Thursday, March 31, 2011

Speaking in Michigan

This weekend we are on the road again, and this time it's Michigan. During a live broadcast last night I promised I would post the dates, times and venues, and I've already received a couple e-mails that I hadn't done it yet. Being a man of my word, here is where I will be speaking in Michigan:

Friday April 1, 2011 Evening 7:00 PM EST
New Beginnings Family Church
1066 Saginaw St.
Lapeer, MI
Phone: 920-206-9910

Saturday April 2, 2011 Time 7:00pm
New Testament Church
13615 Ten Mile Rd. North East
Greenville, MI 48838
Phone: 920-206-9910

Sunday April 3, 2011 6:00 PM EST
Bethel Christian Fellowship
515 West Lincoln St.
Reed City, MI 49677

Hope to see you there.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Principles of Judging Part 3

Since we’ve already covered the scriptures that both encourage and discourage, allow and disallow us as believers to judge, today I wanted to go a little deeper, and discover by way of God’s word what the principles of judging are, who has the authority to judge, when it is that we are allowed and even commanded to judge, and when we ought to keep silent.

Matthew 7:2, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

There is something about judging others that is appealing to human nature. Somehow, we always find a good and justifiable reason to judge all around us, but when the tables turn and someone begins to judge us, our actions, our conduct, our speech it is always unjustifiable, at least from our perspective.

‘How dare they attempt to judge me, only God can judge me,’ is the cry of many who have made it a hobby or even a full time job to judge one and all regardless of whether they are in ministry or not, whether they deserve to be judged or not, or even whether they are alive or not. It is easy to paint a target on someone else’s back; it is easy to revel in the minutia of their life from the moment of their birth, then imperiously pass judgment, gavel in hand. When we however are the ones being targeted, when we are the ones having our lives dissected to the molecular level in the hopes of having something, anything, even an insignificant and trivial detail magnified about ourselves then it’s not so easy.

Now I’m not talking about false doctrine here, or evident sin in someone’s life, but rather about judging another through the prism of our own preconceived notion on any given matter. Often times we are so self-righteous that if someone disagrees with us on even the most negligible of subjects, then they are heretics, forsaken of God and sovereignty, deceived beyond reason, and headed to the deepest pit of hell.

‘He wore bellbottom jeans in the seventies, and of course this means that he succumbed to the temptations of the world, having a divided heart, because we all know no saint would ever wear bellbottoms.’

Well, maybe they were a gift, maybe they were on sale, or maybe they were worth the dollar the person paid for them at the Goodwill store. It’s when we make assumptions concerning another individual based on a tenuous and trivial detail of their life that we must remember that we will be judged with the same judgment we judge, and the same measure we use will be measured back to us.

So if you’ve brutally and mercilessly attacked and judged another for wearing bellbottoms, don’t be surprised that someone is judging you for your pink hair, telling all who would hear that you are in rebellion, even though the color is unintentional, and all that really happened is that you left the solution in there a few minutes too long.

Even though it is often that God, either through His word, or personal revelation attempts to show us that we are no better than our brother, that it is in His grace that we stand and not our own self-righteousness, we still manage to come up with a reason, an excuse, a justification for continuing to judge others without mercy.

We must understand that there are principles of judging, that were established long before you or I breathed our first breath. God created the universe, and the principles that govern it, and when it comes to the principles of judging He tethered it to yet another principle, the principle of leadership.

Throughout the Old Testament we see that the kings also had the authority not only to judge, but also to pass sentence. Even during the time of the judges, the right to judge was also reserved for the king. In other words, where one has the responsibility of ruling or governing, he must also bear the responsibility of judging.

Biblically speaking, the best definition of judging that I can find is the ability and authority to pass sentence. When we judge, we are not merely presenting evidence, we are not merely presenting the facts, but we go beyond it, and actually pass sentence on the individuals we are judging.

‘Oh him, yeah he’s going to hell, no way around it. Oh her, she’s a heretic, a deceiver, the devil’s pet.’

These are words I’ve heard used by fellow believers when judging others. Not merely presenting evidence, not merely making a case for why someone is unorthodox, or doctrinally flawed but going that extra step and passing sentence.

There is One who has the authority to pass sentence, there is one who has the authority to judge the hearts of men, and that is God alone.

1 Peter 1:17-20, “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, for your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Too often we dismiss or choose to downplay the reality that God alone, without partiality, judges each one’s work, and take it upon ourselves to usurp His authority. Judgment begins in the house of God, it begins with you and me, and it is God who will do the judging. In His righteousness God will judge without partiality, He will not take into account that we have a pastoral diploma, or that we preached, or that we gave, that we know people or we’re on the elder board. God will judge in righteousness, and He will not be swayed.

From the Father, the authority to judge was also passed down to the Son.

John 5:22-23, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

As a side note, I want to point out two crucial things. First off, beware of any doctrine that somehow attempts to nullify the deity of Christ, or somehow minimize His godhood. Second of all, he who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Why is this relevant? Because there is a wave of aberrant teaching making its way through many churches, wherein Jesus is no longer relevant, or regarded as something less than who He is. Just remember, if you do not honor the Son, you do not honor the Father who sent Him.

Next on the list of authority to judge are the words of Christ.

John 12:48, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”

As we continue to descend the ladder of authority, and see who is able to judge, next on the list are the elders of the church. Now I know the notion of submitting to authority is less and less popular nowadays, I know that more and more people are rejecting the idea of having a spiritual authority and choose to wing it, but the Word is the Word, so even at the risk of offending some of you, yes God has given authority to the spiritual elders of His body.

1 Timothy 5:20, “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.”

Titus 2:15, “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

Both Timothy and Titus were called, and ordained of God to be leaders of the church, and as such God gave them the authority to rebuke those who are sinning, with all authority, and let no one despise them.

What we need to be praying for today is that God appoint men after His own heart rather than for us to take it upon ourselves to appoint men after our own hearts. The season is upon us wherein those unwilling to submit to authority gravitate toward teachers, elders and pastors of their choosing, men who will not rebuke, men who will not exhort, but rather men who will coddle sin, and look the other way. Because such men are prevalent, because those willing to compromise the Word of God are multiplying in numbers, there is a backlash against truth, there is a backlash against the fundamentals of the faith, and with each passing day the darkness grows and intensifies.

Last but not least, God has established an order of authority in the family as well. From the father as the head, to the mother, the order is firmly established and undeniable.

We can debate, we can ask why, we can think to ourselves that this order of authority is unfair, but in the end God established this order, and if we are obedient children then we must adhere to it.

We must surrender the illusion that we know better than God, and simply submit to His wisdom and authority.

We have only begun our journey, and in subsequent posts we will delve deeper into the principles of judging from a biblical perspective and see how they apply to us.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Belated Thanks

I'll be the first to admit I am what some might refer to as technologically challenged. Personally I would even go so far as to say I am technologically retarded, but political correctness being what it is, I'll just stick with challenged. I don't tweet, I don't have an e-reader, I've never owned a blue tooth device, and just to get a clue of how antiquated I am, I just recently figured out how to figure out who's been linking to my web log.
And so, a belated thank you to all the websites that have linked to my articles and essays, and who've helped get the message out in greater measure than I would have ever imagined.
The websites whom I would like to personally thank, in no particular order, for linking to me are:

Again, thank you all, and may God bless you in all things. As soon as I shake off the jetlag, we will return to the series entitled 'Principles of Judging' no, I haven't forgotten about it, but recent events demanded that I put it on the back burner for awhile.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fed Up With the Foolishness

So a guy with too much free time on his hands took a three minute song by John Lennon and spun it into an entire book. All you really have to do is imagine there’s no heaven, imagine there’s no hell, imagine there’s no consequence, imagine that God is a liar and that Jesus merely aimed to scare us when discussing hell never really believing it is a real place, and you get the gist of what has been causing an uproar of controversy within Christendom recently.

I don’t know maybe I’m getting a little brittle with age, maybe my capacity to suffer fools is dwindling with time, but I’m just fed up with all the foolishness. We are such a rebellious generation, we are such stiff-necked and proud people that we will readily flock to anyone who will offer an alternative to Gospel truth.

If God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, then reason would dictate that His notion of justice is likewise different than our notion of justice. It is when creation attempts to usurp the authority of the Creator, when we think ourselves wiser than He who made us from the dust of the earth that we arrogantly assume we can dictate terms, and bend God to our will.

The simple truth, the painful truth, the honest truth, is that we have declared our independence from God, we are emancipated, and as such we feel we have the moral authority to make up the rules as we go along. We stand in the buffet line of spiritual dogma, doctrine, and personal interpretation, pick and choose at our discretion those morsels we like, and what we have at the end of it all is something that is palatable to the flesh, and something we created all on our own.

Our pride and our arrogance will not allow us to accept that some things are beyond our understanding, that there are mysteries greater than ourselves in the universe, and so we feel the overwhelming need to tinker, to fit grand and infinitely complex notions into tiny boxes. It’s like giving a monkey a hammer and letting it run loose in a china shop, no good can come of it.

‘But brother Mike, aren’t we supposed to ask questions?’ Yes, ask as many questions as you would like but be prepared to receive answers you were either not expecting or that are not to your liking. Often times, be prepared to receive no answer at all, and allow for the mystery of the unknown.

This man of whom I speak, this man that has caused so much debate within Christendom is quick to say that Jesus can handle the controversy. True, Jesus can handle controversy, but this is a manufactured controversy and Jesus already made His feelings on the topic of hell crystal clear.

Luke 16:19-26, “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day, but there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus at his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented, and besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”

These were the words of Jesus. Jesus spoke of hell, he spoke of the great gulf, the separation between those in Abraham’s bosom and those in Hades, as well as the fact that those who want to pass between these two plains cannot.

There is no controversy here, just the ramblings of a man unwilling to accept that there is a narrow gate through which we must agonize to walk, that there is a narrow path upon which few find themselves, and that there is a wide path that leads to destruction upon which most of the world is currently walking.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hyperbole It Is Not!

Luke 21:25-26, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.”

There are certain passages in scripture that a great many souls assume are merely exaggerated for effect. They skim through the Word, happen upon something their physical mind cannot compute, comprehend or come to terms with and with a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders go on to the next passage, hopefully the one about all having sinned and fallen short, or the other one about not judging lest you likewise be judged. Without a second thought or a hint of desire to peer deeper, to press in and go beyond the surface of words written upon a page many have lost the will, desire or motivation to take a second and meditate on a difficult to understand scripture.

If it is not readily understood during the first read-through, then it’s either symbolic, hyperbolic, or beyond the scope of human understanding.

Especially within the context of the end times, and the prophecies contained in the Bible concerning this most turbulent season, too few today take the Word of God at face value, believe it as it is written, prepare their hearts, cement their relationships with the heavenly Father, and possess the certitude that come what may they are safe under the shadow of His wings. It’s allot less taxing to shrug our shoulders, or roll our eyes and think to ourselves that such things couldn’t really happen in our day and age, than to fall to our knees in repentance, to mature in our faith, and to know the peace that can only be found in an intimate relationship with Christ.

Unless you’ve been totally removed from all the trappings of our modern era this past week it is inevitable that either tangentially or in great depth you’ve heard about what is happening in Japan. It would seem the earthquake was just the beginning of a chain reaction that has as yet not abated. Each time I check the news, something new is happening, more worrisome than the previous update, from the tsunami, to the first nuclear reactor fire, then the second, and so on.

If you’ve ever wondered whether the words of Jesus in the gospel according to Luke were exaggeration or hyperbole, recent events ought to crystalize the reality that they are not.

Jesus was never one to exaggerate, He was never one to make a mountain out of a molehill as the saying goes, and if Jesus said that men’s hearts will be failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming upon the earth, then it will most assuredly come to pass.

Other than praying for the people of Japan, there is one thing we as individuals who have not been directly affected by these disasters must take away from all this. Prepared as we might be, or think ourselves to be for any eventuality, for any calamity, for any cataclysm or natural disaster, there will come a point wherein if we trust in our preparedness and not God, our hearts will likewise fail us for fear.

There is nothing wrong in being prepared. There is nothing wrong in having some food, water, and medical supplies set aside for any eventuality, but if these things which we’ve amassed become a crutch, if we think we can replace true faith in God with a bomb shelter and some ready to eat meals, then we are deceiving ourselves, and are in the words of Paul the Apostle ‘of all men most pitiable.’

I wish I could say we’ve seen the worst of it, but you and I both know this is just the beginning. We must for the sake of our sanity, do away with the ‘it could never happen here, it could never happen to us’ mentality, because if God is anything He is righteous and just, and this just and righteous God judges without partiality.

It is time to cut away any and all things that weigh us down, that impede our progress, and that hinder our walk, it is time to gird up the loins of our minds, to be sober and vigilant and walk with confidence the narrow path of faith, because God will no longer terry, and what has been happening throughout the world in recent weeks is proof positive of this.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Probable Improbabilities

As little as two years ago it seemed we had ascended to the heights of utopia. After generations of ignorance, and intolerance, after generations of clinging to God rather than believing that we are ourselves the makers of our destiny thereby little gods ourselves, we finally saw the light, and exited the darkened tunnel of subservience to Sovereignty into the bright sunny tomorrow of our own making. As none others before us had, at least in our own estimation, we had scaled to the peak of our glorious tomorrow, squarely planted out flag, grasped the brass ring, and witnessed with our own tear filled eyes not only the zenith of acceptance, understanding and all-inclusiveness, but that we managed to transcend it with seemingly little effort.

We were one, united in purpose, blinded by the light of tomorrow’s bright possibilities, and if anyone dared mention the notion of civil unrest, or class warfare in this nation back then, they would have been labeled disturbed and summarily institutionalized for further testing and observation.

Two years later, the landscape is very different indeed, and what was deemed improbable seems all the more probable with each passing day. The illusion is crumbling, and the mask of civility and brotherhood, is slipping off inch by inch to reveal the ugly truth that lies beneath. Common sense is becoming less common, and reason has been abandoned along with the hope that our children will have a better and more prosperous life than our own.

Having become a nation of up to the minute news, and headline readers, we see pieces of the puzzle but fail to take the time to see what all these pieces are forming right before our very eyes. For now protesters descending on the capitol of any given state are isolated incidents, but soon they will be common place, even daily occurrences, that will only grow in intensity and vitriol.

“It will begin with an internal revolution” these are words I repeated often enough in the ten years I was my grandfather’s translator. Every time he gave his testimony, and shared the vision God gave him for America, this is how it started, “it will begin with an internal revolution.”

One thing he did not share as often, but is common knowledge nevertheless because he shared it with family, friends, and those he spent any considerable amount of time with is that before the civil unrest would begin in America, our homeland, the nation of Romania would have yet another revolution to contend with.

In the twenty one years since the last revolution in Romania the people have never been as angry, despondent and given to violent rhetoric as they are now. Some are already calling for the overthrow of the present government, there is already talk of revolution, and union leaders who have the ear of tens of thousands of individuals continue to stoke the fires encouraging their people to march in the streets, and let nothing stand in their way.

The path this ministry has walked since its inception some twenty seven years ago has been a long and lonely one. We have been attacked, maligned, abused, and not by those of the world but must often by those who call themselves brothers. It has not been easy, and I along with my family have thought about quitting more times than I can count, but in the end it is long term, consistent and perpetual obedience that God rewards, and it is our desire to please the Father that has kept us faithful all these years.

Even now, it is not a message that many want to hear, even now they shake their heads and say ‘improbable, impossible, not here, not us’, yet all that we see happening in the world heralds the coming of the dark days which God foretold.

I write this article with a heavy heart because recent events in the world reveal that the season of sorrow is closer than I first thought it to be, and the church is nowhere ready for what is about to descend upon it. If we have eyes to see, and ears to hear, it is undeniable that the harbingers of what is to come are all around us, and all we can do in times such as these is pray for strength, pray for boldness, pray for peace, and pray for endurance.

Revelation 3:21, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why You Ought Not Fear

Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Although we were in the middle of a series on the principles of judging, recent events coupled with recent correspondence have compelled me to write this short post and hopefully set some things aright. We will return to the series on judging shortly, since I believe it is a worthwhile and timely topic, but today I just wanted to tell you why I am not afraid of all that is happening in the world, and why you ought not fear either.

It seems that with every uptick in global conflict or uncertainty the volumes of e-mails I get grow exponentially. Although they differ in wording, most of the correspondence I’ve been receiving lately have one common thread running through them, a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind, namely where they ought to go, and what they ought to do seeing the dark days of which God foretold over two decades ago swiftly approaching.

Now there is one thing that I need to make perfectly clear, God doesn’t reveal some future event simply for the sake of revealing it, but once He has revealed it to His children He has already prepared their deliverance and provision in it and through it. It would be both cruel and unloving if all God did was tell us what was about to unfold, then leave us to muddle through like the rest of the world. All we would really have is foreknowledge of tragedy, of judgment, of destruction, which would inevitably sadden our hearts and not much else. The reason God chooses to reveal the future to His children, is that His children might draw closer to Him so that when those things of which He foretold come to pass they might find themselves under the shadow of His wing, having established an intimacy with Him wherein they would hear and know His voice guiding them.

God judges and punishes sin! God judges and punishes rebellion! God judges and punishes disobedience! God does not judge and punish those who have already judged themselves; He merely chastens them that they might not be condemned with the world. If we walk humbly with our Lord, in obedience of His will, in repentance and meekness, then we ought not to fear.

It is Jesus that encouraged us to look up and lift up our heads when we see these things begin to happen, secure and steadfast in the knowledge that our redemption likewise draws near.

Jesus did not tell us to grow fearful, He did not tell us to flee, nor did He tell us to run and hide when we saw these things begin to happen, He told us to look up and lift our heads knowing that the God who created the universe, the God who breathed life into a lump of clay, the God who demonstrated His love for us on Calvary has already prepared our redemption and it draws near.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Principles of Judging Part 2

Now that we’ve covered some of the passages that prohibit or discourage judging, it’s only fair that we search the scriptures to see if there are times or instances wherein we are allowed, and even encouraged to judge. The more I meditate on the topic of judging the more nuanced and intriguing the topic becomes and what was to be a short post on the matter seems to be turning into an entire series.

I want to begin with a scripture not attributed to Paul, or some Old Testament figure, but rather to Christ Jesus himself. There are those who seem to have an ongoing problem with Paul the Apostle of Christ nowadays. Some consider that he was too much of a misogynist, that he had a problem with the sisters and so prohibited them from leadership in the churches; others think he was too legalistic, while on the other side of the spectrum he is considered too grace oriented. Personally I believe that if we don’t like what someone has to say, we will diligently seek out something to besmirch their reputation with thereby justifying our dismissal of their position. This however, is not a study on the veracity of Paul as a true Apostle of Christ, or whether or not the Pauline epistles ought to have been included in the scriptures, because I’ve already made my position clear and I think it is a divisive issue that has already been decided by sovereignty itself. This is a study on judging, and the principles of judging, and so we will proceed with the passages that encourage us to judge.

John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

1 Corinthians 5:1-5, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles-that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, concerning him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves that wicked person.’”

Now before continuing with the scripture passages encouraging us to judge, I wanted to point out something important in the previous verses. It is one of those passages that is often misinterpreted, and because it is misinterpreted we have the tendency to close ourselves off, to become isolated and do nothing to affect the dying world beyond our front door. The verse tells us not to keep company with anyone named a brother who is a fornicator, covetous, an idolater and so on. The key to this passage are the three little words ‘named a brother’. God does not expect us to run off into the hills, He does not expect us to isolate ourselves that we not keep company with those of the world, but He does expect us not to keep company with anyone named a brother that still practices the works of darkness. The Word even goes so far as to warn us not even to eat with such a person.

Hypocrisy is not only vile and abhorrent, it is something God hates with the burning passion of a thousand suns. If someone is calling themselves a brother, yet is still a fornicator, is still covetous is still an idolater, is still a reviler a drunkard or an extortioner, then that person is a hypocrite who will only bring shame to the house of God, who will only cause those of the world to shake their heads at the hypocrisy on display and associate all believers everywhere with that one individual who is a brother in name only yet whose actions betray the darkness of his heart. It is because of this association with those who are brothers in name only, it is because of this generalization and the subsequent rejection of Christ by those of the world due to the actions of those who ought to be His ambassadors that there must be discipline within the house of God, that we might be above reproach and perpetually point the way to Jesus in truth and righteousness of heart.

Matthew 18:15-17, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

So here we are, having covered scripture that forbids us from judging, as well as scripture encourages us to judge, and the question that must be asked is how do we resolve this apparent contradiction of scripture? Are we allowed to judge, or are we not allowed to judge?

Over the next few posts I hope to answer these questions, as well as get into the details of when and how we are to judge scripturally.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.