Some Conversations with People

New conversations will be added regularly.  The order will be newest at the top to oldest at the bottom.


A follower of the Light talks with man on a bench at the park. (Added September 2014)

DL = Disciple of the Light

DL

Hi, how are you today?

Man

I am OK.  How are you?

DL

I am grateful to my Father, thank you : )

Man

Oh, so, did your dad just do something really nice for you?

DL

Well, I am referring to the Father of my soul, my Creator.

Man

Oh, you mean God.

DL

Yes.

Man

Well, that is an unusual way to refer to God, and I should know, since I am the pastor of a church.

DL

Well, I'm not sure what is normal in religious circles, but I know Him as my Father.

Man

So, which church do you attend?

DL

I guess we will have to first define church, since our definitions are likely quite different.

Man

You know, church, which church do you belong to?  Episcopal, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecotal church.

DL

I don't see those organizations as the church, but rather as religious organizations.

Man

That is strange, I mean everyone knows what "church" means - what source do you get your definition from?

DL

Joshua, or Jesus of Nazareth.

Man

Oh, I don't think that is right.  Jesus is the head of our church and the bible clearly refers to the church as an organization like mine.

DL

The bible says many things, but all I know is that Jesus refers to his church or ekklesia - the called out ones - twice, and both times it has nothing to do with meeting in a building and being led by someone other than him.

Man

This is the problem - that people just have all the wrong interpretations of the bible.  That is why people like me are needed.

DL

Well, all I can do is read Joshua's teachings with a sincere heart and take them at face value, since he says we have to be like children in order to understand him.

Man

Who is Joshua?

DL

That is the name I use for what people call 'Jesus' - I don't think it is that important, but I don't care for 'Jesus' so much anymore due to all the silly, contradictory and confusing stuff associated with that name.  Also, Joshua is a bit of a better translation.

Man

OK (in a bit of a sarcastic manner)�so back to the church thing, if everyone had their own interpretation of the bible, then there would be a lot of confusion.

DL

Well, doesn't over 30,000 bible based sects and christian divisions indicate confusion?  Did you know that by some estimates, that is how many 'churches' or bible sects there are right now on the earth?  Perhaps the problem is not so much interpretation, but rather something simpler.

Man

Lack of leadership is what leads to confusion, and you not being part of a church is part of the problem.

DL

But I do have a leader, you just can't see him.

Man

People need flesh and blood people to organize them�they need a representative of God to help show them the way.

DL

Perhaps people need faith, and to place that faith in the right leader?  Perhaps that is the fundamental problem�that people are not listening to Joshua?

Man

The church leadership is the leadership ordained by God to lead God's people.

DL

I know that is what you sincerely believe, but unfortunately, you did not get that belief from  Joshua.  And look at the result�over 30,000 divisions and counting.

Man

Well, sir, I think you are missing some important things in your understanding of God and the church.

DL

Like what?

Man

Well, like I said, you need to be part of a church�that is how God works on the earth.

DL

Well, aside from the fact that I don't see Joshua describing the church as you define it, what exactly is the work God is doing through the church?

Man

The church educates people on what God is like and what God wants.

DL

What is God like and what does He want?

Man

God is a Holy, awesome being, who does love people, but who is also just and will punish those who disobey Him.  Paul teaches on the wrath of God.

DL

With all the bad stuff people do on the earth, I guess you think God is really mad?

Man

There will be a day of reckoning for all the evil on the earth.

DL

OK, so what does God want people to do?

Man

He wants them to go to church, and to be good people by keeping the 10 commandments.

DL

What about love?

Man

Oh, yes, God loves people and wants people to love each other.

DL

Why do you think you did not answer 'love' without my prompting?

Man

Because people need to stop doing what is wrong�they need to stop cheating and lying before they can love.

DL

What about the people who belong to your church, are they cheating and lying?

Man

No, of course not�not if they are listening to me (with a big smile).

DL

So, then, they are loving one another?

Man

Yes, of course we do.

DL

So, can you please tell me how this love for one another manifests itself among your people?

Man

Yes, of course.  We are civil and kind to each other and we give ten percent of our money to help other people and build the church and its programs and ministries.

DL

So, how much do you people share each other's lives?

Man

What do you mean?

DL

Well, are you acting like actual brothers and sisters?

Man

Yes, of course we are.

DL

So, you share everything your Father has given you, including your lives, and you spend your lives together, helping each other and doing the Father's work?

Man

I don't know what you mean?

DL

Well, do you share all your material things with each other and live with each other as actual brothers and sisters?  That is what love amounts to�sharing all we have with those we love and caring for each other like actual brothers and sisters.

Man

Do you mean a commune?  Do we live in a commune?

DL

Well, that is a bit of a loaded term, but if you mean people actually caring for one another and helping one another in daily life, then yes.

Man

The bible does not teach we have to live in a commune�that's weird and cultish.

DL

Well, perhaps what you are labeling �weird and cultish� is how people live who actually love one another?  Perhaps people who don't love money and material things have no problem sharing with others?  Perhaps we value each other as actual brothers and sisters and thus enjoy being with one another?

Man

Are you part of a cult?  Is that why you initiated this conversation with me, to try and get me to be a member of your cult?

DL

OK, so what about God's work�how do the people do God's work?

Man

By going to church and supporting the church.

DL

Again, you have no basis in Joshua's teachings for that statement.  You have defined supporting the church as attending meetings and giving money to support you and the various programs.  Is that not correct?

Man

Well, not just to support me, but all the church staff, but yes, that is essentially accurate.

DL

So, can you show me where Joshua teaches that?

Man

Isn't that part of love?  To support your brothers and sisters?

DL

So, do you and the organization's staff give money back to the people to support them?  Is it an equal sharing?

Man

Of course not.  We are the one's actually serving the people for God and we need a way to support ourselves.

DL

So, what about all the other people who are part of your organization and who don't get paid by the organization to do �god's work�.  How do they do �God's work�?

Man

By supporting us.

DL

That seems like circular reasoning to me.  So, who says you need an expensive building to meet in?  And who says that your programs - which programs have nothing to do with brining people to the Father - and the staff that run them, is what God wants?  It seems to me that your organization is run just like any other organization with a 'professional' staff and members who support it with their extra money.

Man

Well, everyone knows what the church is�it seems you might be the only one who does not.

DL

Well, what is your standard to know what the church is and what it is supposed to be?

Man

Listen, sir, our bible based church has been around for hundreds of years, so who are you to question it?

DL

I am merely a follower of the one who calls himself the Light of the world.  Why won't you consider his words about his ekklesia/church or called out ones?

Man

I do, it is you who is confused�you don't even know what the church is!

DL

OK, well, have a good day, sir.

 


A disciple's conversation with an old, christian friend (OCF). (Added September 2014.)

 DL = Disciple of the Light

DL

Hi Harry, how are you?

OCF

I am good, thanks.  How are you?

DL

I am well, thank you.

OCF

So, what are you up to these days?

DL

Well, the same thing, you know, trying to bring people to the Father.

OCF

Yeah, well, we see differently on that.

DL

So, what are you doing these days?

OCF

Well, I am working at such-and-such and making pretty good money.  My wife is OK, and my son is working with me.  I am working closer to home these days so I have a bit more time with the family.

DL

Oh.

OCF

Yeah, and my dad started a ministry for alcoholics that I help him with.

DL

Oh.  So, how do you help those folks?

OCF

Well, we provide a place to stay, food and counseling help.

DL

Oh, so you tell them about the Light and the freedom he can bring them?

OCF

Probably not in the way you would, but if they ask, we share.  It's not a church.

DL

Oh.  So, what do you think about the U.S. military?  Are you still a part of that organization?

OCF

Obviously not full time, but yes, I stay connected.

DL

Are you aware of perhaps the most important teaching of Joshua, that we are to love even our enemies?

OCG

You are not going to start, are you?  Do I have any beliefs right?

DL

It's just a simple question.

OCG

Well, I believe that God made laws for people to follow, and when a nation breaks those laws, other nations are then justified in using force to stop whatever wrong they are doing.

DL

So, you are saying that as a follower of 'jesus christ', you should obey a nation's government when they tell you to take up weapons and kill the enemy?

OCG

Yes.

DL

How do you reconcile that with the Light's command of �love your enemies�?

OCG

Like I said, God made laws for people to govern each other.

DL

Which of those God-laws nullifies or has preeminence over the teaching, �love your enemies�?

OCG

I'm not going to get into this with you.  There are lots of christian leaders and scholars who believe in just wars.

DL

Just to be clear, you are saying that you can both drop bombs on people you don't even know � who the government of the nation you live in calls your enemy -  and at the same time �love� them?

OCG

Yes.

DL

OK, well, old friend, sadly I guess we don't have much more to say to each other.

OCG

Good bye � I wish you well old friend.

DL

Good bye, and I as well.

 


 A disciple talking with another person who says they too are a follower of Jesus. (Added September 2014.)

 DL = Disciple of the Light

DL

Hi Sally.  I read your writings about the sabbath.

S

Oh, yes.  Well, I was concerned that you did not keep the sabbath.

DL

As I've tried to explain to you, I am a follower of the person of Joshua of Nazareth, not the bible or Paul or Moses or anyone else.

S

Well, Jesus says to keep the sabbath.

DL

Can you please show me where you believe Jesus provides an instruction or teaching where his followers are to keep the sabbath?

S

Yes, Matt. 5.

DL

I understand why people read Matt. 5:17-20 to support keeping the sabbath.  But can you at least agree that that passage does not have him saying, 'keep the sabbath'?

S

I disagree�it says that in so many words.

DL

So, let's consider this�why would God want me to not do any work on a particular day if I am healthy and able to do so?

S

Because God says so, and that is enough for me.

DL

Well, you use reason from Jesus' teachings on other things, why not just use some now on this topic?

S

Because God gave the command to Moses back when Pharoh was not letting the people of Israel worship God.

DL

OK, yes, I understand you believe that, but what does that have to do with today?  Is someone abusing you by not letting you 'worship God' or forcing you to work seven days?

S

No, but once God makes a law, it stands forever unless he says he changes it.

DL

So, God makes laws that people must follow even though it makes no sense for them to do so and the supposed law has nothing to do with the top command's Joshua gave?

S

I don't know why you can't see the sabbath observance as a good, pleasant thing�a day to rest and reflect upon God stuff.

DL

Well, I do think it is good for people who need rest to get rest, and I know that God does not want people to use other people for selfish purposes.  I also think is it good to think about our Father, but that is not what the sabbath is about.  It was originally given by Moses for people not to work seven days a week.  And, if we love our Father, won't we think about him more than just on one day a week?

S

Yes, but the sabbath is a special day he clearly commanded people to rest on.

DL

Well, God supposedly said to Moses to make that command, but again, as followers of Joshua, we do not listen to others to understand God, and that would include Moses.

S

But Jesus says so too.

DL

Again, please show me where Joshua simply says something like, 'Keep/observe the sabbath'?

S

I've already given you one in Matt. 5.  What about Matt. 24:20, where he says, �But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a sabbath.�

DL

Well, can you again at least admit that that is not an instruction, teaching or command to keep the sabbath?

S

I'm not sure.

DL

Well, if you read the passage in context, he is speaking about the end of the nation of Israel, which obviously has a Jewish context.  He is talking about Jewish people needing to get out of Judea�to flee to the mountains.  His first disciples were Jewish, and they had family members who were also Jewish and raised with Moses' teachings, including the sabbath teaching.  He says he hopes that people will not have to flee in more difficult circumstances�in winter (which would likely have harsh weather and thus make fleeing difficult) or on a sabbath (which would make it very difficult for people to flee since they will be bound by the belief they should not do work on the sabbath, and many will believe fleeing amounts to work).

S

Well, I just believe that we are to keep that sabbath.

DL

OK, how about this.  God supposedly said this, �You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.  If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.  As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.�  Lev. 23:28-30

S

Yes.

DL

So, God supposedly says that anyone who works on a sabbath, �he will destroy that person from among his people�.

S

Yes.

DL

So, how do you reconcile the fact that Joshua says that his Father �loves/has compassion for all the people of the earth� with his supposed desire to destroy those who don't keep a ritual?  Joshua further said that he did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.  Doesn't Joshua perfectly represent his Father?  Could that be the same God?  God does not change, right?

S

You are confusing me...I just know that we should keep the sabbath.

DL

Dear Sally, Joshua says we are to love our Father with all our mind.  That would mean we should use our minds to evaluate that which is true and that which is false�that we should use reason in trying to find, know and understand God.

S

Then we don't respect God�he just wants us to obey.

DL

To use reason to try and understand God things is to not respect God?  Where is that teaching of Joshua?

S

I am sorry, we just disagree on this, and I think I'm going to have to leave.

DL

Don't you see how silly things like 'keeping a day' lead to division which is a lack of love?  If you choose to stop loving me due to your sabbath belief, then are you not breaking a greater command to love me�that by our love for each other people will know we are his followers?

S

What I know is that I need to obey God no matter what, and obeying God is more important than anything, can't you see that?

DL

What do you believe God will do to you if you don't keep the Sabbath?

S

I'll lose my salvation.

DL

So God is the kind of God who will send you to destruction if you don't observe a day?  He wants to force people to 'worship him' and will punish those who do not?

S

Yes.

DL

Is that a god worthy of your life and soul Sally?

S Sally just walks away, shaking her head.

 


A conversation with Brent, a man heading for seminary

A follower of the Light was waiting at a bus terminal to travel to a far away destination. He sat down on in an area where other people were also sitting. After a few minutes, he turned to a man sitting next to him and said hello. The man returned the greeting, and the follower of the Light struck up the following conversation?

DL = Disciple of the Light

DL So, where are you heading?
Man I am heading to Oklahoma City to begin my seminary training.
DL Oh, interesting. What led you to go to a seminary.
Man I felt the calling of God on my life, and believe that seminary will be the best training I could have for the ministry.
DL Can you please describe to me the experience you describe as 'the calling of God on my life'? How do you know that it is God?
Man You just know. It is a feeling in you heart � I can't really explain it.
DL Aren't you concerned if the 'calling' is authentic or not? I mean, you are taking a direction in your life that is significant. What if it is not God that is leading you to make that decision?
Man I am just sure that it is � it is a faith thing, and a spirit thing. If you are not called, you just cannot understand.
DL Well, I have much interest in the Man called Jesus of Nazareth � you know who he is, right? (the DL says kindly)
Man (Laughts) I better know!
DL Well, if a man has to have a 'calling from God' in order to do 'ministry', don't you think Jesus would have addressed it in all his many teachings on what it means to follow him?
Man Well, the bible does talk about men being called into ministry. There are several examples, and Paul gives qualifications of being in the ministry.
DL Well, yes, I suppose the bible does do that, but what about Jesus of Nazareth? Doesn't he speak of it?
Man I'm not really sure, but I do know that he stopped being a carpenter when he was called into ministry.
DL Well, he did stop his working with his hands at a certain point in his life to go and preach his good news. But it had nothing to do with going for intellectual training at some organization. In fact, in all of his teachings about what it means to love God and follow him, he never says that a man needs to go and pay money to men who claim to represent him, and study books to earn a piece of paper with credentials on it.
Man Well, that is interesting � I guess I've never thought of it that way. But we have the bible to help guide us when Jesus doesn't address important matters.
DL So you believe that in the four gospels where Jesus' words are recorded, he omits important matters regarding what his heavenly Father wants of people?
Man Oh yes, definitely. That is why we have the rest of the bible, to instruct us more fully on God's will for our lives.
DL Can you give me an example of an important issue that Jesus does not address?
Man Well, how about homosexuality?
DL In Matt. 19, the Light teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. Furthermore, in Mark 7 and other places, he teaches that all sexual behavior outside of the husband-wife relationship is sinful. Therefore, he addresses homosexuality.
Man Well, the bible is much clearer in its condemnation homosexuals than that. That is why we need the bible to know God's will for our lives.
DL So, Jesus teaching that some behavior is sin is not enough for you?
Man Well, I'm just saying I personally want to see it spelled out.  Jesus' teachings are good but we need more and that is why I believe that God's word, the bible, contains the truth we need to know God's will for our lives.
DL So what does Jesus mean when he says, �If you continue in MY teachings, then you are my followers, and then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free�. Doesn't �MY� that mean that if we continue in Jesus' teachings only will we know the truth?
Man Are you sure that is something he said?
DL Yes. It can be found in John 8:28.
Man Well, he can't mean that only his words or teachings will make us his followers, because we have the bible, and Paul says that the whole bible is inspired by God to teach us.
DL Yes, Paul does say something to that effect. But isn't it possible that those two teachings contradict each other? You know, that Jesus says that to be his follower, one continue in his words and teachings � which does make sense, you know � his followers listening to him and his words. Whereas Paul says something to the effect of, 'no, Jesus' words are not sufficient, and we have the whole bible to guide us to God'.
Man Paul doesn't say that Jesus' words are insufficient (the man is starting to get defensive).
DL No, he doesn't use those words, but Paul does say that the scriptures are to be used to know and please God, not Jesus' words, and Paul must have known that Jesus' teachings were written down and being passed around among his disciples at that point in time.
Man I don't get it.
DL Well, Paul points people to 'the scripture' as the way to know God's will for one's life, right?
Man Absolutely, yes.
DL Jesus, on the other hand, says that to continue in � to know and keep � his words or teachings is what makes a person a follower of his, not continuing in the scripture, which is merely other men writing their opinions about God. Furthermore, he says that to continue in his teachings will set a man free.
Man Well, I still don't see a contradiction. After all, Jesus' words are part of the scripture, right?
DL Not according to Jesus. He says, �You do study the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and yet you refuse to come to me to have life�. Jesus did not define his words as 'scripture', men do. Jesus teachings are simply his recorded and preserved words. He makes it quite plain that to think that 'the scriptures' will lead a person to everlasting life is wrong, thus the rebuke pointing to HIMSELF (and thus by deduction, HIS words) as the source of eternal life.
Man Well, that is a weird perspective I've never heard before. You are a Christian, right?
DL No, I am not a Christian. I am a student or disciple of the Light of the world. I used to be a sincere bible-believing Christian, but I have been set free from that.
Man (very defensively now) So, are you saying that Christians are not free � that they are somehow bound?
DL Yes, in this way. They have the wrong standard, and thus they can never know the fullness of the Way. At best, they have a ball-and-chain of confusion around their mind, and Jesus does say that we are to love the Lord our God with all our mind, right?
Man So, you are condemning all Christians to hell?
DL (In a voice of gentle patience) No, not at all, but I understand why you think that way, since you have been taught that having the correct beliefs � bible doctrine - is the way to heaven or hell. Statements of 'faith' - actually just lists of doctrines created by religious leaders -  have been substituted for actual faith.
Man So, Christians can be all wrong about what they believe and still go to heaven?
DL Well, I'm not sure about the 'all wrong' part (with a gentle smile), but they can be wrong about many things and still have faith. It is faith - and faithfulness with what we know - that gets people to heaven, not having head knowledge about God or Jesus. However, if a person knows that Jesus says quite a number of times, things like - �Enter through the difficult or narrow way, because easy and broad is the way that the vast majority take, and the end of that way is destruction� - why would a person not sincerely and seriously check out his teachings and claims? Would this not be especially true for those who claim to have some type of affiliation with the one they call Jesus Christ � like someone taking the label 'christian'?
Man I listen carefully to him, as do many Christians. I know for sure that Senior Pastor so-and-so is a man of God who knows Jesus really well, probably a lot better than you do. He has a huge ministry that is successful by anyone's standards.
DL Well, not by the Light's standards. But we digress a bit. Do you notice that you are quite defensive? When we part ways, would you please ask yourself why you were defensive when all I did was point you to the Light of the world.
Man (Now in undisguised anger and offense) What do you have to show the success of your ministry? You want me to listen to you, but I don't even know you?
DL How 'successful' was Jesus' 'ministry' when he was on the earth? Seems to me it ended in a way that most people would describe as a horrible failure � his being killed by hanging on a cross � the few followers he had failing him and scattering. I'd like you to listen to the Light, and I'd like to get to know you if you'd give me a chance.
Man There you go again, saying I don't listen to the Jesus Christ. You are full of judgment, aren't you?
DL Again, if you could only see how defensive you are and how unreasonable you are becoming�please reflect on this conversation at some later time and ask why you became that way when all I did was point you to the Light.
Man (Getting up and starting to walk away) I'll reflect on God's Word, the bible. And I'll pray for you sir, as you desperately need prayer to come out from the delusion you are stuck in.

 


A conversation with Sally, a faithful and young church-go'er

One day, while a disciple of Jesus was walking in a park, he was approached by three young people, two young ladies, and a young man, who asked the disciple if he had a few minutes to talk.  This was wonderful because the disciple of Jesus was looking for young people to talk to about Jesus.  The disciple didn't know it, but the three young people were approaching him to try and get him to believe their religious organization's beliefs about salvation.  One of the young ladies names was Sally, and it was she who spoke for the three for she knew their organizations's beliefs and how to present them better than the others.

Jesus� disciple = JD

JD Hi, how are you today! : )
Sally We are wonderful, how are you?
JD I'm grateful, really grateful.
Sally For what?
JD For my Father's love and care for me.
Sally Oh, well, we are glad you will talk to us for a few minutes.  We are here to tell people how they can go to heaven.
JD Oh, great.  I am here for a similar reason.
Sally Well, have you ever heard of Jesus Christ?
JD If you mean Jesus of Nazareth, yes, in fact I am a follower of his.
Sally Really.  So what is your testimony?
JD (the disciple tells Sally how he met Jesus and how he has learned to follow him more faithfully over the years).
Sally That is wonderful.  So, where to you go to church?
JD Well, Sally, Jesus doesn't tell me I should go to church.  He tells me to follow him and do what he says.
Sally But we all need fellowship, and the bible does say that we should not forsake gathering together.
JD Yes, Sally, the bible does say that, but Jesus does not, and Jesus is not the bible.  Jesus' words on gathering together is that whenever two or three meet in his name, he is there in their midst.
Sally Well, yes but all of the bible is God's Word, isn't it?
JD Jesus is the Word of God, Sally, not the bible.  In fact, Jesus warns us against that error in John 5:39-40.  The book you are holding in your hands and call the bible is not defined by Jesus, the Son of God.  It was defined by men, and in fact there are several different basic bibles - like the protestant and the roman catholic - so which one is correct?
Sally (Sally asks to be excused for a second to talk with her friends.  She walks a few feet away and says to them, 'this guy is really messed up with what he believes.  Let's just try to give him the gospel.'  They agree and all turn back to JD.)  Well, would you listen to our gospel?
JD Sure.
Sally OK, first, do you know that you are a sinner who is guilty before God.
JD Well, yes I was once, but don't you remember my telling you how I met Jesus and what he has done for me?
Sally Yes, but I want to make sure you believe the true gospel because you have said some things that are not correct.
JD My sincere efforts to follow Jesus according to his own Words is not enough?  Not correct as judged against what?
Sally The bible.
JD Oh, but I don't follow the bible, or believe the bible, or trust in the bible.  Jesus didn't either, nor does he tell his followers to.  I follow, believe in and trust the person Jesus, who reveals himself in the first four books of the new testament.
Sally Yes, so you have said.
JD Is there anything wrong with my choosing to follow the Jesus who reveals himself in the gospels?
Sally Well, if you don't do it the bible's way, then yes, there is something wrong with it.
JD So then, your ultimate authority is the bible and not Jesus of Nazareth.
Sally Yes, well everything the bible says, Jesus says in the gospels, so they are the same.
JD The bible is the same as the person of Jesus, the Son of God?  Isn't that a bit strange? How so?
Sally It's all God's Word...every normal christian believes that.
JD So, where does the bible define itself as God's Word?  Where does Jesus prophesy that Paul, for instance, would improve upon what Jesus revealed of his Father, and write it down and that his words would be the Word of God?
Sally 2 Tim. 3:16 says that all Scripture is inspired of God, so all the bible is God's Word.
JD You mean that Paul wrote that, for "the bible" did not write itself.  Where does Paul define what the "Scripture" is?  Every instance I see Paul talk about the scripture, he is referring to the old covenant with Israel.
Sally Well, Peter says in 2 Pet. 3:16 that Paul's words are scripture.
JD Well, if that is your proof, then who validates Peter's words as scripture or the Word of God?  What if Peter is wrong about that?
Sally The church at the counsel of nicea.
JD So what criteria did they use to decide that Peter's writings where scripture or the Word of God?
Sally That is where faith comes in.
JD So, from what you have just plainly said, your faith is in a process of the church to get you to trust in a book, right?  Didn't Jesus just say to trust in his Father and himself?  When Jesus talks about child-like faith, isn't he talking about faith in his Father, the living Most High God?
Sally Don't you know that all of christianity basically agrees with what I am telling you?  Aren't you concerned that you don't believe what christian scholars all say is the truth and the gospel?
JD No, I am primarily concerned with listening to Jesus.  I am trying to let Jesus alone define my reality, for Jesus says that HE is the Truth and the Father did say to "listen to HIM".  Once again, is Paul also the person of Jesus of Nazareth?
Sally No, but Paul's words are the Words of God, just like Jesus words.
JD So, when Jesus says that "heaven and earth will pass away, but MY WORD will never pass away" - what he really meant was, "heaven and earth will pass away, but my words as well as all who claim to speak for me, their words as well will never pass away"?
Sally Well, I guess that would have to be true since all of the bible is God's Word.
JD So then, all of the sayings of Jesus - the sinless Messiah, sent of the Father, who said and did only what he directly saw the Father do and say - his words are no different than Peter's for example?
Sally Well, they are different, but Peter's words are also the Word of God.
JD According to who, Jesus?
Sally No, according to Paul.
JD So then, upon an issue you feel is very important, you are basing your faith on Paul and not Jesus.  Doesn't THAT concern you?
Sally No, because every other christian believes the same thing.
JD One more thing on this issue of the bible.  If Peter's writing are the infallible Word of God, then aren't you concerned that Paul had to correct Peter about Peter not properly understanding what Paul describes as "the truth of the gospel" in Gal. 2?  After all, didn't Peter have the Holy Spirit at the time Paul corrected him?
Sally  I don't have the answers to those questions, but I know the gospel.  May I continue?
JD Well, OK, you can continue if you'd like.
Sally Did you know that salvation is a free gift that you can do nothing to earn or deserve?
JD Yes, to enter into salvation that is true, but I have to be faithful to Jesus in order to continue on the Way.
Sally (Sally again turns to her companions and says, 'wow, he rejects the once-saved-always-saved doctrine as well!)  OK.  Did you know that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved?
JD I know that those are Paul's words and I used to believe that, but now Jesus has taught me that you have to do more than say with you mouth that he is your Lord, and more than believe facts about him like his resurrection.  Jesus says that if you continue is his Word - and nobody else's - and do what he says, THEN you are his follower and this is what he means when he says to believe in him.  Paul's words here are misleading and incomplete.
Sally So, you are saying that you know more than Paul?
JD No, I am saying that I listen to Jesus and not Paul.  I am saying that Paul's teachings are not all the same as Jesus' teachings.
Sally (At this point, Sally starts to wonder just a little bit, that what the disciple is saying has the sound of truth to it, but she is not ready to receive it, so she changes the subject.)  OK.  What about going to church?  Are you saying that Jesus says that we should not be a part of a local church?
JD First of all, the word "church" means called out ones.  For example, when Jesus says that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his ekklesia, he is saying that the prince of the world shall not prevail against his people.  So if any individual is following Jesus, they are part of his ekklesia.  Jesus says nothing about buildings or meetings or services or anything of that kind.
Sally Well, just because Jesus doesn't teach it doesn't mean that it is wrong.  So, my church and my elders are ordained of God and doing things God's way.
JD Actually, spending relatively large sums of money on a religious temple (some will avoid this truth and instead call their temple a church or a sanctuary or a meeting place) that religious leaders say is necessary to worship God in, is against Jesus teachings.  Jesus says that all that is necessary to worship his Father is to do so in spirit and in truth.
Sally OK, but that says nothing about the church building being wrong.
JD Actually, in regard to worship, he did say that "an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father".  He obviously was referring to a physical place, and therefore he says that those who follow him will "neither" worship in some house.  In addition, Jesus teaches that we ought to sell our possessions and give to the needy, and that would preclude making ourselves comfortable with a tradition of men of spending money on a worship temple.  Truly this nullifies Jesus' teachings about how we ought to live.
Sally Well, other than the building thing, everything else we do is biblical.
JD It might be biblical, but so is killing an entire people group, including women and children.
Sally No one in our church would ever do that.
JD  But the point is that the bible does say that God ordered the killing of entire people groups, including women and children.  Why is it that we cringe and call Herod evil and exceedingly wicked when he orders the killing of all young boys, but when God allegedly orders the killing of women and children of all ages, we maintain that a God that would do such a thing is just and merciful?  It is one thing to punish evil doers.  It is another to order the killing of children and women.
Sally I just know the bible is true and my church leaders are not wrong.
JD You just now did another thing that contradicts Jesus' teachings.  Jesus plainly teaches that those who follow him have one master, teacher, leader, shepherd, pastor, and it is him.  And that those who follow him are not to take positions or titles of spiritual authority over other disciples since Jesus is the ONLY authority over his sheep.
Sally Well our leaders don't call themselves anything but brothers.
JD But you just again acknowledged that they are your leaders.  Jesus says call no man leader and he teaches that other men ought not to try and lead, direct or otherwise guide his followers, for they are supposed to be following HIM by faith.
Sally Well, the fact that we are out here street preaching means we are doing God's will.
JD But most christian sects do the same thing to varying degrees in varying forms.  So do those your religious group label's heretics.  In fact, religious groups like the Jehovah's witnesses and the Mormons are very diligent in sending out what they term missionaries and street preachers.  According to your leaders, are they doing the will of God? 
Sally No, because they don't have the right gospel.
JD So who has the right gospel?
Sally We do.
JD But I have showed you that your gospel does not line up well with Jesus' teachings on salvation.  Should not Jesus' Words define the good news that you call your 'gospel'?
Sally We have the Word of God and Paul says that his gospel is the right gospel, and that if any other person brings a different gospel other than what Paul teaches, then that person is accursed of God.
JD Don't you see who you are listening to and thus following?  It is Paul, not Jesus, and on a matter that you consider of utmost importance.
Sally No, we are obeying the Word of God, and Paul was the instrument who wrote that portion of the Word of God.
JD Actually, your bible says who is the Word of God, and it is Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1; Rev. 19:13), not itself, a book that would be compiled some 400 years later.  After Messiah came, he is the Word of God and we can be really sure that what he spoke came directly from the Father.  We can not be sure of this for any other man.  And when a man contradicts Jesus, we ought to be very wary of his other teachings.
Sally Maybe you can't believe the bible due to a lack of faith?
JD Possibly, but I am not concerned that my faith is not in a book, but rather in God and His Son.  I did put my faith in the bible for about 10 years before God delivered me from that error.  I am concerned about having faith in God and His Son Jesus.  The bible is not God or Jesus.  It is a book that contains Jesus' Words in a very small portion.
Sally I know our faith is right.  Our church group's people love each other and thus we are obeying Jesus.
JD Are you sure you are truly loving each other as God and Jesus define it?  Jesus says that if we only love those who love us back, we get no reward or credit for that.  He says that the greatest love, that is God's love, will cause us to lay down our life for our friends.  That is a great sacrifice - we are to be willing to give our very life in order to help a friend.  Are you sure that those in your religious group are willing to actually DO that?
Sally Oh yes, Jesus says it and thus we will do it.
JD So how is your group currently showing their sacrificial, selfless love for one another?
Sally We are kind to each other, and we say nice things to each other, and we visit each other's homes and cook meals for each other each weekend.
JD So, what happens when an older person is sick, or when someone loses a job?  Related to those questions, do you have people who have much more wealth than other people in your group?
Sally Well, their relatives take care of them or send them to a nursing home.  If someone loses a job, there is unemployment, and we have even set up a room in the basement of our church where someone can stay for up to 3 months.  In terms of people with different incomes, that is nobody's business but their own.
JD By these words you prove that you and the people you associate with don't yet understand Jesus, his gospel or his Father's love.  How sad.  The world as usual...business as usual.
Sally What do you mean?
JD Read Jesus' Words in Luke 12:33-34 and Matt. 25:32-46 with ears to hear.
Sally I've read the new testament dozens of times.
JD Yes Sally, you have, but you have not yet begun to seriously listen to Jesus as you continue to cling to the traditions of men which nullify the Word of God's teachings.
Sally Well, even if I believe what you say, I will continue to love those people in my church and I can't do that if I leave them.
JD Please, don't believe what I say, believe what Jesus says.  It is good to love all people, but you can't do that well and at the same time disobey Jesus.  Why not go and try to love people that are willing to try to obey Jesus and who see their need for God?  You know, the same people Jesus reached out to...the rejected, hurting people the world - including its religious organizations - label as failures?
Sally We do that with our Saturday night soup kitchen.
JD No, you feed the poor which is good, but you do so with your excess and in a non-personal way and you point them to christian religion instead of to Jesus.  This far outweighs the good you do in feeding them physical food.
Sally Well, I can see you are not going to respond to the gospel, and we have to be going now.  Good-bye.
JD Well, it was good talking with you.  Please take this little pamphlet with  our web site address and read a few of the articles.

Sally and her two friends take the piece of paper and walk away from the disciple of Jesus, shaking their heads and marveling at the wrong beliefs of the disciple of Jesus.  And yet the youngest one, in her heart, was moved to some extent by the Truth of Jesus.  Sally, for her part, gave the piece of paper to her religious leaders.  The main religious leader read the pamphlet and visited the web site.  The next Sunday, when her shepherd saw her after their "worship service", he warned her about the fellow who handed her the pamphlet and strictly warned her to not read the web site and to stay away from "such a reprobate heretic".

 


One day, while standing on a sidewalk, a disciple of Jesus has a conversation with a church-goer�

Jesus� disciple = JD

Church-Goer = CG

JD

Hi, how are you today?

CG

Oh, I�m great, how are you?

JD

Oh, I�m grateful to the real Jesus!

CG

I saw your bumper sticker�I assume you are a christian?

JD

Well, actually, that label seems to have lost its meaning, so I prefer a follower of Jesus, because Jesus does say we must follow Him�

CG

So, which church do you belong to?

JD

I just follow Jesus, for Jesus says we are the church

CG

Yeah, I know that, but where do you go to church?  You know, Sunday mornings where do you go?

JD

We don�t go anywhere in particular Sunday morning, we just read Jesus words from time to time.

CG

Oh, you have a house church?

JD

Well, since we are the church and we meet in our house, I guess you could call it that.  But really, we are trying to be what Jesus says we ought to be, His Family.

CG

Well, what is your pastor�s name?

JD

Jesus of Nazareth.

CG

Yeah, I know that, but really, you do have a leader or leaders called pastors, don�t you?  I mean you are not saying that Jesus physically manifests Himself in your house, are you?

JD

No, Jesus does not physically sit on our house, but we do try to actually be led by Him, for He does say that He is the One shepherd.  And we do have His words in the gospels.  He also says that His disciples are not to exercise authority over one another since He says we are all truly brothers.  He also says that part of that true humility manifests itself in not taking titles of spiritual authority over one another.  Don�t you think �pastor� qualifies as a title of spiritual authority, and that the man receiving that title either tries to get, or allows, the people to follow him?

CG

Wow, you sound pretty weird.  Are you saying that men who take the title �pastor� are wrong for doing so?

JD

No, I am saying that Jesus says that in Matt. 23:8-12.  Why don�t you agree with Jesus?

CG

So, you guys don�t meet at a church, and you don�t have any proper leaders, is that right?

JD

Why isn�t Jesus a proper leader?

CG

Man, you sound like you are involved with a cult or something�

The church-goer walks away from the disciple of Jesus, muttering under his breath a warning about cults�

 


One day, while visiting a state fair, a disciple of Jesus starts talking to a church-goer�

DJ = Disicple of Jesus

DJ

Praise the Lord, a beautiful day, isn�t it?

CG

Well, yes, it is!

DJ

So, what is going on with your spiritual life?

CG

Well, I admit that I am not spending much time with my family, or reading the bible, because I am so busy with the business.

DJ

So, perhaps there is something more than what you have been taught, or experienced, in the religious buildings?

CG

What do you mean?

DJ

Well, maybe following Jesus does not require our going to religious buildings that are called �churches�.  Maybe it is about our giving our lives to Him and living as He commands?

CG

Well, I think I�ve been doing that, but I admit that I don�t spend much time right now going to church or reading the bible.

DJ

Well, why not do what Jesus says, which is to forsake all and follow Him?  We invite you to do so with us.  We know that God�s blessing will be upon us as we obey the plain words of His Son.

CG

Well, that sounds really radical.  I am providing for my family well right now, so what are you proposing, that I leave my family?

DJ

No, we are proposing that you all come and follow Jesus with us - you and your natural family.

CG

My wife would never go for that.  Plus how would my children be educated?  And what about health insurance?  I mean, how would we eat each day?

DJ

By faith.  Don�t you believe Jesus when He says His Father will provide for our food, clothing and shelter?  In terms of educating our children, we are home schooling, and it would just get easier if more people would join us.

CG

I hear what you guys are saying, but I am very concerned about your view of things.  You sound just like David Koresh and other cult leaders I have heard about.

DJ

We are not asking you to follow us.  We are asking you to obey Jesus and follow Him with us.  There is a big difference, isn�t there?

CG

Well, I think I�ll just concentrate on my walk with the Lord, and I think it is good that if you guys feel led to test your faith in that way, then go for it.

DJ

But we are not saying this is a relative thing for each to choose.  We are simply trying to repeat Jesus' teaching to you, so that you might also seek Him with all your heart and try to obey.

CG

I do seek Him, and I do obey.  Just because I don't want to go into a cult does not mean that I am not a christian.

DJ

But you earlier kind of admitted that you are not willing to try to forsake all to follow Him, didn't you?  Jesus does command us to do that, doesn't He?

CG

Yeah, according to your interpretation.  There are hundreds of interpretations of the bible, and I know a lot of guys who go to seminary who do not interpret it the way you do.  Did you go to seminary?

DJ

For a short time until the Lord called me out.  I have come to know that Jesus does not want scholars, but those with child-like faith for disciples.

CG

Don�t you think maybe you are excusing your lack of proper biblical education in order to push a 'personal interpretation'.

DJ

Well, I suppose that is possible.  But let's read His words and you can judge.  See, He says right here, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."  How do you interpret that?

CG

You guys are on dangerous ground�

The church-goer turns his back on the disciples of Jesus, and uses as his excuse to cut them off, starting a discussion with some potential customers that walked by.

 


One day, in a parking lot waiting for a shipping store to open, a disciple of Jesus starts talking to a church-goer.  The conversation goes something like this...

DJ = Disciple of Jesus

CG

Hi, I saw the web-site on your car.  Are you the minister who owns that site?

DJ

Hi, well, I am the person who created the web site.

CG

Are you a Christian?

DJ

I prefer a disciple or follower of Jesus, because that's what he called his followers and the label �Christian� seems to have lost its meaning.

CG

Oh, do you mean you are part of the disciples of Christ denomination?

DJ

No, I am not a part of any denomination.  That is what Jesus called His followers in the gospels.

CG

So, who do you assemble with?  You do meet with others, right?

DJ

We meet with a few others, yes.

CG

Where do you assemble?  Where is your meeting place?

DJ

In our house?

CG

Oh, that�s nice.  How big is your assembly?

DJ

Quite small.

CG

How many elders do you have?

DJ

Well, not too many older people are with us right now.

CG

No, I mean spiritual leaders, like pastors, elders and the like.

DJ

Well, we try to let Jesus be our only leader, while we follow Him together.

CG

But the bible does say that God gave some to be pastors, doesn�t it?  Paul does give much instruction regarding elders, doesn�t he?

DJ

Well, yes, Paul does say that, but we are not following Paul, but Jesus.  I am just saying that we do what He calls us to do, without all the titles and formal authority.  We try to focus on following Jesus, loving one another, and trying to make disciples.

CG

Oh, I heard of groups like you before.

DJ

What do you mean?

CG

There a lot of little cult-like groups like yours who deny proper biblical authority.

DJ

Don�t you believe that we shouldn�t judge others so quickly?  What have I said that isn�t Scriptural?

CG

I just know that there has to be some person or persons leading the church, and without that, I believe you are a cult.

DJ

So, your definition of a cult is a group of people trying to follow Jesus only, without human�s in between Jesus and themselves?

CG

I�m saying that if you don�t have proper, biblical authority, like pastors or elders, then you are not doing thing�s biblically, and therefore you are a cult.

DJ

But Jesus doesn�t talk about any authority being in-between He and His disciples.  He calls us to follow Him together, as brothers and sisters.

CG

Yeah, well, you do believe that the whole Bible is inspired of God, don�t you?  Can you just throw away the apostle Paul�s teachings?

DJ

Well, if we find a contradiction between Paul and Jesus, we are going to follow Jesus�

CG

Oh, forget it�just another cult who denies the doctrine of inspiration�

The church-goer walks away in disgust�

 


A woman disciple of Jesus has an encounter in a thrift shop with an older christian woman.  After browsing the store, and getting ready to leave, the DJ says...

DJ = Disciple of Jesus

DJ Trust and obey Jesus :)
CG Excuse me?
DJ I said trust and obey Jesus...do you know who Jesus is?
CG That is against the law...you are soliciting.
DJ It is not against the law.  I can say anything I want...you know, freedom of speech.  And even if it was against the law, Jesus tells me to tell others about Him, so I'm going to do what He tells me to do.
CG You should be locked up in a mental hospital.  Call the police, its against the law.
DJ Locked up for what?  Telling people about Jesus?  Go ahead and call the police.
CG It's against the law!
DJ Well, one day you will stand before God and give an account...
CG I am an upstanding member of my church!
DJ Oh, then why do you object to me telling people about Jesus?
CG It's against the law!
DJ Well, throw me in jail if you want but I'm going to listen to Him and tell others about Him.  Why don't you read His words and find out for yourself what He says?
CG You should be put in a mental institution.
DJ I'm sorry to say maam, but one day you will stand before Him and give an account.

The disciple of Jesus leaves the thrift store, marveling at the christian woman's words.


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