or the praises of man. Jesus continues with this theme on how to pray, which about relationship with God in secret that produces the fruit of Kingdom righteousness in our public lives.

When we look at what’s been dubbed “The Lord’s Prayer,” we find that prayer is primarily about relationship and trust. Here are some basic insights on this prayer outline (Matt.6:9-13):

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Notice first that we are to pray in this manner. It’s not a prayer to be chanted verbatim, as if the words themselves had some magical power.

Next, notice that it starts with identity and intimacy. He’s not just some distant Deity in heaven. He is personal; He’s our Father. We have the same relationship with the Father that Jesus has because we’ve been placed in Him.

This is likened to the intimacy between a loved child and a good father. God gave us His Spirit of adoption, so we respond in the most intimate term of endearment possible… Abba Father! (Gal.4:4-6).

Finally, while He’s intimate He’s also hallowed, which means He’s worthy to be worshiped and revered above all others. This is a posture of humility and honor.

10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

This is the purpose of prayer, to bring “on earth as it is in heaven.” We are carriers of God’s Kingdom, with His mandate to bring His kingdom will upon the earth. God’s will is heaven’s will. If it’s not done in heaven, it’s not God’s will. For instance, is there sickness and disease in heaven? No. So we pray “as it is in heaven.”  A good book for further study is Bill Johnson’s “When Heaven Invades Earth.” I highly recommend it.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

This speaks of trust. Who is my provider? Do I believe that God will take care of me?  It doesn’t mean we don’t work or try to provide for our families. It means we acknowledge that these things come from God and that our resources aren’t limited by our circumstances. Another good book I would recommend is by my friend, Mark Hendrickson, “Supernatural Provision: When God Guides, He Provides.”

12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.

Jesus deals with our graceless self-will with the issue of forgiveness. When we refuse to forgive, we set ourselves up as judge, making ourselves God, usurping His rightful place as a just judge and His authority as a wise king. It’s also for our benefit to forgive. As it’s been said, holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

There is no evil or darkness in heaven, nor with God. And we also know that God doesn’t tempt us; we are led astray by our own carnal desires (James 1:13-14).  So, again, this is a posture of humility, acknowledging that we cannot live the abundant life in Christ we were meant to live apart from His empowering grace (Titus 2:11-12).

Jesus’ prayer outline ends with worship. We acknowledge that this Kingdom is God’s possession, which means that He alone can give it to us, and He alone is worthy of our worship.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 39 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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27 Responses to Jesus’ Subversive Kingdom – Part Thirteen

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Why would your god … or any god for that matter … who was, according to your understanding, the personification of love, tolerate being worshiped?
    Loved in return, yes. Admired and respected above all else. Okay.
    But worshiped?
    This sounds such a human response and has been played out throughout history with all manner of rulers and despots who have demanded such behaviour.
    Why do consider such behavior is necessary?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Why would your god … or any god for that matter … who was, according to your understanding, the personification of love, tolerate being worshiped?

      For exactly that reason, Ark. Because of His other-centered, self-giving love. Worship is a response to this love. It’s loving Him in return. Worship means “worth-ship.” To revere, adore, to be in awe. There is nothing compulsory about it. It’s very much offered out of gratitude and honor. Worship is not demanded. In fact, if we were forced to worship Him it would not be worship. We revere Him because of His splendor and beauty and brilliance. He is not some pagan volcano god who needs our sacrifice. People who say that God demands our worship don’t know Him. As Jesus told the Pharisees when they tried to stop the people from worshiping Him, He said if they didn’t, even the rock would cry out in adoration (Luke 19:37-40).

      • Arkenaten says:

        So it’s not compulsory, the? Phew! I’ll pass in that case and leave all the genuflecting to you.

        He is not some pagan volcano god who needs our sacrifice.

        Unlike your god, of course, who prefers doves and kids and lambs and … oh, yeah, his own kid!
        And don’t piss him off because we all remember the Noah story, right?
        Yeah, a real sweetie is Yahweh.
        By the way, you do realise that you can’t truly ”follow ” Jesus, I hope?
        He was a Jew, born a Jew, lived a Jew and died a Jew so unless you convert … well, you can guess the rest right?
        Therefore, strictly speaking you are a ”Paulinist” or whatever a follower of Paul’s version of ”Christianity ” should be labelled?

        • Mel Wild says:

          First, you seem to have me confused with a Jew, Ark. Second, you only show that you have no understanding of God’s salvation. You also clearly don’t understand Jesus’ teachings. And I don’t have time to unravel your faulty understanding of the Old Testament worship. But as far as following Jesus, He not only commended several Gentiles (non-Jews like me) for their faith and told them they were forgiven, many followed Him (Greek Hellenists, the whole city of Samaria, the people of Decapolis, etc.).

          And it wasn’t Paul’s version of Christianity. That’s just another bad atheist argument. It was prophesied in the Hebrew Covenant in many places, that the day of religion was over and that the Gentiles would come to His light. Here are a couple of examples:

          33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (Jer.31:33-34)

          3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
          And kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa.60:3)

          No, you are mistaken. Paul didn’t invent anything. There is no such thing as a “Paulinist.” He was simply expounding on the hidden mystery from the foundation of the world…

          27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col.1:27)

        • Arkenaten says:

          First, you seem to have me confused with a Jew, Ark.

          No, Mel. Jesus was a Jew. Born lived and died a Jew. You are most definitely not.

          You also clearly don’t understand Jesus’ teachings.

          Actually, more than you might imagine. You, on the other hand are not a Jew and thus, like me , fall outside his ministry.
          You do manage to fall within the net .. or to be more accurate the tent of Saul of Tarsus.
          Or ”Paul”, right?

          And it wasn’t Paul’s version of Christianity. That’s just another bad atheist argument. It was prophesied in the Hebrew Covenant in many places, that the day of religion was over and that the Gentiles would come to His light. Here are a couple of examples:

          Really? So, Jesus was not circumcised, not presented in the temple, not brought up a Jew, did not teach and preach in the synagogues and outside …. to a predominantly Jewish audience, did not swear by Mosaic Law, did not utter the one jot or tittle phrase.
          This was not your Jesus of Nazareth, then? The Jew? Methinks you might just have misunderstood your own religion a bit there Mel.
          In fact …. Check …

          And to cap it all you quote from three passages not one of which was even from the supposed lips of Jesus of Nazareth.

          … mate!

          Shall we call the burn unit?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark. You clearly don’t understand what I said if you think I didn’t answer your question. I didn’t quote Jesus, I didn’t need to. I simply stated some examples where He forgave Gentiles and where Gentiles followed Him (Samaritans, Greek Hellenists, Gentiles in Decapolis, etc.). You said Gentiles can’t follow Christ. I proved that false. They did in Jesus day, and have ever since. I also quoted Old Testament passages that predicted that the Gentiles would follow Jesus. I would’ve supplied verses from Jesus Himself but I figured you knew this already. Evidently, you don’t (or choose to ignore them). Here’s one of many examples…

          Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in response to her religious question that it’s not about being a Jew or a Samaritan, nor is it about where we worship…

          21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)

          Later, many other Gentile Samaritans received Christ…

          40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. (John 4:40-41)

          These are all Gentiles (enemies of Israel at the time) following Jesus and not being compelled to observe Jewish Temple worship. Jesus actually argued against that notion.

          Really? So, Jesus was not circumcised, not presented in the temple, not brought up a Jew…

          Yes, what’s your point? Jesus was born under the Law to redeem His people FROM the Law, Ark. As Paul said to the Gentile Galatians…

          4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
          6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

          You said…

          Shall we call the burn unit?

          Whatever…please spare me your childish braggadocio. I really don’t care to waste any more time on your absurd line of reasoning. Believe whatever you want. You will anyway. You’re only proving that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Arkenaten says:

          You cannot quote Paul to justify your claims of your misunderstood beliefs of Jesus, which rather makes the point I am making, for goodness sake!
          But for some reason you are unable to see it. Why?
          You say deliver from >/em> the Law, yet he explicitly says not one jot or tittle of the law will pass …etc.
          And you refuse to engage this verse directly and then try to suggest I do not understand ?
          How condescending of you, Mel
          You are clearly trying to misdirect.
          Show me a line or verse where Jesus states he came to start a NEW Religion, Mel?

          My comments only echo those of whom a great many have already deconverted.
          And most are far more knowledgeable than me.
          A few notables were also Ministers or Pastors – and for a damn sight longer than you’ve been and with more qualifications and bigger parishes etc.
          Would you like to engage one in dialogue?
          I am sure I could arrange it?
          Then we would really see just how in- depth your knowledge is and how comprehensive your theology.

          Following Jesus is not what you do … only what you think you do.

          Let me know if you are interested in discussing these points with a former minister and I’ll see what I can do.
          It truly would be a very interesting blog piece.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Answered on different thread.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No, not really. You stated he came to free them from the Law, however he was emphatic that not one jot or tittle would pass etc.
          This you have still not addressed.
          And while some (gentiles) may have listened and welcomed him there was no suggestion he was here to start a New Religion or give up Judaism. If he expected people to follow it was with no diminishing of Mosaic Law.
          It was Paul, after a number of conflicts, that finally set Christianity on its path, leaving behind James and possibly Peter.
          Jesus was a template for Paul to work from, that’s all.
          One could see the manner in which the Jewishness became less and less with things such as the manner in which Saul dropped this usage of his name ( in Acts) and took up the exclusive usage of Paul. In this way he distanced himself even more from his Jewish roots.
          Eventually the split with Judaism was inevitable. The gentiles had their (exclusive) religion and the Catholic Church eventually make him a Saint.
          Eventually Rome achieved more with their new religion than they ever did before. Only, eventually with a lot more bloodshed and horror.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark, I can’t help it if you don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) what I said. Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion, He came to END religion. Get it? By predicting the destruction of the Temple, He was also dooming any ability whatsoever to obey every jot and tittle of the Mosaic covenant. Again, you are proof-texting and not accurately interpreting what is meant by the statements. This is typical of false doctrine.

          What Jesus came to do is bring about God’s ultimate intent, which was to make us His adopted sons and daughters, to free us from the bondage of the letter of the Law (which never saved anyone) and put it in our hearts (Jer.31:33-34). This is exactly what Paul expounded on in his teachings. As I already explained, Jesus said that the Law is fulfilled in other-centered, self-giving love (Matt.22:37-40), and Jesus told the Samaritan woman that we will NO LONGER worship in Temples or on mountains, but in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD which ended any ability to continue with the Mosaic covenant. Again, why don’t you get this? Your argument is a waste of time.

          And your conspiracy theory about Paul and Church history is laughable. First, Jesus said He would build His church (not a building, temple, or religion) on the revelation that Peter had that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Matt.16:13-20), then Peter himself describes Paul’s teachings as “Scripture” (2 Pet.3:15-16). There is no such thing as Paul’s teaching and Jesus’ teachings, as if they are two different things. That is a fallacy based on very faulty exegesis.

          And if you’re going to bring up what the Roman church did after it became state religion, you are only making my point that religion is not same thing as following Jesus.

          We will have to end this conversation here. I don’t care to keep arguing nonsense.

      • Mel Wild says:

        [From other thread]

        You cannot quote Paul to justify your claims of your misunderstood beliefs of Jesus, which rather makes the point I am making, for goodness sake!
        But for some reason you are unable to see it. Why?

        Yes, I can, because Paul is giving inspired commentary on what Jesus taught. You can’t just separate the evidence to make up your own conclusions. But I can also show you this from what Jesus said Himself.

        You say deliver from >/em> the Law, yet he explicitly says not one jot or tittle of the law will pass …etc.

        This is just bad exegesis here, Ark. You save the appearance of the verse but fail on providing explanatory scope of what is meant. How is the Law fulfilled, Ark? Answer: by walking in other-centered, self-giving love. Here’s what Jesus also said:

        37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt.22:37-40)

        Ark continues…

        And you refuse to engage this verse directly and then try to suggest I do not understand ?
        How condescending of you, Mel
        You are clearly trying to misdirect.

        You wish! First, I gave you Jesus’ DIRECT statements to GENTILES, and His statements saying that where we worship is irrelevant (John 4:23-24). Second, I’m not proof-texting, like you do, I’m giving you the answer that provides explanatory scope.

        Show me a line or verse where Jesus states he came to start a NEW Religion, Mel?

        Exactly! Jesus came to END “religion!” That’s the whole point. If Jesus would’ve wanted to continue the Mosaic sacrificial system He wouldn’t have ended it in 70 AD by allowing the Temple to be destroyed by the Romans! Ark, no Temple, no Mosaic covenant. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to follow every jot and tittle now. You would need a working Temple in Jerusalem and sanctified Aaronic priests to slaughter bulls and sheep for you. (Btw, synagogues were the invention of man, not ordained in the Mosaic covenant). This was never God’s ultimate intent. His ultimate intent is expressed in the passage I gave you (Jer.31:33-34), to put the Law in people’s hearts, which IS what following Jesus entails, which is what Paul expounded on. Everything is based on other-centered, self-giving love, which IS the fruit of following Jesus.

        My comments only echo those of whom a great many have already deconverted.
        And most are far more knowledgeable than me. A few notables were also Ministers or Pastors – and for a damn sight longer than you’ve been and with more qualifications and bigger parishes etc.
        Would you like to engage one in dialogue?
        I am sure I could arrange it?

        Well, they are clearly wrong about this, Ark. And if they deconverted over this lame argument, their relationship with Jesus was pretty frail. I’m not interested in arguing over nonsense. Either you believe it or you don’t.

        • Arkenaten says:

          Apologies. I did not properly understand you meant on a new thread … this one.
          Let’s work through it.

          Yes, I can, because Paul is giving inspired commentary on what Jesus taught.

          You have absolutely no way to demonstrate the veracity of this claim. So this is simply interpretation. And why would Paul need to reinterpret anything Jesus said?
          Furthermore, he never met the man. Peter and Jesus supposed brother, James did /em> know him and would have been in a far better position to understand Jesus teaching than a usurper with possible epilepsy, Saul of Tarsus.

          Strike 1.

          This is just bad exegesis here, Ark. You save the appearance of the verse but fail on providing explanatory scope of what is meant. How is the Law fulfilled, Ark? Answer: by walking in other-centered, self-giving love. Here’s what Jesus also said:

          37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt.22:37-40)

          And in what way is this establishing a New Religion or rejecting his Jewish roots or rejecting any part of Mosaic Law?
          None whatsoever.
          Strike 2.

          You wish! First, I gave you Jesus’ DIRECT statements to GENTILES, and His statements saying that where we worship is irrelevant (John 4:23-24). Second, I’m not proof-texting, like you do, I’m giving you the answer that provides explanatory scope.

          Where in your quote does he reject his Jewish roots? He expected them to follow but expected them to follow Mosaic Law. He was a Jew.
          This is why there was so much trouble regarding circumcision, fr one thing. You simply cannot escape this fact. He came to bring ”’his people” Back to the Law.

          If Jesus would’ve wanted to continue the Mosaic sacrificial system He wouldn’t have ended it in 70 AD by allowing the Temple to be destroyed by the Romans!

          Jesus was dead and buried for decades by the time the 10th marched on Rome under Titus so this a moot assertion and simply nonsensical.
          And don’t quote Old Testament verses, as prophecy is another utterly ridiculous thing to bring to the table and each one has been refuted re<. your Jesus of Nazareth. Not least the passage in Isaiah 7:14 which the author of gMatthew hijacked.

          Well, they are clearly wrong about this, Ark. And if they deconverted over this lame argument, their relationship with Jesus was pretty frail. I’m not interested in arguing over nonsense. Either you believe it or you don’t.

          Don’t be ridiculous!, They deconverted largely because they realised that the character Jesus of Nazareth was not real and they had been lied to among many other things.
          We are discussing doctrine and before deconversion they would have used exactly the same lame arguments you are using here. These days,they know better and would take you to the metaphoric cleaners over doctrine. And so would the average Rabbi! You are simply echoing your own apologetic personalized cherry-picked indoctrinated version of Christianity or rather ”Paulineity”
          But the offer stands if you fancy discussing this matter with a former Minister?

          Strike 3.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ark, this is why I have to moderate you. You won’t stop commenting and let things be. Now you’re trying to trump the conversation with baseball metaphor. Haha…Whatever… What you’re giving me is proof-texting and conspiracy theories, I have given you interpretation that provides explanatory scope throughout all Scripture. This is why we have hermeneutics. The Scripture must be interpreted properly.
          – The purpose of all the Law and the Prophets (including every jot and tittle) is subsumed in other-centered, self-giving love. This is what Jesus taught (Matt.22:37-40). This is what Paul taught.
          – There is NO SUCH THING as Paul’s message and Jesus’ message. They are one and the same. Jesus told us that He would come to make His home in us, Paul said the SAME THING, that our life is hidden in Christ in heavenly places. The Old Testament prophets said the SAME THING (Jer.31:33-34). Jesus fulfills all the purpose of the Law.
          – Jesus came to give us the proper interpretation of so-called “Jewish roots” in His teaching on the Sermon on the Mount and other places. It’s not about outward ritual (“righteousness of scribes and Pharisees” – Matt.5:20), but about a heart fully open to and transformed by God. Everything Paul taught was for the same purpose, to help us walk in other-centered, self-giving love by God’s indwelling Spirit.
          – God’s ultimate intent was NEVER for His people to relate to Him through animal sacrifice. The prophets exposed this false belief(Psalm 51:16-17; Isa.1:11-18; Jer.7:22-23; Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:21-24). Paul taught the same thing. His intent was obedience through love.
          – Jesus said that the time of Temple worship and outward ritual is over. Now, God seeks those who would worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24). The Kingdom of God is now INSIDE of believers (Luke 17:21; John 14:15-23; 17:21-26) These are ALL the explicit words of Jesus.
          – The jots and tittles are now fulfilled in the hearts of those who follow Christ, not by obeying the letter of the Law. Both Paul and Jesus taught the same thing.
          – Both the Old Testament and Jesus acknowledged that the Gentiles would come to Him by faith, and they did during Jesus’ ministry. And you won’t find one place where Jesus told Gentiles to follow Jewish customs. Paul expounded on this.
          – The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, which ended any possibility of following the Mosaic covenant. Jesus predicted this while He was alive, which also means He wasn’t talking about obeying jots and tittles through ritual observance. He was talking about fulfilling them through the indwelling Spirit; He was talking about the issues of the heart (Matt.12:34-35; 15:8, 18-19; 18:35; 22:37; Mark 8:17; Luke 2:35; 6:45; 12:34; 16:15; 24:32; John 7:38-39; 12:40). Paul taught the same thing.
          – Paul DID speak to Peter and James and the apostles (Gal.1:18-24), in spite of your ridiculous revisions of history.

          This is the end of our conversation here, Ark. I was more than fair with you by allowing you several comments, but you prove that you won’t stop commenting, and I don’t have the time to keep going over this with you. We will have to leave at that.

  2. ColorStorm says:

    @mel

    May I shamefully borrow from my own archives regarding dialog with folks such as you have here.

    ‘While believing none of it, they want answers from all of it.’ This of course in context is the scriptures in general, and the Lord Jesus Christ specifically.

    I swear the wiring has been short circuited in the brain because I can see and smell the smoke! The argument and endless excuses presented to the believer are proof positive that indeed God’s word is good, and has found its mark in the conscience of all men.

    The pretended intellect of ‘no God, the scriptures are lame’ is as you say, boring and a mere time waster designed to give a dose or ‘respectibility’ to the atheistic argument.

    Of course we know there is none. ABSOLUTELY NONE.

    And I like your observation about prayer ‘in this manner.’ No formula. But ‘like this.’

    (btw, the Pauline/ Jew thing/ Paul founded a religion is purely laughable)

    • Mel Wild says:

      “While believing none of it, they want answers from all of it.’ This of course in context is the scriptures in general, and the Lord Jesus Christ specifically.”

      I would totally agree with you here, ColorStorm. It’s a fallacious argument, based on bad hermeneutics, taking statements out of context for proof-texts. If the heart is closed, the mind is darkened to understanding the truth. That’s the irony of arrogant intellectualism.
      Thanks for your comments.

    • ColorStorm (and/or Mel):

      We all know prior to the Fall that God created all things, sinners and saints, in His likeness. I wonder if a COMPLETE stranger (“sinner”) knocked on your front door, if you’d invite her inside? To eat with you and your fellow believers at your dinner table? To offer her a place to sleep the night? What would you do? How do you speak to her/them, a total stranger-sinner. In what manner and tone do you respond to her/their questions? And does God’s grace, patience, or forgiveness have a time-expiration on it!?

      Please read 1 John 4:8 and John 8:1-11 and offer your exegesis/hermeneutics, as well as the Trinity’s exegesis/hermeneutics. Thanks.

      • ColorStorm says:

        Tkx prof, but I have to stop you right there.

        ‘WE all know? Who is this WE? Do you know it as fact or hearsay?

        If hearsay, then no explanation will be useful.

        If fact, then you should also know that God did NOT create man in God’s sinful image. God has no sin. In Him is no sin.

        And your idea of manner/tone is left to the discretion of each. What some call vinegar is sweet to others. As to supping with a stranger, well now, the Lord ate with sinners, seems no issue.

        As to God’s patience, yes, it will expire, ie, 120 years in the days of Noah, and sadly, His patience of grace will come to a close.

        But the greater point is, you will not live to 120, so yes, it apparently will not expire for you.

        • @CS —

          WE all know?…” are those (me included) that know how to read the bible and understand what it is saying.

          If you disagree or DISBELIEVE what the Old Testament records in Genesis, prior to The Fall of humanity, then please explain in detail your own “unique” exegesis/hermeneutics.

          God can speak truth — through the Scripture and the Holy Spirit — to anyone He pleases, yes?

      • Mel Wild says:

        Professor Taboo. Thank you for your questions. I would treat a complete stranger with honor and respect, dine with him or her, offer shelter. I do this because they have infinite value to God and I care about them because of His love. When we talk about God’s grace, patience, and forgiveness expiring, we are talking anthropocentrically, from our point of view and lifetime. He never gives up on us; we tend to give up on Him.

        As far as exegeting 1 John 4:8 and John 8:1-11, most of my blog posts are an expression of my understanding of God as love. And this get to Trinitarian exegesis, which I have also written about at length. Briefly, for God to be love He must be able to express it within Himself, apart from His creation, which He does (John 1:1; 17:24 and other places). God’s love is eternal because He is love. But love requires freedom of will, which I talked about in my post, “Does Evil Come from God?”

        • Thank you Mel for your thoughtful and kind respectful response. To me, YOU reflect more the Christ of the canonical New Testament — particularly the Synoptic Gospels — than most Christians in the U.S. (the bible-belt South especially) and on WordPress; ala your statement on your About page “Introduction“:

          I do tend to have a bent toward being a bit iconoclastic toward popularly held beliefs in Churchianity that really annoy me and contradict the nature of God’s character and our awesome identity in Christ.

          Nonetheless, you have made this initial engagement and dialoguing welcoming as if I were a total stranger who knocked on your door, rather than harsh, judgemental (prophetic?), and derogatory as if God yourself. You have so far reflected well 1 John 4:8. I appreciate that. Should time allow, I will return here. Thanks again.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thank you, Professor Taboo. I appreciate your gracious comments. And you’re correct about my approach to what I believe. I view everything through the interpretative lens of Jesus Christ, His teachings, and His way of relating to others. And, sadly, I agree with you that Western Christianity has traditionally interpreted Scripture rather indiscriminately, almost as if Jesus didn’t happen, taking passages out context from how Jesus perfectly expressed His Father’s heart, doing this to justify all kinds of evil things. As Jesus succinctly put it, all the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in other-centered, self-giving love (Matt.22:37-40). While I certainly don’t follow this perfectly, it is my aim, empowered by His grace.

          You are always welcome here. Blessings to you.

  3. Cindy Powell says:

    Love this, Mel. You just posted an extended outline of a series of classes I do on prayer. We must have the same Father or something 😉

  4. Hi Mel.

    I’ve read your About page “Introduction” so as to know more about you personally, as well as 3-4 of your recent blog-posts. Out of curiosity I had four questions for you please:

    1. — Are you a graduate of any seminary/seminaries, and if so, which one(s)? At the moment I have not found any mention of this background on your blog.

    2. — If not a seminary graduate, how did you receive your license to pastor? There are many (hundreds of?) methods in the U.S.

    3. — Are speaking-in-tongues a valid spiritual gift still active today (i.e. evidence of the Holy Spirit within) or did they cease after Pentecost? Why or why not.

    4. — Is Cornerstone Church affiliated with any denomination or is it non-denominational, or “other”?

    Thank you Mel and kind regards to you and yours.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Professor Taboo. To answer your questions:
      1 – I am not a graduate of any seminary. My college degree was in engineering before I went into Christian ministry. I was trained informally in a ministry school for several years by a non-denominational organization. I was ordained by them after that in 1991. I’ve also been in active ministry for over 30 years. I am also an avid reader and life-long learner and have extensively studied theology and church history, including Eastern Orthodoxy.
      2 – I received my current ordination with Foursquare (ICFG, see #4) after taking their polity courses and undergoing evaluation, and was appointed to my current position in 2005.
      3 – Yes, I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. I am not a Cessationist, although I do agree that these things can be abused. 🙂
      4 – Cornerstone Church is affiliated with the International Church of Foursquare Gospel. http://www.foursquare.org.
      You’re welcome.

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