Holding Fast to the Head

“…holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”
Colossians 2:19 NKJV

The Church, according to Scripture, is the “Body of Christ.” As such, it is essential that the Church have a healthy connection with its Head.  Every human being knows how essential the connection between body and head is.  We also know how debilitated the body becomes when a spinal injury cuts off the impulses of the head to the body and the body to the head.  Even though the head is still physically attached, when the internal communication between the head and the body is cut off, paralysis ensues.  Both the external and the internal aspects of the connection between the body and the head are essential for normal, healthy, body life and function.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:13 NAS)

Our baptism by the Spirit into the Body of Christ joins us to the Head in a spiritually “external” way, while our receiving (drinking) of the indwelling Spirit joins us to the Head in a spiritually “internal” way.  The “external” connection is an initial act of the Spirit that is maintained by God, while the “internal” connection is an ongoing work of the Spirit that is maintained by the believer in cooperation with and dependence upon God.  Just as in the natural, both the spiritually “external” and “internal” aspects are essential for normal, healthy, Body life and function.  When both of these aspects are as they should be, every member becomes a living expression, inwardly and outwardly, of the Headship of Christ according to their unique gifting and calling within the Body.

These external and internal realities are true not only for individual believers, but also for the collective Body of believers.  The Body of Christ is a collective, and when it assembles, it must do so with a connection to its Head according to the same principles as that of the individual.  The foundation of this is the accomplished, “external” work of the Spirit in baptizing all members into the one Body.  If the church is to have a fully functioning connection with its Head, however, it must also maintain the internal aspect of this connection through the indwelling Spirit.  Each member is responsible for supplying their measure of this internal connection with the Head to the Body, and they will, accordingly, either add to the healthiness of the church or detract from it.  Wherever that inward connection between the Head and the member is maintained, spiritual vitality and functionality are increased within the Body.  Wherever the inward connection between the Head and the member is not maintained, spiritual lifelessness and paralysis are increased within in the Body.  Each member, therefore, brings either life and functionality or deadness and paralysis to the Body depending on the state of their inward connection to the Head through the indwelling Spirit.

When the Body of Christ assembles, then, it must do so “holding fast to the Head” both outwardly and inwardly.  Outwardly it must hold fast to the Headship of Christ as to its external manifestation among the assembled Body.  In order for this to be facilitated, any outward aspect of its gathering that has the potential to substitute for or supplant the Headship of Christ must be let go of, or at very most, held lightly.  All persons, programs, protocols, traditions, liturgies, plans, and preparations that the Body is “holding fast to” must be relinquished and submitted to the sovereign Headship of Christ.  Only then can the Body be free to assemble simply “holding fast to the Head” in all things related to the external manifestation of Christ in their gathering through the Spirit.  This is the first aspect that must be collectively embraced.

In addition to this, the Body must also assemble “holding fast to the Head” inwardly through its vital connection with the Holy Spirit.  Scripture says, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor.2:11 NIV)  It is the Holy Spirit who takes the things of Christ, the Head, and makes them known to us. (see John 16:14-15)  When the Body comes together, then, whatever each member may be “holding fast to” inwardly that is not of the Holy Spirit, must be let go of, or at very most, held lightly.  All preconceived ideas, expectations, plans, preparations, and the like must be relinquished and submitted to Christ’s sovereign Headship.  Only then can each person be free to simply “hold fast to the Head” inwardly and thus be able to receive from the Spirit that which He desires to reveal, impart, and work in and through them.  This is especially important for those who serve as leaders and/or in “ministry” as these have a greater influence in either fostering and facilitating the Headship of Christ or in hindering and hampering it.  Every member, however, is responsible for supplying their measure of Jesus Christ to the Body through the manifest working of the Holy Spirit.  The Body will be filled with life and functionality as every member is found “holding fast to the Head” inwardly.  This is the second aspect that must be collectively embraced.

As simple in principle as these two aspects may be, in reality they do not come simply to an assembly of believers.  There are many obstacles, both within and without, that will make their actualization a struggle.  Only where there is a clear understanding, a passionate pursuit, and a persistent “practicing” of their realities can there be an expectation of them being embodied within a people.  Apart from the Headship of Christ being regularly apprehended and entered into in this way, however, there can be no normal, healthy, functioning of the Body of Christ.

When the Church comes together, it invariable does so “holding fast to…something.”  The critical question that must be asked then is, “Is that something the one thing that the Body needs more than anything else: its Head, or is it something else?”  For most of church history, and throughout most of the world, the answer has tragically been “something else!”  In this last day, throughout the world, however, God is raising up a people who will have a different answer!  They will be able to humbly say, “By God’s grace, we are holding fast to THE HEAD, the Lord Jesus Christ!”

May we, by God’s grace, be found among them!


Recommended resources:

JESUS NOW (“Taste Test”) – by Frank Viola (free PDF ebook)

The Church Gathering Simply in the Name of Christ and Under His Headship – A Historical Account by C.H. Mackintosh

PRINCIPLES Book (Complete – PDF, mp3 and more)

The Headship of Christ In the Gathering of the Church

Posted in Christ-Centered Gatherings, Christ-Centered Restoration, End-time remnant, The Ekklesia, The Headship of Christ | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Acceleration and the Overcoming Church

 Whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River, Maine, with my son (front) – 2001

If you were to describe the times in which we live in just one word, what would it be?  There are a few words that might sum it up quite well, but one that particularly comes to mind for me is the word “acceleration”.  We are living in a time of mind-boggling change in almost every aspect of human life, and this is increasing at an exponential rate.  I believe we are living in an era that may rightly be called “The Great Acceleration.”

One metric of this acceleration has been put forth by R. Buckminster Fuller.  In 1983 he calculated that the totality of human knowledge doubles over time according to an exponential curve.  He estimated that around 1900, knowledge was doubling approximately every century.  By the end of WWII, it was doubling in 25 years, and now it is doubling approximately every 12 months.  It is soon predicted to double every 12 hours.  When that happens, the increase in knowledge during the first half of any given day will be equal to the totality of all of human knowledge prior to that day.  By the end of the second half of that day, that doubled amount of knowledge will in turn double again.  (Double. Double. Repeat.)  That’s enough to give even a supercomputer a migraine! 😦

Another perspective of this dynamic of acceleration predicts that technological advances will increase at such an ever-accelerating pace that they will lead to a “technological singularity” sometime within the next thirty years.  Ray Kurzweil says that technological “paradigm shifts will become increasingly common, leading to technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.”  Even Kurzweil’s predictions as to when we will reach this “Singularity” have recently accelerated, from 2045 to 2029, a mere twelve years from now.  (For a hint of what this may look like, check out the trailer to his docudrama: The Singularity is Near .)  Given the staggering advances in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing (D-Wave), DNA computing, nanotechnology, genetic engineering (CRISPR), 3D bioprinting, transhumanism,  robotics, global 5G network , the Internet of Things (IoT), the Global Brain, and the like, it is not hard to conceive of such a Singularity being reached within our lifetime.  (Check out some of those links for a “crash course” on significant aspects of the Great Acceleration!)

In addition to all that is accelerating in the natural realm, there is also an acceleration of activity in the spiritual realm.  From Scripture we know that there is a time when Satan, and all of his angels, will be cast out of heaven and will come down to the earth with great fury knowing that their time is short. (Rev. 12)  The sign in the heavens related to this event, from Revelation 12, will astronomically appear in the sky for the first time in human history this year, on Sept. 23, 2017.  This aligns with many other significant prophetic time cycles. (For a brief overview, see here.)  We also know from Scripture that there will be a release of demonic activity from below in the end times with the opening of the Abyss, the bottomless pit (Rev. 9.)  This may very well take place through the nefarious workings of CERN.  The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) associated with CERN is built directly above the ancient temple to “Apollo” (“Apollyon” Gk., “Abaddon” Heb. – see Rev. 9:11) which was believed by the ancients to be at the entrance to the “bottomless pit.”  The Director for Research & Scientific Computing at CERN, Sergio Bertolucci, admitted that the experiments being conducted by CERN researchers “could open a doorway to an extra dimension and out of this door might come something.”  Little does he know (or does he?) what that “something” might be!  There is much occultism associated with CERN and it is something we should be awake to as to its profound prophetic significance.

All of this natural and spiritual acceleration will undoubtedly have major impacts on every aspect of human life.  If you think that change has been coming at us hard and fast over the past couple of decades, just wait to see what the next twenty or thirty years will bring, should the Lord tarry!  It is wholly believable that the human experience by even the middle of this century could be all but unrecognizable from what we presently know.  As mind-boggling and even disturbing as that may be, this exponential dynamic of change is the undeniable reality of the age in which we live.

In the face of this runaway acceleration, the question must be asked, how does the Church of Jesus Christ both stand fast and spiritually respond in the midst of this onslaught of change?  Because the Church is called to be in the world, but not of the world, she is faced with an immense challenge to both spiritually adapt to the radical changes in society around her as well as to hold fast to and manifest the unchanging realities of the eternal Kingdom of God.  Consequently, the Church is called to both radical change and radical constancy.  The discerning and balancing of these two conflicting dynamics lie at the heart of the Church’s calling and challenge in this end time.

The call to radical constancy

Of the two, the Church is called, first and foremost, to radical constancy.  The root and foundation of all that she is called to be and do is the immutable nature and purpose of God.  He says, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Hab. 3:6)  The radical constancy of the eternal I AM and all that emanates from Him is the bedrock of the radical constancy of the Church.

The call of the Church to radical constancy includes the following:

  • An unflagging faith in and proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • An unswerving devotion to fulfilling the Great Commission in the discipling of all nations.
  • An undying pursuit of the Kingdom of God and its spiritual manifestation in and through the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • An uncompromising commitment to righteousness and to being salt and light in the midst of an increasingly corrupt and darkening world.
  • An unshakable hope in the return of Jesus Christ and the ultimate restoration of all things.

As the Church is plunged in the coming years into a deluge of scientific, technological, sociological, cultural, religious, spiritual, geo-political, military, medical, environmental, geological, and economic mega-changes, she will be called to stand fast with an indomitable spiritual character and an unshakable Kingdom purpose.  All that is not of God, both within her and around her, will be shaken, while that which is of God will be purified and fortified.  Like a spiritual Gibraltar, stability and strength will increasingly be her character as all around her swirls and swells in increasing tempest and torrent.  Christ within her will be the resilient Rock to which the multitudes will clamor and cling for safety and refuge in the midst of the storm.  Radical constancy will be one of the primary hallmarks of the overcoming church at the end of the age.

The call to radical change

That being said, there will also be a second, seemingly contrary and conflicting, hallmark of the Church at the end of the age: radical change.  Although she is not of the world, she is in the world, and this will necessitate some deep and extensive transformations.  Even as it is wholly believable that the world will be all but unrecognizable in just a few decades, so the Church may very well be, in many respects, all but unrecognizable from what we presently know her to be then as well.

As an analogy of this radical change, consider a broad river that has little change to it.  It has its twists and turns, but generally flows along in a rather predictable and navigable manner.  Now picture that same river flowing into an area where the topography begins to drop off by ever-increasing degrees.  The flow of the current begins to accelerate gently, then moderately, and then, almost without warning, with great severity.  Calm navigable waters turn into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class rapids, and then quickly plunge into 4th and 5th class whitewater.  Only those with the greatest courage, wisdom, and skill are able to navigate these waters.  Eventually, this river rushes out into a grand, wide-open bay with calm blue waters and lush tropical beaches.  Those who successfully navigate it are blessed to enjoy the exquisite beauty of its final destination.

This is a picture in my mind of what the Church will face in the coming Great Acceleration.  Drawing from its features, then, I would like to suggest three categories of radical change that will need to be embraced by the Church in order for her to navigate the increasingly turbulent waters ahead:

  • Vessels: The “vessels” in this analogy are the forms and structures that the body of Christ employ in her corporate expression.  Traditionally, these are institutional in nature and include special buildings, professional clergy, set services, specialized programs, and a generally consumer-based congregation.  These type of vessels come in all shapes and sizes and are very common and abundant in the broad flowing rivers of the Judeo-Christian-based cultures that have prevailed in many parts of the world for centuries and even millennia.  In the great acceleration that is coming, however, those cultures will rapidly change into hostile and dangerous whitewater environments.  We desperately need the prophetic foresight to understand that what we have traditionally known as “church” is going to be terribly unfit for the dramatic changes ahead.  These institutional vessels that we are so accustomed to, and even deem as indispensable, will either end up beached on the shores of yesteryear’s river, and cease going forward in God, or will be utterly dashed to pieces on the rocks of escalating cultural opposition and political and religious persecution.  The time for transition is now to smaller, more agile vessels that will be able to quickly move and adjust within the swirling dynamics of the great acceleration ahead.  It will be imperative for the Church’s survival that she learn to do with much less encumbrance, ballast, rigidity, formality, and external structure.  The way forward will be with smaller, closely knit, intensely committed, organic gatherings of believers, who are governed by the Holy Spirit in all of their actions, associations, and assemblies.  This is how the Church has always survived and thrived in times of tumultuous opposition and persecution.  We must learn from those who have traversed these waters before us and begin to transition now into these lighter-weight, whitewater vessels as the Body of Christ.  It will be incumbent in the very near future that our vessels will have already experienced radical change in this regard if we are ever going to survive the acceleration ahead.
  • Pilots and crew – Most vessels on the upper river are staffed by professional pilots and a mix of salaried and volunteer crew.  Of all of the people on the upper river, these are often the most resistant to radical change.  Many of these are comfortable in their positions for the sense of personal significance they derive from them as well as the feeling of security that their salaries provide.  To contemplate these elemental factors radically changing is repugnant to them.  Not only so, but the contemplation of giving up the comfortable craft of the upper river, with their stately cabins and cozy mate’s quarters, for the dangerous river dories, inflatable rafts, or whitewater kayaks of the lower river holds absolutely no appeal to them.  Even if some were willing to consider such changes, they have an acute awareness of how woefully unprepared they are for both the demands and dangers of life on the raging river below.  Given the choice, most will hold firmly to the status quo of what they have known rather than trade in their craft and lifestyle to join the feisty flotilla of the coming acceleration.  Among these ranks, however, there will be a remnant who will have the foresight, faith, and fortitude to make this radical transition.  Others will rise out of seeming obscurity who have been secretly prepared of the Lord to help lead in the coming day.  This remnant will not wait until the waters begin to rage, but will prepare ahead of time so that they will be sufficiently equipped, experienced, and positioned for the coming torrent.  They will humble themselves and seek the instruction and training of those who have gone before them.  They will pay a deep price for abandoning old concepts, roles, and courses of ministry for those less known, glorious, and certain.  These will develop a whole new mindset and skill set in order to be prepared of the Lord for the dangerous waters ahead.  This is the radical change that will be required of the remnant of the “pilots and crew.”
  • Passengers – In the upper river very little is required of the passengers on board. They enjoy sumptuously prepared meals, an array of entertainments, instructional lectures, activities for the children, and various social engagements.  There is an expected, yet voluntary, fare that is to be regularly offered, but beyond that, their own personal objectives and family interests determine and define their life onboard ship.  On the lower river, however, all of that is gone.  There, all hands are on deck and each person is required to man the oars with all their might to navigate the intense waters of the great acceleration.  Teamwork is what marks the lower river with every person working in harmony with the others and contributing their own special skills, knowledge, and strength to the effort.  No one is passive.  No one is along for the ride.  No one is unneedful.  Even as the pilots and crew must radically change their mindset and skill set, so the passengers must radically change theirs.  No longer is their experience primarily one of receiving, now it is one of giving.  No longer is it one of passivity, now it is one of intense activity.  This change will come with extreme difficulty for those who have only known the sumptuous, secure and sedative nature of life on the upper river.  Here, however, even as among the ranks of the pilots and crew, there will arise an overcoming remnant who will lay aside the malaise of upper river life and prepare themselves for the exhilarating thrill of whitewater venturing.  Only those who make this radical change will be prepared for the years and decades that lie ahead.

The prophet Daniel said, “The end will come like a flood.” (Dan.9:26)  Jesus compared the events of the end of the age to “birth pangs” (Matt.24:8) which come with ever-increasing intensity and frequency until the time of delivery.  The changes that lie ahead for all of humanity will, likewise, come with escalating speed and unrelenting force!  It is time for the followers of Jesus Christ to prepare NOW, as individuals, families, and the Body of Christ for a future that will be marked by great acceleration and radical change.  In doing so, we must remain radically constant in those aspects that God has called us to remain radically constant in, and radically change in those respects that God has called us to radically change in.  May God give us the wisdom to discern the difference and the grace to walk in their contrasting dynamics.  Our ability to faithfully maintain the testimony of Jesus in the turbulent days ahead will surely depend on it.  May He find us faithful unto the end!!


Recommended resource: “Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ” by Gospel Fellowships.  A free resource for the Body of Christ to help prepare for “life on the lower river!”

Posted in End-time remnant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Blog update: “Free Audiobooks” section added

Hey folks,

It’s been rather quiet around here for the past couple of months, so I wanted to give you a quick update.  I’ve also added some new content to the blog that I’m excited to share with you!

For the past year I’ve been deeply involved in the settling of my mother’s estate, and, quite frankly, it’s overwhelmed most of life.  It is still in process, and will continue to be so well into this year.  Needless to say, it has considerably affected my ability to blog as I would like to as we have had to pare back to the bare essentials of life during much of this time.

That being said, I do plan to continue blogging throughout the upcoming months as I am able.  Along with occasional regular posts, I also plan to share some excellent material that others have produced that will help to fill in the gaps and will richly compliment the content of the blog.

Which brings me to what I have to share with you today…

One of the most popular sections on the blog is the Resources section.  It’s been my desire for some time to add to this section a selection of classic audiobooks on the Christian life.  For many years I’ve enjoyed the audiobooks produced by Librivox.  They have an extensive library of public domain books, recorded by volunteers, and offered freely and without copyright restrictions.  Scattered throughout their vast selection are a good number of classic Christian works.  So, I’ve recently added a “Free Audiobooks” sub-section to the “Resources” page on the blog and have searched through the Librivox library to pull out a number of choice selections.  To begin with, I have chosen titles that I have personally enjoyed and by authors who have had a significant impact on my life.  Below is the list of the books that I presently have posted, and I plan to add additional ones as I go along.

By clicking on the title, you will go to a separate page for that book. There you will find multiple listening and downloading options.  In addition to the links from the Librivox website, I’ve also added a WordPress media player with a playlist of the entire book.  By using that, you can listen to the chapters continuously all the way through without having to click on each one separately.  Simply scroll down until you see: ⇓ Continuous playlist ⇓, and use the player below it. 🙂

I encourage you to take advantage of these offerings, for they are rich in content and are quality productions. May you be blessed by these spiritual classics!

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – by Madam Guyon

Answers to Prayer, from George Müller’s Narratives – by A. E. C. Brooks

Humility : The Beauty of Holiness – by Andrew Murray

Parables of the Cross – by Isabella Lilias Trotter

Spiritual Maxims – by Brother Lawrence

The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life – by Hannah Whitall Smith

The Essentials of Prayer – by E. M. Bounds

The Holiest of All – by Andrew Murray (sample: Hebrews 1-2; 20 files)

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit – by R. A. Torrey

The Practice of the Presence of God – by Brother Lawrence

The Pursuit of God – by A. W. Tozer

The Spiritual Life – by Andrew Murray

The True Vine – by Andrew Murray

Union and Communion – or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon – by J. Hudson Taylor


These titles can also be accessed in the “Resources” section of the blog at any time.

Also, please feel free to leave a comment on any of the books that you have enjoyed.  That would be a blessing!  Thanks and God bless!

– David

Posted in Audiobooks, Blog Updates, Christ-Centered Resources, The Inner Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Do I See?

As a compliment to my previous post, What Did the Angels See?, I wanted to follow up with an expression of my own personal perspective on the birth of Christ.  I’d like to do so by sharing the lyrics of a song the Lord gave me many years ago, called, What Do I See?

At the time I wrote it, my wife and I were rushing around the house getting ready to leave for a family Christmas party.  In a very “untimely” moment and manner, the Lord dropped the first verse of this song into my heart.  My initial reaction was, “Lord, this is not good timing!”  I knew that if I didn’t write it down, though, I would lose it. So I quickly grabbed a piece of paper, asked my wife to please be patient with me, and began writing.  As I did, the second, third, and fourth verses came as well.  Within a very short time the Lord had given a complete song, a gift from Him, and for Him.  (And we were only a little bit late to the party!  🙂 )

When I think of the manner in which this song was given, it seems that it was not merely incidental, but rather poignantly intentional on the Lord’s part.  In my mind, it emphasizes a significant facet of how God often works when He desires to “birth” a new and unique expression of Himself in and through our lives.

When the Father sent His Son into the world, He did so at a very inconvenient time for those most closely involved.  “The fullness of the time” (Gal. 4:4) from His perspective, was right in the middle of all of Judea reshuffling around to the towns of their birth due to the Roman census.  It was a chaotic, tumultuous time.  Mary, at full term, had to journey with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a some 90-mile trek, which took them four or five days, and was fraught with discomfort and danger.  In addition to that, when they arrived in Bethlehem, appropriate accommodations for a woman about to give birth were nowhere to be found.  They had to settle for a cold and unsanitary stable.  To Mary and Joseph, it must have seemed that God’s provision and timing for this Divinely-ordained birth couldn’t have been more poorly planned and ill-timed.  Behind it all, however, was the sovereign wisdom, love, and power of God orchestrating every detail for the fulfillment of His highest purpose.

The incarnation story did not end with Joseph and Mary, though.  It is going on and on, to this very day, in an untold multitude of called and chosen ones in whom the Father is desiring to bring forth His Son by the power of His Holy Spirit.  As He does, He often does His most fruitful work in the most unconventional ways and in the most inopportune times.  “The fullness of the times” for Him, is often the “no-room-in-the-inn” time for us.  His ways are simply higher than ours.

So, when I look at how this song about His birth was “birthed”, it seems emblematic of His ways.  To me, it is a reminder that His purposes and His workings are most likely not going to fit neatly into my pre-determined schedule and expectations.   In addition to sharing the words of this song, I wanted to also share these thoughts, which add another measure of meaning to this song for me.  I pray that you are encouraged by this creative expression, given by the Spirit in this “untimely” way. 🙂

May you and your family enjoy God’s richest blessings this Christmas season!
Our God is with us!

With love,
David

~ ~ ~

What Do I See?

What do I see when I look upon the face
Of the baby born in Bethlehem?
I see the light of the world
Shining in the dark
The glory of God in a Babe

And as the star showed the way
To Bethlehem’s stall
The light of His life shows the way for us all
He’s the Light of the World

What do I see when I look upon the face
Of the baby born in Bethlehem?
I see the Lamb that was born
To bear the sin of man
The innocent One who would be slain

And as shepherd’s and flocks
Came and looked on His face
They beheld the Lamb who would die in their place
He is the Lamb of God

What do I see when I look upon the face
Of the baby born in Bethlehem?
I see the King of a kingdom
That’s not of this world
Born to bring it down to man

As as the kings came to worship
And offer Him gifts
One day every knee shall bow
And every tongue confess
He is the King of kings

What do I see when I look upon the face
Of the baby born in Bethlehem?
I see the Only Begotten Son of God
The Gift of the Father to all men

And for all who make room
In their hearts to receive
The Christ shall be born in all who believe
He is the Son of God

That’s what I see when I look upon the face
Of the baby born in Bethlehem…
What do you see?

~ ~ ~

©1987 David Bolton

_____________________

 You may also enjoy this compilation of poetic musings on the incarnation of Christ written by Evan Bolton, Cheryl McGrath, and me in 2013:
“The Word Became Flesh” – A Collaboration of Poetic Reflection

~ ~ ~

Posted in Creative Expressions, The Incarnation | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Did the Angels See?

This meditation on the birth of Christ I originally wrote in December of 2003 for the newsletter my wife was compiling for our homeschool network.  I am offering it again, now slightly updated, for your consideration and inspiration during this Christmas season. May we all be blessed as we contemplate afresh the glorious mystery of Immanuel, “God with us!”

~ ~ ~

What Did the Angels See?

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.'”
Luke 2:13-14

We have all viewed the birth of Christ from our own varied and unique perspectives.  Our own particular circumstances, experiences, traditions, and spiritual perceptions have shaped our views.  Among those who were most closely connected with the actual event two thousand years ago, there existed a multitude of perspectives, as well.  There was the perspective of Mary.  There was that of Joseph.  There were also those of the innkeeper, the shepherds, Herod, and a host of others in that day.  How these all differed from one another!

There is one perspective, though, that I think we should especially take time to contemplate:  that of the angels.  What did the angels see as they peered down from the heavens on the baby lying in a manger in Bethlehem. What was it that inspired their heavenly song…
“Glory to God in the highest…”?

Let’s consider for a moment what they saw transpiring before their eyes:

The One who created all things, seen and unseen,
was now stepping into His creation.

The One whose being embodies Eternity,
was now confining Himself to the constraints of time.

The One whom even the highest heavens cannot contain,
was now restricted within the womb of a peasant girl.

The One exalted forever as the Most High King of Kings,
was now being born in a lowly stable.

The One who alone is Omnipotent,
was now a frail human baby.

The One who is all Wisdom, Knowledge, and Truth,
was now needing to grow and to learn on His mother’s knee.

The One who is Heir of all things,
was now come to live as the poorest of the poor.

The One resplendent in all Majesty and Glory,
was now taking a form that would have no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him.

The One who alone is Holy,
was now come to be made sin.

The One who is Life,
was now come to die.

~ ~ ~

On that glorious night, so long ago, the Bethlehem skies broke forth with heavenly waves of angelic worship…

“GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST…!

~ ~ ~

May we take time to consider their “heavenly song”!
As we do, let us also contemplate this…
that we, who have been redeemed by this Holy Child,
have a song which even the angels cannot sing!
Selah!

~ ~ ~

Posted in Other Writings, The Incarnation | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Tradition, Scripture, and the Church by David Bolton (PDF – complete)

My friend, Sándor, has compiled my five-part teaching series, “Tradition, Scripture, and the Church”, into a single PDF booklet, and has uploaded it on his Hungarian/English blog, keskeny út – narrow way.

Of all the series I’ve written, I feel that this is the most substantial, ground-breaking, and potentially “eye-opening” to the true nature of the Church, past, present, and future.  (As one commenter said in response to my original posting, “I was deeply and personally challenged by your words, and maybe for the first time saw things in crystal-clear focus, where previously the image was somewhat blurred – almost like someone who has received new spectacles!”)  That is my hope for all who read this teaching.

Please check out Sándor’s post by clicking keskeny út – narrow way  here or below, and follow the link to the (English) PDF at the bottom of his post.  (The link to the Hungarian PDF is at the top.)

God bless you! -David

keskeny út - narrow way

A hagyomány, a Szentírás és a Gyülekezet – David Bolton

“With anticipation, and not a little trepidation, I am wading into a subject that I believe cannot be over-emphasized as to its significance regarding the Church, past, present and future. I would venture to say that the two most influential forces ever at work in her long history, and those largely responsible for who she is today, are Scripture and Tradition.

If only the marriage of these two were a match fully made in heaven, what an incomparable force they would be for God in the earth!  The reality is, however, that they are a heaven-and-earth mixture, an unholy union of divine and human ways, a complex matrix of good, bad and ugly.  If ever a love/hate relationship existed, it is here between these two obstinate “soul mates”.  Theirs is a marriage marked by the sweetest of affections and the…

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Posted in Christ-Centered Restoration, Church History/Development, End-time remnant, Reblogs, The Ekklesia, The Eternal Purpose of God | 2 Comments

Rebels, Refugees, and a Returning Remnant by David Bolton (PDF – complete)

Thank you, Sándor, for compiling this series into a single post and sharing it with your Hungarian and English-speaking audiences. (Having it in PDF form is also a blessing.) May God use it afresh for His purpose! All blessings in Him!

(Audio for series also available here.)

keskeny út - narrow way

Lázadók, menekültek és egy visszatérő maradék – David Bolton

You are able to reach in PDF form here

There is a monumental shift taking place in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ worldwide.  Multitudes of sincere, faith-filled Christians are leaving the institutional church in search of a simpler, more relational, and interactive experience of church life. According to George Barna’s research more than ten years ago, the numbers then exceeded twenty million [Revolution (2005) pg.13].  According to the nature of this growing trend, these numbers have increased exponentially since that time.

For the most part, these believers are not leaving because they have lost their faith, but because they desire to see their faith grow and find a fuller, even more Biblical, expression.  Those who are a part of this world-wide “exodus” are often found gathering under the banners of “organic…, “simple…, “house…, “missional…, and “emergent… church”…

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Posted in Christ-Centered Restoration, Reblogs, The Ekklesia, The Eternal Purpose of God, Translations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments