Thursday, August 29, 2013

Right Division

Not much on my mind today, I decided I'd quote from Clyde Pilkington today instead...

Right Division: The Answer to Understanding Scripture

“Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
The Word of God itself provides us with the key to its own proper understanding through “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” God’s ecclesia, the Body of Christ, is not the only people in the programs and purposes of God. People in other ages need Scripture to instruct them in the specifics of God’s dealings with them just as we do. Remember that all of the Scripture is for us – but it is not all to us, nor is it all about us. If we fail to recognize this important fact, we will never properly be able to understand just what God is doing today, nor will we know just what He would have us do.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Rich Man and Lazarus is a FABLE

  Good news, we had the house inspection done last night and it looks like everything is going smoothly.  Papers and deposit have been dropped off at the lawyers and it's starting to look like this might be a lock.  Yay!

Jesus - Telling Tales

  Anyone who's spent any time in Sunday School in the last century knows about the Rich Man and Lazarus.  I'm not going to bore you reciting the whole tale or waste time repeating it.  You can find it in Luke 16.

   At any rate; in this section of Luke's Gospel Jesus is telling a series of parables explaining things to people.  In particular, he is explaining things to the Pharisees using their own mythology and doctrine to condemn them.  These were taken from their book "The Talmud" and are not rooted in scriptural truth.

   For a deep analysis I recommend you buy the book "The Rich Man and Lazarus" by EW Bullinger.  He gives an easy to understand explanation of the parable and it's historical significance in Jesus time.  It's quite brief but easily dismantles traditional teaching on this.

   But lets be honest here; this parable conflicts with everything scripture teaches about God and death.  Here are some significant points;

A Rich man goes to hell and a poor man goes to "Abraham's bosom"(tradition teaches this is heaven).  So what is the point here?  We need to give away all our possessions and become destitute and persecuted to get to heaven?  If we're rich and eating well we go to hell?

Is God that unjust?  There's no indication that the poor man had repented, knew Jesus, or even knew of God in this entire exchange.  His only "redeeming" value was that he was poor and it really sucked.

Also, these people are dead, yet are somehow... not.

If so - we really need to redefine the word DEAD.  Of course, Jesus is using the pharisees own traditions and not actually trying to explain what happens after death.  Dead is dead after all.  As Ecclesiastes 9:5 says;

...The dead know nothing whatsoever...

  Indeed, if we are alive after death, as popular Christian mythology teaches; believers get to party it up in heaven while everyone else goes to hell... So then what is the point of

1 Thess 4:15-18
15 For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who are surviving to the presence of the Lord, should by no means outstrip those who are put to repose,
16 for the Lord Himself will be descending from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall be rising first.
17 Thereupon we, the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be together with the Lord.
18 So that, console one another with these words.

  If Death is actually life partying it up in Heaven, why go through the effort of raising us from the dead?  Doesn't that seem a little redundant?  I mean frankly, if I'm having a good time without a nasty old body in heaven, I would frankly be pissed off if I got smacked back into it just cuz Jesus felt like blowing a tune.

  And lets not forget, 

Revelations 20:5 
5 (The rest of the dead do not live...

  I guess John felt something might be lost in translation so he decided to say "Just in case you don't understand what dead means, the dead do not live..." it seems a little redundant, but then - religion is quite fond of making a kaka mess out of something that should be crystal clear.

   But seriously, read Bullinger's book, it's really quite well thought out and explains what a terrible injustice is being done to the word of God by taking a fairy tale Jesus was telling, completely out of context and making an entire doctrine of eternal conscious torment out of it.  Are you crazy?

  This is what I posted this morning on my facebook;

If Hell exists, it means God is not Lord over all creation.

If Hell exists, it means God is not Loving to all his creation.

If Hell exists, it means it were better for me to have been born an animal than risk the flames of hell.

If Hell exists, it means evil is more powerful than God.

If Hell exists, it means evil is eternal.

If Hell exists, it means God cannot be all in all.

If Hell exists, it means those who live in Heaven are truly cruel to enjoy an "eternity" while others suffer.

If Hell exists, it means that Jesus sacrifice at the cross was limited and feeble.

  I don't know how else I can be more clear than that...


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Apostle's Creed

Good news!  It looks like the house is conditionally sold.  As soon as the deal is sealed, I'll breathe a sigh of relief that we can finally get a move on to the next stage of our move.  Here's hoping!

  So far I've been running around, fixing the screen door, and taking Cassidy places and staying out of Jana's way as we try to market the house.  If this part gets finished, then we can move onto packing and getting the moving details hammered out.

Why I'm not a Christian - The Apostle's Creed

So... Yesterday someone said to me that I was a christian if I followed the Apostle's Creeds.  Slightly amused and quite certain I probably didn't I looked it up.  Here it is as follows;

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholick Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.

  Here's where we part ways.  First off... Jesus never descended into hell, because as I'm sure I've written before - hell is a fictitious place created by Plato and expounded on by popular mythology to become what religion pushes today.

In short, Jesus could not have descended into hell as no such place ever at any time existed.  Even the Bible doesn't teach this.

 Next - The Holy Catholic Church... This should be a no brainer. Ok?  I don't believe in institutional Churches, so why would I believe in the big grandaddy of em all?  Ugh.. The mere thought...

  The Communion of saints.  Ok this one is dubious.  So if we're talking about praying to saints and having intercession made on our behalf by the saints... No I don't believe in that horse shit.  As I've said before on my earlier blogs.  When you're dead - you're dead.  You are for all intents and purposes ASLEEP. Unconscious.  Unable to intervene in the world of life in ANY way.  Much less listening to prayers.  Good god, this is like greek mythology.

  And lastly - Life everlasting.  This is just a technical point, but the translators of so many editions of the Bible mistranslated eternal and everlasting.  Typically it should be read as EON or EON OF THE EONS.

  At any rate, do I believe we will all live forever?  As far as scripture goes, 1 Corinthians 15 makes it clear we will ALL be raised in the final consummation.  Does this mean eternity?  Probably.

  I really dislike how they call this the "Apostle's Creed" when I can pretty much guarantee the apostle's never wrote any kind of crap like this.  Here's what Paul DID write;

1 Corinthians 15:1-5
1 Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand,
2 through which also you are saved, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly.
3 For I give over to you among the first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
4 and that He was entombed, and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures,
5 and that He was seen by Cephas, thereupon by the twelve.

  There's NONE of the other baloney that's been peddled  by the Apostle's creed.  Good god people.

  Tradition... Gotta love it... no.  Actually I don't.  It makes people so brain dead and living by rote it's brutal.

   Anyways.  Martin Zender did a fantastic video this weekend that I'm going to embed in here.  Everyone should watch it and everyone should share it.  It's a profound message of hope and truth that... well let's sling it everywhere people!!

For those of you who want those references, read on below;

1 Cor 15:21-28
21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead.
22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified.
23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence;
24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power.
25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy is being abolished: death.
27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him.
28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.)

Col 1:20
20 and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.

Eph 1:10
10 to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up all in the Christ -- both that in the heavens and that on the earth --

Romans 11:36
36 seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!

1 Timothy 4:10
10 (for for this are we toiling and being reproached), that we rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers.

Romans 5:18-19
18 Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life's justifying.
19 For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just.

This is the power of Paul's gospel people!!! Live it and LOVE IT!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Paul - Our Bridge to Freedom from Legalism

  Most who know me will recall how much I despised Paul a year ago.  I felt Paul represented everything wrong with Christianity today.  I thought Paul was the source of all form of legalism, misogyny and other failings in the Christian Church today.

   As I have matured in my understanding of the Bible, thanks in no small part to Martin Zender, Clyde Pilkington Jr. and Dan Sheridan, I have come to understand that Paul was everything BUT.  The Christian religion wanted me to see Paul as their apostle, but to truly understand Paul, you would begin to realize that he would be the first to condemn the Christian religion.

   Let's take a quick look at who Paul was;

Acts 22:3 3 "I am a man, a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, yet reared in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, trained according to the strictness of the hereditary law, being inherently zealous for God according as all of you are today,

  Here Paul states he was born in Cilicia, and then reared in Jerusalem under the tutelage of Gamaliel.

  Who is this Gamaliel?  Well in Acts 5:34 he is mentioned;

34 Yet, rising, a certain Pharisee in the Sanhedrin, named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, honored by the entire people...

  He was a pharisee and as it says, obviously well known to people.  Particularly religious people.  And what did he teach Paul?  The Law of Moses as well as the traditions of Pharisees.

  Paul states his credentials in this regard in Phillipians 3:4-6

4 ...If any other one is presuming to have confidence in flesh, I rather:
5 in circumcision the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, in relation to law, a Pharisee,
6 in relation to zeal, persecuting the ecclesia, in relation to the righteousness which is in law, becoming blameless....

  He was the PERFECT Christian before his conversion.  And yes, I'm equating Pharisees with Christians.  Who else loves the Mosaic law in this present age more than Jews do?  What other group is so obsessed with morality and traditions more than most?  Paul is the very example of what it means to be a legalistic Christian.  His zeal, his conviction was so all encompassing that he believed that others should follow it too or die!!!

  Yet something happened when this man confronted the ascended Christ on the road to Damascus that glorious day in history.

  I may yet be so bold to say this day should be far more celebrated than Christmas, for it was this day that God began working his brilliant gospel of grace for the nations, and Paul was it's messenger.   (1 Cor 9:15-16, Gal 2:7, 1 Tim 1:11, Titus 1:1-3, )

  In any case, in spite of all of his man made "holiness" and perfection of which he had great cause to boast.  After all, he was faultless, blameless, and had achieved spiritual heights that Billy Graham, Bill Gothard, and Kip McKean and so many of the other spiritual leaders of today could never dream of.  Paul counted these all as worthless;

Phillipians 3:7-9

7 But things which were gain to me, these I have deemed a forfeit because of Christ.
8 But, to be sure, I am also deeming all to be a forfeit because of the superiority of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, because of Whom I forfeited all, and am deeming it to be refuse, that I should be gaining Christ,
9 and may be found in Him, not having my righteousness, which is of law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is from God for faith:
10 to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, conforming to His death,

  Did you catch that?  All of Paul's legalism was forfeit.  He deemed it refuse, something to put on the garbage pile.  He even states "not having my righteousness which is of law"  the ONLY righteousness he would acknowledge now was faith of Christ.  And even THAT wasn't his.  It was a righteousness that comes from God!!!

  He even go so far as to state elsewhere that even his faith comes from God;

Romans 12:3 God parts to each the measure of faith.

  What point is there, then, for legalism?  As Paul claims, it is rubbish!

  Then you might ask, where is the harm?


  As I have shown in earlier postings on this blog, it corrupts the conscience, and most of all, living in legalism will have you fall from grace.

  This Paul, this very man, the man who persecuted early believers and killed them.  Who loved the law with all his heart and was found blameless in it, is the same person who penned the words of Romans 8:1

1 Nothing, consequently, is now condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Not according to flesh are they walking, but according to spirit,

  He was no longer the same man who believed so fully in legalism.  He had been transformed by the ascended Christ.  The same Christ we now await his return.

  Paul wrote constantly in his epistles and letters about the Grace of God.  A grace, that scandalously will save all mankind.  Even Hitler, Billy Graham, Bill Gothard, Kip McKean, and a host of others we think should be condemned to hell;

1 Corinthians 15:22
22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified.

   That is how great God's grace is!!!  No ONE is exempt from it!!!

   Who needs legalism?


Down Memory Lane

The last few days talking to fellow ATI survivors brought back alot of memories.  I am so grateful that God has led me down the path he has.  It has provided contrast.  The darkness of legalism against the blinding light of grace.

Life is a constant barrage of contrast.  In fact, I believe that is the entire purpose to this life on earth during this evil time.  All of humanity is destined to experience the glory of God's perfection, but it cannot be truly appreciated until we have seen the darkness of IMPERFECTION.

This is why legalism is so destructive.  The drive of legalism is simple; to achieve perfection.

Legalism is nothing more than a demonic teaching.  In this age, humanity is a broken pottery.  It is never meant to be perfect just yet, and all attempts to achieve that leads only to frustration and eventual destruction. 

Perfection is only found in Jesus Christ, and that is GIVEN even WHILE we continue to sin.

Anyways... I just wanted to share some of my own journey with you.

My Journey to Grace

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

  When I was 14 we joined the ATI group and was raised on it's teaching.  Every morning we had family wisdom Searches (Bible Study).  We were home schooled and taught out of the Wisdom Booklets that we bought from ATI.

  We also had other curriculum but that was the main focus of our studies.

  By the time I was 16 I was wholly absorbed in the ATI cult.  I went everywhere wearing a suit.  I attempted to study my Bible daily, which ironically - I was ever reading, but never learning.

  I went to Indianapolis for further training in the ATI lifestyle.  For the better part of two years, I preached, talked, walked and lived the life of a shiny, navy blue suited ATI boy.

  My Church thought I was a golden boy, a halo so perfect there wasn't a smudge on it.

  I preached against the evils of pornography, I railed against rock music of any kind.  I split hairs regularly over anything that I could, in order to be as holy as possible.

  Inside I was rotting.  I was full of hatred towards anyone who didn't agree with me.  I was prideful as I strutted around in my suit, looking down at those who were unholy and only wearing jeans and T-Shirts.  I thanked God that I was not like them.

  I spent one summer with my cousins out in BC.  I went to my cousin's public school to see what he did for a day.  What an embarrassment I must have been. Wearing my suit and walking around like prep school kid.

  How uncomfortable I was with common "unholy" talk. How upset I became over any rock music I over heard.

  I even had a crisis of conscience while I was out there over reading fantasy books.  I began to think those were a sin and burned a whole stack of them.

  That was when it began to unravel.

  Not long after coming home, I had remembered the looks in people's eyes out there in Grand Forks.  Me in my holier than thou attitude, I had alienated my closest cousin.  

  I began to feel like such a fool.  My pride was on full display, and I'm certain God was holding a mirror to me so I could see it starkly.

  I was nothing like Jesus, nor could I ever become as holy as he was, by my actions alone.  Even my foolishness over burning books showed to me the ridiculousness of my self righteous behavior.

  There was nothing in those books that were evil any more than a children's bedtime story about Goldilocks and the three bears could be said to be evil.  I was, as Jesus put it, "Swallowing a gnat and eating a camel."

  I was splitting hairs over books, while trying to have a feast of unachievable Holiness.

  It simply isn't possible.

  I put away that suit not long after.  I stopped my preaching.  I went back to my books and the life I had before.

  Unfortunately, I was still unfulfilled.  I still wanted to experience the burning light of Jesus Christ and be lost in Him.  I had no idea how to do it.

  Then in 1998 I joined the ICOC.

  Most of you know this part of the story, but I'll summarize it as best as I can.

  ICOC toted itself as being radical disciples for Christ.  Again, it was a life devoted to studying the Bible.  Converting people.  And living a life where all the outward forms of legalism existed again.

  It was more subtle this time.  Less overt.  It was still the same shit, different pile.

  I condemn complete strangers to hell, but had pride in the fact that I belonged to the One True Church.

  We mastered proof texting.  We pulled and contorted our rubber Bibles in every way that we could to shame others, and exalt ourselves.

  We attended Church on Sundays AND Wednesdays, turning down family occasions, and work responsibilities for the sake of our religion.

  We openly rebuked family members for not being in our Church and told them they were going to hell.

  We had no will of our own.  Our minds and our lives were held hostage to the will of the Church leaders.  And we were glad for it.

  We had become soulless automatons, unable to see anything in our Bibles except what we were told to see.  If someone glimpsed a crack of truth, they were quickly broken by the leadership.

  I lived this way for 6 years.

  In 2004 after the cult had taken a deeply grievous wound due to a scathing letter from one of it's own leaders, exposing the travesty of its system and how unbiblical it was... 

  Well, I had become disillusioned.  It had become obvious how empty this religion also was.  I came to see and realize I had no true friends.  No one that genuinely loved me... All I had were ashes in my hand.

  My girlfriend, now my wife, and I left.

  For over 4 years I lived in anger and deep bitterness due to the resentment I felt towards the ICOC.  I had held such high hopes and great dreams.  I had been manipulated, and beaten spiritually and emotionally.  I had been deceived... again.

  I attended different Churches but after having been through ATI and ICOC, I could now easily see the facade for what it was.  It doesn't matter what title you give your Church or your Christian belief, at it's very root it remains the same...

  Man attempting to replace Jesus' completed work, for his own.

  Disdaining Church and it's systems, I walked away never to return.

  I began to recover, learning that the God of all Grace is far happier with me than I thought he was.  After having my daughter, I began to realize he loved me far more than I could have imagined.

  In fact, I began to discover than these decades search for Him was HIM showing me that he was always there.  Always leading me by the hand.  Always showing me who He truly was, by leading me through to see who he was NOT.

  You see, as I've said before in this blog, God doesn't care what you do in so much as trying to please him.

  When Israel did all the right things with their sacrifices and offerings, yet did not in the hearts love God by taking care of those less fortunate... When they were not gentle, and kind and care for others in the HEART.  This is what God says;

Jeremiah 6:20

What do I care about incense from Sheba
    or sweet calamus from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;
    your sacrifices do not please me.”

  Yes, this was from the Old Testament and we live in a new time... But the God who said this then, says the same thing today.  Paul says;

2 Timothy 3:1-7

1 Now this know, that in the last days perilous periods will be present,
2 for men will be selfish, fond of money, ostentatious, proud, calumniators, stubborn to parents, ungrateful, malign,
3 without natural affection, implacable, adversaries, uncontrollable, fierce, averse to the good,
4 traitors, rash, conceited, fond of their own gratification rather than fond of God;
5 having a form of devoutness, yet denying its power.
6 These, also, shun. For of these are those who are slipping into homes and are leading into captivity little women, heaped with sins, being led by various lusts and gratifications,
7 always learning and yet not at any time able to come into a realization of the truth.
8 Now, by the method by which Jannes and Jambres withstand Moses, thus these also are withstanding the truth, men of a depraved mind, disqualified as to the faith.
9 But they shall not be progressing more, for their folly shall be obvious to all, as that of those also became.

Nothing defined what I had been through with ATI better than those verses.

Yet Paul goes on to teach what we be instead of a life full of meaningless rules and regulations for what we should do.

10 Now you fully follow me in my teaching, motive, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
11 persecutions, sufferings...

What were Paul's teaching?  Motive? Purpose? Faith?  It is the gospel that he was given on that road to Damascus... the same one I preach on here.

Alas, I'm out of time.

Take care, and go with the Grace of God.

Travis Penner

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

For Cassidy

Tonight as I was watching my little get ready for bed and play with her magna doodle, I watched her for a few seconds and had a great deal of love and gratitude wash over me.  She has lived little more than 900 days already, and is so quickly changing.  She is learning to say new words and do new things.  She's so excited sometimes and yes, she can even be frustrating sometimes.  But the joy of being her father never ceases to fill me.  Even if it sometimes escapes me.

  I was thinking of all the things I would love to say to her as she grows up, and then I realized... Life is so fragile and fleeting that if something ever happened; God forbid.  Yet, if Jesus came back and I left her alone here... or if it tragedy struck and I was no longer here, what would I want her to know?

  And this is what I would say;

  Dear sweet Cassidy,

  I want to know that I bless you with every blessing a father can give his daughter.  I pray that you have the courage and boldness to reach for your dreams.  I also pray that you are deeply aware of the Father and his Eonian purpose.  I pray that even while you understand that He is largely in control of your life, that you never let that awareness prevent you from doing your best to make bold choices for yourself instead of letting life choose for you.

   I pray that you are deeply blessed, with excellent health the whole life through.  That you are never too wealthy that you lose sight of things that matter.  That you are never too poor that you become desperate and do something foolish.  Yet, while I pray for great things for you I know this life is not without suffering.  For that, I pray that you learn from each lesson and never curse God for these things.  I pray that you have a deep and abiding understanding that ultimately this life is but a pinprick in the vastness of the life to come.  That that understanding gives you the hope and expectation to bear through the pains of today.  I pray that those moments of suffering earns you a unmatched reward in the eons to come.

  Most of all.  I pray that you grow to be a gentle woman, and that life never succeeds in removing that from you.  You are fearless, and I pray that stays with you through adulthood and carries you through every challenge that comes you way.

  I pray that you love greatly, with compassion for all.  Ultimately, I pray that God gives you every spiritual blessing that only he can grant.  Love, Joy, Peace, Self Control, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...

  Love your dad,

Travis Penner

I'm sorry if I'm sounding maudlin, or morbid... But why leave something unsaid when life is so unexpected?

Legalism... Christian Poison

  In the early 90s my family was heavily involved with an organization known as ATIA.  Unfortunately, it's an extremely toxic and legalistic organization.  It certainly paved the way for my entry into the ICOC.  ATIA is a part of the IBLP group which Bill Gothard founded.  You may be more familiar with Duggars on TV who practice the lifestyle that ATIA teaches.

  Unfortunately, it's extremely patriarchal and self destructive.  In the way of the old pharisees of Jesus' time.  You don't have to take my word for it however.  If you go to this website;

  You will find stories and articles on the destruction that ATIA has wrought in other people's lives.

   I've recently had a few interchanges with a fellow named Tim.  Since I cannot directly correspond with him, this seems to be the only way to get my letter to him.  Feel free to read below.  I've written this letter out of a deep concern for some of the things Tim has said.  He too is a product of ATIA and seems intent on continuing the self destructive course.  One that I at one time was on myself.


Hi Tim,

   I don't know how long you've been in ATI, but alot of the things you say remind me of myself when I was younger and a total follower of Bill Gothard.

  I just wanted to talk to you as I see you making alot of the same mistakes I made when I was younger.  I too was bullied and felt a great deal of comfort from all the things Bill Gothard taught.  Unfortunately I didn't realize how much I was alienating other people by living this way.

  I came to these principles, standards, and way of living out of a genuine desire to please God and thinking it would make my life BETTER.  Instead, I became far more prideful and self righteous.  It made my life worse.  It also opened me up to be vulnerable to all sorts of religious nonsense.

  Matthew 23 is loaded with admonition from Jesus directed towards the religious.  Most important for the ATI man is this;

Matthew 23:23-28
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are taking tithes from the mint and the dill and the cumin, and leave the weightier matters of the law, judging and mercy and faith. Now these it was binding for you to do, and not leave those.
24 Blind guides! straining out a gnat, yet swallowing a camel!
25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are cleansing the outside of the cup and the plate, yet inside they are brimming with rapacity and incontinence.
26 Blind Pharisee! Cleanse first the inside of the cup and the plate, that their outside also may be becoming clean!
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are resembling the whitewashed sepulchers which outside, indeed, are appearing beautiful, yet inside they are crammed with the bones of the dead and all uncleanness.
28 Thus you, also, outside, indeed, are appearing to men to be just, yet inside you are distended with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

  ATI teaches you how to clean the outside of the cup but does nothing to improve the inside of it.  The miraculous thing is, if you attempt to clean the inside of a cup, the outside itself, as part of the process also becomes clean.  Unfortunately the reverse is not true.  You can easily clean the outside of a cup while leaving the inside full of dust, cobwebs and dirt.

  I remember becoming so obsessed with what sins I may be committing that I had neglected the more important things.  Love, Mercy, Peace, Joy, and all the fruits of the spirit Paul talks about.  THOSE are what clean the inside of the cup.  Not whether you've been watching Mr. Belvedere or South Park.

  I am convinced God cares very little about what you are watching on TV or listening to in your car.  He is much more concerned with what happens in your heart.

  Paul, who is our apostle has written also of this in Colossians 2:20-23

20 If, then, you died together with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as living in the world, are you subject to decrees:
21 "You should not be touching, nor yet tasting, nor yet coming into contact,"
22 (which things are all for corruption from use), in accord with the directions and teachings of men? --
23 which are (having, indeed, an expression of wisdom in a willful ritual and humility and asceticism) not of any value toward the surfeiting of the flesh.

  Bill Gothard's teachings are nothing new, even in Paul's time people were seeking to pervert the gospel of Grace by adding rules and regulations to it so that the great FREEDOM Christ has given us has been removed.

  Paul writes in Galatians 5:1

1 For freedom Christ frees us! Stand firm, then, and be not again enthralled with the yoke of slavery.

  Isn't that exciting?  In fact, if you read through all of Paul's letters and epistles his declaration of the grace of Christ continuously burst through them.  Yet he also warns, if you live by the law you fall out of grace (Galatians 5:4)

  Stop worrying about what "standard" you need to live by and simply learn to embrace life and live freely in Christ.  Christ himself will guide your conscience and your actions.

  If you continue to heap a burden of guilt on your conscience from all this legalism, you will ruin it(1 Tim 4:2 and Titus 1:15-16)  and eventually become a very, unhappy and unfulfilled person.  And God himself will have to judge you and fix you on the day of resurrection.

  I'm saying all this to spare you from great regret which will happen at some point when you realize how vain and futile this legalism is.  It is nothing more than the worship of one's own holiness, a great and terrible idol.  And a heavy weight to bear. :(

Travis Penner

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Taking a short break

I'm taking a short break today.  Right now I'm just studying E.W. Bullinger's book on "How to Enjoy the Bible" and Stephen Hill's Book on "Making the Most of the Bible: Lessons in Understanding God's Word".

I'm serious in my pursuit of deepning my understanding of how to read and understand more of the Bible than I have been traditionally taught.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Doing Awesome

Well that was a great weekend!

 I got to hang out with my daughter on Saturday afternoon while Jana showed the house to some people.  We had spent the morning cleaning the inside and the outside of the house to get ready for a busy weekend.  Then afterwards, I took my daughter and went across town in search of a Vietnamese sub.

  Got back home just in time to see my wife a little bit before she went off to work.  Cassidy has started to calm down and listen a little better now.  She's still experiencing growing pains so she gets emotional sometimes.  We had a blast playing outside in the sprinkler.

   Her favorite word lately seems to be poop.  She loves pointing out dog poop in the back yard for me to pick up, and alerting me to the fact the cat has pooped in it's litter box and I have to clean it out.  For some reason she enjoys watching me clean up poop.



  And yesterday we had a terrific turn out of people coming to see our open house.  I'm really hoping that we get an offer soon.  It would be great to get onto the MOVING stage of things.

  In the meantime, I had a friend come over last night and catch us up on things going on in her life.  We had a good discussion on the subject of Eldership and what Paul teaches on it.  I'm studying it and trying to make sense of it.  If I find something good, I will definitely post on this.

  At the moment, I have a great deal of reading and studying to do on my Bible.  I will definitely get to posting more insights as soon as I have something cohesive and interesting to write.

  Be well, and I hope you had a fantastic weekend yourself!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Talking off the cuff

  Lately, I've honestly no idea what to write about.

  It's not that my life is boring, at least not to me.  There's just nothing major to say.  Lately, it's been all about trying to sell the house.  Keep the house clean, take care of Cassidy and also to stay awake at work.

  Lately I've started to feel a little run down.  Probably the weather (It was in the 30s yesterday), and the stress of trying to sell the place.  We've gotten a few calls yesterday, from realtors and a few emails from other buyers.  Here's hoping it sells sometime soon.

  I read a book by EW Bullinger yesterday, it was quite illuminating.  It addresses the major arguments that people give about life after death.  As I've said before, when you die, you die.  You don't go to heaven, you don't float around earth in a disembodies state.  Nor do you suddenly go to hell or purgatory.  Anyways, without belaboring everything, this book really does a great job of addressing the questions that people usually ask when it comes to clarifying this scripturally.

   The book is called "The Rich Man and Lazarus" by EW. Bullinger It's a short but good read and less than 3 bucks on Kindle.

   I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Bullinger's stuff.  And one day when I have enough money - I might get the Companion Bible as well.  It seems to be quite a useful tool.  Fortunately, there's a web resource for it as well! God bless the internet!  It can be used for more than just porn!

  And thank God it's Friday.  I'm hoping a friend will come visit tonight.  Jana will be working, but Cass and I will be hanging out together as always.  I'll try and get on the bike and get some exercise.  As for the rest of the night... we'll see!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Be Always Seeking

  Last night I had my grandmother over.  She's gone for eye surgery for her eyes and needed a place to stay for the night in town.  So we had her over.  It's a little different having her around, but hopefully now she sees why we don't always run to answer our phones.

  I also went out with a friend last night for a few drinks and then came home to tuck my daughter into bed.  All in all a quiet night.  So far, no bites on our house listing.  Jana will be doing another open house this weekend though.

  Here's hoping it rains.

Test All Things

1 Thess 5:19-23
19 Quench not the spirit.
20 Scorn not prophecies.
21 Yet be testing all, retaining the ideal.
22 From everything wicked to the perception, abstain.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself be hallowing you wholly; and may your unimpaired spirit and soul and body be kept blameless in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ!

  As you know, this past few years I've been rummaging through the attic of my religious beliefs and clearing it out.  All the religious traditions and preconceptions.  Even today, I've had some things I always believe put to the test and discarded.

  Yesterday, someone posted something in one of my Facebook forums and another fellow and I challenged him on it.  Not to be confrontational, but to clarify and establish himself in a scripturally proven sense.

  One thing he said to me at the end bothered me, it amounted to "Stop expecting Scripture to give you answers.  Let go of seeking and just believe and seek other souls to save from hell."

  To which I replied, "The day you stop seeking the truth, is the day you become an agent of Satan's lies."

  I wholeheartedly believe that.  The day we stop learning, and searching in God's word for wisdom and knowledge is the day we have decided that we know everything and are prepared to invent our theology on the spot to answer any holes in our understanding.

  It is not enough to concoct philosophy and ideals to understand life.  Nor is it enough to rest on one's doctrines and follow the path of tradition.  We must be actively seeking and yearning to learn the truths that God wishes to teach us while we draw breath on this planet.  One's life will one day end and then we sleep until the wonderful resurrection   For now, it's time to work and learn to prepare ourselves for the celestial calling we have in Christ.

  Never let your spirit be quenched.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A bit of Internet Advice...

Morning folks,

   A little tired lately.  So far no bites on the house but as my wife points out, it hasn't been on the market that long.

  I've been busy trying to fix a relative's computer.  Word to the wise, if you have Norton Antivirus or any of the Norton Antivirus products... ditch em.  They're as useless as a fart in a windstorm.  Every single person I've dealt with who's had malware or virus issues typically has Norton on their computer.  Not saying that Norton is the CAUSE of their virus, but it certainly hasn't prevented them.

   The average user who installs Norton on their computer goes out balls to the wall on the internet downloading and clicking on just about anything that grabs their attention and thinks that "Well I've got Norton on my computer, so I should be safe"

  Not true.  OMG It pisses me off how much this happens.

  So, if you're one of those people, get rid of Norton and go and download Microsoft Security Essentials.  It's FREE and works far better than Norton.

  And while you're at it, this is what I use for preventing viruses and malware on my computer as well;

Spybot Search and Destroy,
EmsiSoft's Anti-Malware,
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware,

  If you're using those, you'll be fairly well protected.

  Of course, you CAN'T protect stupid so... learn to be catious on what you click on.  If it's enticing and sounds too good to be true (Hint: The chick on the flashy ad there promising to bang you tonight if you click on her, MIGHT not really be on the up and up.) (Another Hint: That email you just got promises you a blow job and $500,000 tonight if you buy their fantastic new antivirus software, is PROBABLY not on the up and up)(Final Hint: That email from a Nigerian Princess promising you a 1,001 hot nights of sex and a free plane ticket to her country with a Million dollars, if you just help her contact her aunt who works for the Royal Bank of Canada and needs your pin number... Is definitely not on the up and up)

  So folks, please... play it safe on the internet and that goes for real life too.  Don't click on things you shouldn't click on.

Travis Penner

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Monday

Well, the open house was a bit of a bust.  The weather has been extremely nice this weekend and even at the malls, traffic was low.  Alot of people are out camping and enjoying the outdoors I imagine.  We did have one person come by and tour the house.  We'll try again next weekend for an Open House.  Hopefully we'll have more people come out this week... We'll just wait and see.

   I'm taking a bit of a break on writing about theology as I need to spend some more time reading my Bible.  I have lots of thoughts and lots to say, but I don't want to just be talking out of my ass.

  Anyways, today I have a migraine so I imagine there's some rough weather brewing.  In addition to that, my daughter wore me out yesterday.  I'm not sure if she's sick or what but she was off the wall crazy and not listening at all too well.  Jana says she's pale today and possibly sick.  Poor kid.

Poor parents.


Anyways, I hope you all are well.  I'm just going to take it easy with this migraine.


Thursday, August 8, 2013


Awesome, awesome news.  Our house is finally up on the market.  The MLS is listing it and hopefully it won't be long until it's sold.  We'll see how things go.

 With all that finished, I got to spend an evening with my daughter just going to the park and relaxing and spending time together.  She needed it, and I needed it too.  With the last 2.5 weeks we'd been focused on getting the house ready for sale, I'm afraid our daughter felt a little neglected.


  So this morning I ran across this ridiculous video someone posted on facebook about the Eons.  Now, I believe in the Eonian purposes of God.  However this guy added reincarnation and the traditional mythology of Satan into it.  It became completely ridiculous and unwatchable for me after that.

  I did a little googling around and I discovered there are actually books devoted to "Christian Reincarnation".  That boggles my mind.  Not only does Hebrews 9:27 state that a man is to die once, but the recurring theme of most religions is to deny the mortality of the soul.  It amazes me what length humanity goes to believe in the immortality of the soul.

  In case you're not so sure, here are some scriptures off the top of my head;

Hebrews 9:27 And, in as much as it is reserved to the men to be dying once, yet after this a judging,

Ecclesiastes 9:5 ... the dead know nothing...

And read all of 1 Corinthians 15.

Why on earth would God condemn us to live lives in this wicked eon, over and over? What a hellish fate, one life is good enough for me in this Eon!  I want to move onto the greater one to come.  Not be subjected to this futility over and over again.

  Anyways, I don't have as much time today, I'll try and get onto more substantial writing to come.  Be well, and pray for the sale of our house!! I do hope it's done quickly.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nearing the Finish Line

  Well, we've nearly got the house listed.  We got the photos taken last night, and are planning an open house this Saturday.  The roof is on, everything that needed tweaking, fixing and cleaning has been done.  Things have been decluttered and the house is in better shape than it has been in YEARS.

  I'm hoping it sells quickly and we take away a decent profit.  It's in God's hands now, as it always was, and we'll see what happens next.

  I don't have a whole lot of time today so I just wanted to share a verse than came to me this morning.

John 1:12-13
12 Yet whoever obtained Him, to them He gives the right to become children of God, to those who are believing in His name,
13 who were begotten, not of bloods, neither of the will of the flesh, neither of the will of a man, but of God.

  The Bible makes it very clear that God's will is ALWAYS done.  Man's will is not free, nor is it sovreign.  Religious people frequently talk about when they chose to become a Christian, or a disciple, or whatever term they call themselves.  True believers in Christ know that it was not they who chose God, but God who chose them.  Even our faith is not ours but given to use by God.

  This is what it means to be begotten of God.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The extra long weekend

   I'm back at work today but am absolutely beat, fried and sizzled.  I literally spent all the long weekend working on the house and dealing with my daughter who seems to be at her worst possible behavior right now.

   I don't know if it's the stress of the move and all the changes going on around her, growing pains, lack of sleep, or what it is, but she is the most aggravating person to deal with right now.  Someone took my nice sweet easy going child and replaced her with this demon possessed creature.  She has had more discipline in the last 3 weeks than in the 2 years we have had her put together.  If she got paid for her time outs, she'd get a nice cheque cut by now.

  So aside from that...  Our house looks pretty spectacular now.  We haven't had it look this clean, tidy and put in place in years.  So much has been packed away in our storage and even taken over to my grandmother's storage.  Once the house sells we'll review all our crap and decide what we want to sell.  There is simply just too much STUFF.

   All that being said, I'm much too burned out to write much more than this right now.  Hopefully a day away from my house and my daughter, I'll have something of more substance to write tomorrow.  In the meantime, I just hope the house sells quickly.  Sigh.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Come to the Table Conclusion

Come to the Table Conclusion

  Yesterday I wrote about the origin of the "Lord's Supper" and we went through some passages where Christians commonly refer to in regards to communion.  Now I'm going to go through references that Paul had written on in regards to communion.

1 Cor 10:16-17
16 The cup of blessing which we are blessing, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we are breaking, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17 For we, who are many, are one bread, one body, for we all are partaking of the one bread.

  At first glance it seems like Paul is talking about taking communion as we traditionally do in the Church, however, if we step back and read 1 Corinthians 10 as a whole (you can do this on your own) he's actually talking about idolatry that was going on in the ecclesia in the city of Corinth.

   Paul frequently writes about idolatry, which is prevalent in the Christianity today, yet not obvious to us all.  When he writes regarding the cup and bread and in reference to communion, he's doing so in a way that is not dissimilar to how Jesus spoke of it.  We who are the body of Christ LIVE in constant communion with Christ, WE are the bread, WE are the body, and thus we are in communion with one another and with Christ.

   Thus 1 Corinthians 10 is a warning against idolatry and how it is impossible to be in communion with the body of Christ while at the same time believing and being in communion with the doctrine of demons (religion).

  Then in 1 Corinthians 11:20-34

20 Then, at your coming together in the same place, it is not to be eating the Lord's dinner,
21 for each one is getting his own dinner before in the eating, and one, indeed, is hungry, yet one is drunk.
22 For have you no homes at all in which to eat and drink? Or are you despising the ecclesia of God, and mortifying those who have nothing? What may I be saying to you? Shall I be applauding you in this? I am not applauding.
23 For I accepted from the Lord, what I give over also to you, that the Lord Jesus, in the night in which He was given up, took bread,
24 and giving thanks, breaks it and said, "This is My body, broken for your sakes. This do for a recollection of Me."
25 Similarly, the cup also, after dining, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you are drinking, for a recollection of Me."
26 For as often as you are eating this bread and drinking this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until He should be coming.
27 So that, whoever should be eating the bread or drinking the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be liable for the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 Now let a man test himself first, and thus let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who is eating and drinking unworthily is eating and drinking judgment to himself, not discriminating the body of the Lord.
30 Therefore many among you are infirm and ailing, and a considerable number are reposing.
31 For if we adjudicated ourselves, we would not be judged.
32 Yet, being judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 So that, my brethren, when coming together to eat, be waiting for one another.
34 Now if anyone may be hungry, let him eat at home, that you may not be coming together for judgment. Now the rest I shall be prescribing as soon as I should be coming.

  Typically the ecclesia would meet in each other's homes and fellowship.  During which they would have what we would call today a "potluck" and in that way they had the "Lord's supper" together.  What Paul is admonishing against in this passage is against things that destroyed the communion of believers being together.

  Some who were rich were bringing food that they were not sharing.  Some were coming and gorging themselves on the food there.  Some where drunkards and drinking to excess.  In this way, their gathering together was no different than any revelry the pagans did.  Instead, he was teaching them to be orderly, sharing with one another and enjoying the communion or fellowship in a manner befitting a believer.

  Remember, there were no special buildings at the time Paul wrote this, for fellowship.  There was no "Church" or "Sanctuary" where they preformed what is now the rite of "communion" that various Christian denominations preform.  They often met in houses together and took the "Lord's Supper", so it would make no sense to say in verse 34 let him eat at home, unless he's referring to someone eating in a way that is different to the "Lord's supper" which is simply a meal taken together with the Body of Christ believers.

  IE. Gorging oneself on food, or eating a special meal selfishly without sharing it with others.

  At least this is what I understand of this.  If you have another view, feel free to write me on this.  I am definitely interested in hearing what others have to say.

   In any event, I cannot believe that the present day tradition of "communion" is at all what Paul is teaching in these passages.  

With all love and Peace,