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Preaching the Gospel in the Ukrainian War Zone
With the nation of Ukraine in deep crisis, John Crowder together with a small team of friends visited the country just as neighboring Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula. Following months of protests and armed resistance from riot police and pro-Russian insurgents, the city squares of Kiev became a virtual war zone. Fires have engulfed buildings. Barricades of tires, bricks and debris provide makeshift protection, blocking one-time main city thoroughfares as local militias patrol the streets - encamped throughout public areas in military preparedness. Ukraine’s dire situation continues to mount at the time of this publication. Russian forces amassing on her eastern border threaten invasion at any moment. With Ukraine ousting her former pro-Russian president in favor of leaning toward better relations with Europe and the Democratic West, Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately began sowing discord into the country. Insurgents now attempt to overthrow Ukrainian leadership in many eastern cities near the Russian border and fighting continues. Amidst the despair and chaos, we felt a strong urge to get our feet on the ground and encourage believers in these difficult times. John preached to hundreds of Ukrainians in Kiev, still reeling from months of turmoil after pro-Russian riot police indiscriminately began shooting into crowds and killing more than 100 civilians. While the situation was too intense to bring a large team, we firmly believe that we literally carry a manifestation of the Glory of God in such a way that atmospheres shift. Encouraging believers and alleviating the fear and paranoia of the situation with Good News is what we’re all about. Also during the trip, we visited soldiers who had been wounded by pro-Russian forces. One man had been hit by a grenade, shot in the head and shot through the groin simultaneously! We encouraged him and he readily accepted the truth that God had spared his life for a purpose.
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SOT India Mission Visits Slums, Lepers, Orphans Sons of Thunder recently returned from a joint mission to India with a team of 50 where we ministered to the poorest of the poor. Unlike our other India trips which often involve mass evangelism crusades and many meetings ... this trip consisted of no meetings at all!
Our goal was just to minister to the individual. To seek out and visit those living in the garbage dumps, the slums and the leper colonies. Team members spent time all day loving on the poor, praying for the sick and sharing the heart of Jesus. While in the garbage dump, we had the privilege of rescuing a developmentally challenged orphan girl and bringing her right into a children’s home run by our friend Benjamin Dunn. John also had a chance to pull away from the team and spend some time with one of our Sons of Thunder children’s homes in Mumbai. Next year we plan to return to India for another large evangelism campaign - gathering tens of thousands to hear the Good News, whilst healing the sick and releasing the Glory of God. While our next India adventure is not yet confirmed, keep an eye on our website at: www.TheNewMystics.Com/Missions Thanks to all our partners who continue to make our ministry endeavors in India possible!
Ethiopia Trip Lands Crowder in Prison, Seminary Thousands Impacted in Mexico, Returning Soon
What began as a small side trip to visit and encourage a few missionary friends in Ethiopia turned into a powerful week of unexpected ministry. John Crowder brought his son to Dilla, Ethiopia - a six-hour drive into the heart of Africa from the nearest airport of Addis Ababa. The goal was to meet with a close friend and long-term missionary who teaches at one of the countryâ€™s most prestigious, if not isolated seminaries far from any Western world amenities. Besides doing some candy and chicken evangelism (fistfuls of lollipops and chicken dinner goes a long way toward furthering this candy-coated gospel in Ethiopia!), John was quickly invited to speak in numerous places.
Since January, we have visited Mexico twice reaching more than 4,000 people with the Gospel. Doors are wide open into the country as SOT brought a team of 20 to equip pastors, visit rehab centers, prisons and feed the poor - preaching and healing the sick. John returned in April speaking to more than 3,000 from all over the country, as well as international visitors from the Middle East - Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Thirty people reported finding miraculous gemstones at the meetings and multitudes experienced ecstatic encounters. We are returning with a team in April 2015 to reach to another 3,000 and host outreaches to the poor. Join us and find out more at www.thenewmystics.com/mx
Although he came with no plan or agenda, John had the opportunity to minister to a large campus church. Intrigue followed at the school, and each day he was also asked to lead the campus chapel group, sharing with the theology students and meeting with many of them afterwards. John also was taken to a maximum security Ethiopian prison where he preached Good News to hundreds of convicts who packed out the facility, even leaning into the open doors to hear! Preaching the gospel - the finished work of the cross from Romans 6 - he layered the truth of their identity, sharing the good news that their old sinful self is dead and that each one is a beautiful new creation who looks just like Jesus! There was so much Glory in the prison, John told them that folks would want to get locked up just so that they could experience it! Thanks to our partners who enable us to make spontaneous trips and wild wanderings across the globe, as a team we are able to make a difference in many lives!
Join our Mission to Reach Thailand Transvestites Join us for one of our most entertaining and unusual trips to date as John Crowder and Dave Vaughan team up to reach the Ladyboys of Bangkok, Thailand! Home to one of the worldâ€™s largest and seediest sex industries, Bangkok is also the hub of the largest transgender community. We look forward to bringing the light and love of Christ into the lives of many while anticipating a wild and uncanny ride! We expect this one to fill up quickly. Applications are now open to join us on this trip, which runs November 16-22, 2014. For more information or to apply, visit us online at www.TheNewMystics.Com/Ladyboy
Ecstatic Magazine is Now Digital and Now FREE The Ecstatic Magazine how now gone digital, enabling us to make the publication free to readers all around the world. To ensure you are signed up to receive each new issue in your inbox, you must sign up to get our free newslist at www.TheNewMystics.Com Simply visit the site and enter your email address to receive our free Jesus Trip teaching videos along with the bi-annual magazine! Although the publication is free, we do value your generous financial support to make this effort possible.
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From the Publisher ...
We are witnessing an amazing merger of streams as contemplative, mystical experience meets solid, liberating grace theology. Rarely are charismatic phenomena rooted and grounded in a Christological understanding of the finished work of the cross. The result is freedom from striving, human-focused attempts to achieve divine contact. Instead of seeking the experience of a lifetime, we are now living a lifetime of experience. Folks are now realizing that we have been effortlessly plugged into continual union, thanks to the person and completed work of Christ. Whether we know it or not, feel it or not – even believe it or not! The Gospel is not what we believe about Him, but the cross screams what God knows to be true about us. The facts are the facts, whether we realize them or not. And the facts are that, by our union with Christ, we are full of the Godhead. In fact, we are partakers of the divine nature! The Gospel is not about us inviting God into our lives … it is the scandalous revelation that He has already brought us into His life. In this Issue The present edition represents a colorful spectrum of the aforementioned truths. Articles from John highlight our plunge into the divine nature, as well as a long, original piece that helps deconstruct our dualistic framework of thought. Misguided concepts of dualism – separation between the natural and spiritual world – are the very theological blinders that have prevented us from recognizing the Presence of God that pervades our entire lives. The Gospel is an awakening to the right now reality of God in our midst. And with another piece from Lily Crowder, we further hammer home the pervasive awareness of a God who is completely woven into the fabric of our natural lives. To further your grace-based spiritual development we’ve also included some great mystical voices in this issue. A smattering of deep meditations from Thomas Merton. A short, but profound piece from Henri Nouwen. Engaging reads that help us slow down from the busyness of life and enjoy the reality of God in a place of solitude and rest. We’ve Gone Digital This issue of The Ecstatic marks the first time our publication has gone completely digital! Although we recognize many prefer a print edition of the magazine, our transition to digital will allow us to distribute freely around the globe. Be sure you visit our homepage at www. TheNewMystics.Com and enter your email address to join our free newslist – this will ensure you receive each issue to your inbox twice a year. Those of you who join the newslist will also receive our regular Jesus Trip teaching videos. Keep in mind that we still value your support to keep the magazine and ministry running. Your generous contributions make the publication available to all and enable us to spread Good News to the ends of the globe. Besides discovering great ways to connect with the poor and join us on mission trips, also please consider supporting us financially as a partner or with a one-time gift at www.TheNewMystics.Com Your generosity connects you as a direct participant with everything we do at Sons of Thunder! What We’re All About We at Sons of Thunder produce The Ecstatic as a way to bring a cohesive voice to the growing interest in authentic, mystical Christianity – but a mysticism rooted in the grace message of Christ’s cross – not in human attempt at spiritual disciplines or mental ascent. In a practical sense, The Ecstatic serves as an information gateway to the ministry of John & Lily Crowder. But moreover, it is a first fruit in publishing toward bridging several important themes that are converging at the moment: finished work theology, the miraculous, divine satisfaction and daily human existence in the divine life. All of these concepts are intrinsically woven together. A new, reformed Christcentered mysticism is on the rise. It is bridging many streams. Relevant is its cultural approach. Radical is its charismatic fervor. Reformative is its theology of grace. These are guiding values of this publication and our own lives. It is a theological journal whose frequency is joy unspeakable.
Fully Satisfied … John Crowder Founder, Sons of Thunder Publications the ecstatic is published bi-annually Copyright © 2014 Sons of Thunder Ministries & Publications, All rights reserved. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1-877-343-3245 Address: P.O. Box 40, Marylhurst, OR 97036
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Contents 2 5 8 9 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
News: The Latest from Sons of Thunder Separation is an Illusion The Practice of Awareness The Divinity of Man Find the Party: Sons of Thunder Itinerary India Orphanage Update In the Solitude of Being Created as Objects of Love Meditations of the Mystics Upcoming Mission Trips Still Drunk on the Gospel
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Separation is an Illusion How Dualism Blinds us to God’s Glory There is a pervasive, fundamental mindset that exists in the Western Church that is utterly pagan in origin. Dualism is the basic notion that there is a separation between the physical and spiritual world. This concept is not Biblical, nor was it ever associated with Hebraic thought. This worldview finds its roots in pagan Greek philosophy – from the minds of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato – and more specifically from the ancient religion of Neoplatonism. Dualistic thought played a major influence on early Christian doctrine – specifically on Western theologians such as Augustine (who was a Neoplatonist before his conversion to Christianity). Throughout the centuries in the West, we have been taught that God is “out there” somewhere. Some incorporeal Being in the sky. Matter and spirit are separate. Or there is a container mentality: physical container filled with spiritual substance. We see it echoed centuries later in the Deists, who believed God sits out in the ethos – separate from the physical, earthly realm – having no real interaction with the material world after setting it in motion by physical laws. For the Neoplatonist, there is a physical, concrete world of matter (consider the globe as a sphere of solid material). Then out beyond the sky in the ethos – on the outer rungs of physics – lies the immaterial world. A spirit realm of God, gods or goddesses detached from our earthly existence. Sound familiar? Maybe you learned that in Sunday school. For a number of years we have addressed an extreme form of dualism that has infected the
church from early on and still perverts body life today: gnosticism. Gnosticism is dualism on steroids. It is one thing to say the natural and spiritual worlds are separate, but gnostics go a step further to say the natural world is evil. Thus they could not stomach the idea that Jesus actually came in the flesh – material flesh was considered bad. So gnostics believed Jesus was some
Right from the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus was challenging this wrong-headed notion of God being the distant, aloof bad guy. His resounding message was that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. form of spirit being. As John tells us, anyone who claims Jesus didn’t come in the flesh is of the antichrist (2 John 1:7, 1 John 4:3). Incarnation challenges gnosticism and dualism to the core. For the gnostic, God cannot be connected to the natural realm. This same basic notion spills over into every avenue of religion. Hence in the church today, you have religious zealots who vilify any natural, God-given pleasure. Money, sex and beer are considered evil. Wear starchy, uncomfortable clothes to church because you can’t be spiritual if your natural body is comfortable. Over the years, the church has demonized all natural-world pleasures: musical instruments, theater, dancing (if you’re Amish, you can also toss out tractors, television and buttons).
by John Crowder
All sorts of false divisions have been erected between the so-called secular and sacred. God has been compartmentalized. Partitioned off into certain arenas and prohibited from others. Today we can’t just have YouTube; we need Godtube. Can’t just have music, we need “Christian music.” Can’t have a Coca-cola T-shirt. Need a “Jesus Christ” in Coca-cola font T-shirt. Can’t just listen to Coldplay … we need our worship band to sound like Coldplay. Not only do we divorce ourselves from any creativity (religion only copies or shadows reality – just like Moses received the blueprints on the mountain in the Old Testament that “shadowed” Heavenly realities. It’s phony. Fake. Unoriginal. A saccharine substitute), but we fail to see God’s inherent immanence and creativity within the natural world around us. The reality is that natural world pleasure is a gift of God. We don’t idolize or pervert those pleasures. We filter those pleasures through the Word – because perverting earthly pleasure actually destroys us. We don’t serve money; it should serve us. Sex is a gift to be extravagantly enjoyed in heterosexual marital union – outside of which it harms us. Scripture says wine is a gift to cheer us – but if we’re hammered drunk on Tequila all day it’s going to ultimately work against our pleasure when we lose our job, family and end up in the gutter. God is pro-pleasure. The Word is never about quenching our party – but sustaining it and pointing ultimately to the true Giver and Source of all pleasure. Natural world delights serve as an echo (not origin) of the true Eternal Party of the ages. I could write entire books on how gnosticism has Continued on page 6
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< Continued from page 5 wreaked havoc in the church – how it denies the Incarnation and embodies religion at its core. But here I simply want to deal with the basic concept of dualism, out from which all these wrong-headed ideas flow. The fact of the matter is there is no separation between Heaven and Earth. No separation between the natural and supernatural. The Eastern Church rarely ever struggled with these dualistic ideas. The Orthodox man wakes in the morning and sees a tree growing out of the ground; he realizes it is woven together and sustained by the miraculous hand of God. He sees that trillions of seeds die and come alive again everyday on planet earth, while scientists can’t even create life in a laboratory. He sees that the synapses and neurons in your brain remember things you learned in second grade. Gravity holds you in perfect cohesion so that all your atoms don’t fly off into oblivion as space dust … everything is supernaturally held together by the Presence of God. So for the Eastern mind (not affected by our Western dualisms), life is not perceived as “natural versus supernatural.” It’s just that some things happen more infrequently than others … such as walking on water. Heaven and Earth have been permanently rewired in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. In fact, there was never a separation between Heaven and Earth. The only separation that existed was in our fallen mind – our depraved, alienated consciousness that was infected by sin. We were blind to a God who is everywhere. Contrary to the Evangelical mantra that God was our enemy while we were sinners, God’s only position toward us was to die for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). God was never our enemy. The truth is that “once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation ...” (Col. 1:2122). God never set Himself up as our enemy. In our fabricated delusion, we set ourselves up as His enemy. Right from the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus
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was challenging this wrong-headed notion of God being the distant, aloof bad guy. His resounding message was that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. So close in fact that God became one of us and dwelt among us. Despite the evolutioninformed modernism that lends us to believe God created Heaven billions and billions of years prior to planet Earth, the scriptures actually refer to a singular timeframe called “in the beginning” in which Heaven and Earth were both formed. What if Heaven and Earth were formed simultaneously because it was always God’s intent that Adam should search out the Heavens even as he walked planet earth? What if the union of both realms was always the norm? We think there are areas of our life where God is not. Places where He doesn’t exist. Darkened
Union with the world is something that always existed from God’s perspective - and it found its full and final form and expression in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus. areas of this fallen world that he has shied away from – or that came into being apart from Him. To this, add further pagan ideas of a moody, temperamental God who sporadically intersects our world – coming in and out based on our human whims and performance. These dualisms have blinded us to Emmanuel – God with us – He who is all in all. He is everywhere! David said even if I go to the depths of hell there you are (Psalm 139:8)! Where are you going to run from a God who is everywhere? God is not just seated up in Heaven. Paul says that heaven exists in Christ (Eph. 2:6)! The Heavens cannot contain Him. All of the created order exists in Christ! He takes up all the space. There was no other place (no “over there”) to put creation, therefore God made us right smack dab in the middle of Himself. We think there are some dark, outer regions where He hasn’t discovered or visited or chosen to live. In our dualistic minds, we think of good and bad, light and darkness. But the apostle John gives us a mind-bender to our
dualisms when he says, “The light shines in the darkness ...” (John 1:5). Just when we thought there was a darkened place He didn’t exist, we see that “even the darkness is as light to You” (Psalm 139:12). All of creation exists within the fabric of who God is. What part of creation came into existence behind His back? All our attempts to partition God off into lines of secular and sacred merely highlight our blindness to His Glory which fills Heaven and Earth. God is interwoven throughout the entire created order. This is not pantheism – it is the truth of His immanence, His omnipresence. He even existed within the fabric of what we would call the old order, the Adamic reign, the old creation prior to the cross. Yes, it was hidden – not fully revealed – but do not lock salvation or God’s presence into a moment of time introduced 2,000 years ago. The work of the cross stands outside time and space. Although we think of an old creation and then later a new creation in Christ … the fact of the matter is that the whole shebang has been one seamless plan of God from the beginning. It was always in the plan of God that the new would spring out of the old. The Seed must die in order to bear fruit. The same is true for you. You didn’t exist “apart” from God before your conversion experience. You were simply blind to the source of your origin, and living according to a lie. Paul told the pagans on Mars Hill, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Jesus didn’t magically jump into you when you first went to the altar those years ago. No, He suddenly “revealed” His presence within you, just as Paul spoke of His own encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus: God, who set me apart from birth … was pleased to reveal His son within me (Gal. 1:15-16). Imagine Paul’s surprise when, in the midst of killing Christians, He realizes Jesus is inside of Him! It is not that we actively participate in Him apart from faith – but our faith is based upon the very fact that He has united Himself to us! Union with the world is something that always existed from God’s perspective - and it found its full and final form and expression in the incarnaContinued on page 7
< Continued from page 6 tion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus did not merely die to “bridge” an existing gap, but to reveal and culminate a union that He’s always considered reality. Before you ever committed a single sin, you had always been associated with Christ from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col. 1:15-17, NIV). He is all in all. All things hold together in Him. He is closer than the breath you breathe … closer than your skin. Closer to you than your own physical body. He who is in Christ is one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). If all things are held together in Him, where are you held together? In Him. Where are unbelievers held together? In Him. As a matter of fact, where is the devil held together? Mind boggling. Ephesians 1:23 tells us that He “fills everything in every way.” It is not just that God was bound up in Christ in the incarnation, but that in the incarnation he bound the entire created order to Himself. There is no molecule, no blade of grass, no distant star in the cosmos that is not humming with the Glory of God. Again, this reality stands outside time and space. Mystically all of creation was always in Him – the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. There is nowhere you can run where He is not. But our dualisms have blinded us. We think, “Oh He’s over in the church.” Or, “There He is at the revival outpouring.” Or, “There He is out in the field.” We miss him in the everyday “natural affairs” of life. Did you have a good conversation with your daughter on the way to school this morning? Think Holy Spirit could have possibly been present in that? Enjoy sitting around the table having cornflakes with your kids? Think Holy Spirit could have been present in that? But some would ask about Isaiah 59 … didn’t our sins separate us from God? Yes of course
sin separated you from God. But sin never separated God from you. This is not mere semantics or word play. This is a huge deal, so you’d better get it. God was never pulling back or running away from relationship … you were! We were the ones running into the bushes like Adam, withdrawing from relationship and vulnerability in our insecurity, alienation, fear, anxiety and self-willed corruption. But God was always right there in the garden ready to play. “Adam where are you?” He asked. God was not blind to Adam because Adam had become dirty. God knew exactly where Adam was. He was asking Adam to consider where Adam was! Adam was still right there in the middle of God. The bush was on fire and he didn’t know it.
Where does creation exist? Within the very belly of God. Within Himself he made a place where the vast infinite bounds of the universe exist. The New Testament never tells us that Jesus died to reconcile God back to you. God never had a problem with you. The scriptures tell us Jesus died to reconcile you back to God. Jesus wasn’t dying to pay off an angry deity. He was dying to destroy your corruption and alienation – the disease of sin that was eating you away.
Were we fallen? Yes! Because we forgot what manner of man we were. Humanity was in an identity crisis. But our rejection of Him never stopped His inclusion of us. You are free to reject Him all you want. But you never stop Him from including you. Hell is the insanity of trying to escape the inescapable love of God. Jesus stepped down into the depth of our depravity. To the very bottom rung of the ladder – He swallowed up our darkness in uncreated light. He destroyed our decay, our depression and our decrepit state of delusional separation in his own servant body on the cross. But beyond an “action” of bridging Heaven and Earth, Christ was showing a principle that God has always been for us – revealing a principle that we have always been mystically united to Him. Where does creation exist? Within the very belly of God. Within Himself he made a place where the vast infinite bounds of the universe exist. Creation never occurred in the mind of God as something that would be separate from Him. He has forever identified himself with the created order. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ God has forever identified himself with the human race. He has decided not to be God apart from humanity. There will forever be a human being seated in the middle of the Trinity. And there you are sat up with Him in the Trinity of God in the humanity of Jesus Christ. As soon as we partition off God from certain areas of our life, we jump into a place of insanity – a religious schizophrenia ... We believe a lie that separation somehow still exists. We split off into false personalities and delusional states of non-living. Suddenly He doesn’t exist in this area of addiction, my finances, my health, my dysfunctional family relationships. ... These lies of separation suddenly consume us until we are locked into false pagan mindsets founded only on lies – personality disorders founded solely on smoke and mirrors. But the truth is that God was always here – and is shining right now in the midst of the darkness. Even the darkness is as light to him.
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The Practice of Awareness … and seeing that God is everywhere
by Lily Crowder
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:7-12, NIV). There is nowhere we can go to escape Him. He has covered every square inch with His light. Even the darkness is as light to Him. What a comforting truth to share with a child who is scared at night. Holy Spirit is not any less present in your munchkin packed minivan than He is in a church service. He is able to sneak and spill into every corner of our day – the grocery store, coffee shop, school and the work place. There is no place too dingy, dismal or seemingly unspiritual that He has left empty. Reconnecting our focus to the reality of the presence of God in every place will change how we spend our lives. When we know just how connected to God we really are – not just in theory – when we really know how much He fills and consumes all the earth, our whole day changes. A day that feels like toil and a meaningless hamster wheel is transformed into one that contains purpose, full of meaning and substance. When you recognize Him in common places, you feel connected to Him personally. This is what He desires for us, to always feel united in our everyday lives. While the awareness of God’s presence may seem highlighted in one particular environment or moment, the truth is, He has always been there! It is funny how we limit ourselves in our minds to recognizing Him. But I love it when He sneaks up and shows you that He has been there all along. We have been going to a park by our house for the last four years. We have been there for every season: winter, spring, summer and fall. Recently we were visiting the park, walking down the same familiar path to the play structure, when we noticed another group of mothers and kids picking cherry plums from the trees that lined the path. I was amazed as I looked up in those trees and saw hundreds of delicious, perfectly ripened cherry plums all within arms reach! We had walked down that path all summer and three previous summers before, and never once noticed all this wonderful fruit just waiting to be picked. Now, every time we walk the path down to the park, the plum trees are the first things we notice. We observe the trees change with the seasons; the rich ruby red leaves in the fall, the extra sunlight on the path peering through leaf-
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less branches in the winter, the first sign of fruit buds in finds you. He would love for us to realize this truth all the the spring, followed by ripe, juicy plums to enjoy at the end time; this knowledge makes life so much more enjoyable. of the summer. We will wait expectantly for the end of this next summer to snack on them again! We may try and convince ourselves that it is our responsibility to cultivate an environment that welcomes God’s We all have routines. I do the same thing pretty much every presence, but He has already cultivated every environment day. I get up, make my coffee and cook some breakfast for for us through the gift of His Son. Pause, look up, listen and the kids. There is always a load of laundry to do, rooms to feel the reality of our omnipresent God who has sent His be cleaned and errands to be run. In your regular life, in Holy Spirit into every nook and cranny of our human expeyour regular routine, just like that and by surprise you will rience, even this experience we call motherhood. notice Jesus has been there the entire time. Thankfully the Lord is not going to avoid gracing you with Brother Lawrence said, “The time of work does not with me His presence just because an intense bout of sibling rivalry differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clatter of my broke out and resulted in an injury inflicted by a bigger kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling brother. It did interrupt your quiet time, but He didn’t disenfor different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as gage from your life. When a call from the nursery interrupts if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.” your deep spiritual moment in a church service because your baby had a huge diaper blow out, don’t worry, you Maybe you are not exactly “possessing God in great didn’t miss out on God when you went to change your tranquility” in the middle of your routine. Maybe you just baby. His presence followed you all the way out of the know He is there, and there seems to be a sense of rest sanctuary and into the loud nursery. In fact, He was never in the middle of the busyness of your day. The confidence absent to begin with. and rest that comes when we are suddenly graced with consciousness of His presence is so encouraging. It will The truest solitude is not something outside you, not an abbecome addicting and an instinctive desire will arise to sence of men or of sound around you: it is an abyss openrecognize Christ everywhere. Practicing His presence will ing up in the center of your own soul. soon become a natural habit, and, as Brother Lawrence – Thomas Merton. experienced, the difference between sensing God in a seBrother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, fourth conversation. rene environment or activity will seem the same as sensing Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation (New Directions, 1987 ed.), 59. Him and enjoying Him in your messy kitchen with the kids screaming in the background. Cultivating His Presence Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified (2 Cor. 13:5-6). It is one thing to be made alive to the reality of Christ everywhere, but what about realizing His presence is within? This dramatically changes our reality. You were never disqualified. This article excerpted from Lily Crowder’s new book, He has made a home in you! You can converse with and Grace for the Contemplative Parent. Available at enjoy Father God in your home and wherever your day www.thenewmystics.com/books
The Divinity of Man
Partakers of the Divine Nature Our origin existed from the foundation of the world. Through faith, we see that the worlds were framed by the word of God, “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3, KJV). … what we now see did not come from visible things (BER). … what is seen does not owe its existence to that which is visible (WEY). … the world which we behold springs not from things that can be seen (CON). Despite the common phrase that God “created something out of nothing,” the truth is simply that we “did not evolve out of existing matter” (NOR). In fact, we pre-existed invisibly in the heart and imagination of God. We were associated with Christ from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Your true origin goes much further back than your parents’ choice in the back seat of a ‘77 Chevy Nova. Mankind is not simply a temporal being who began at a point in time by a human decision. The truth is that like Jeremiah, the Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …” (Jer. 1:14). We were with Him, in Him, as Him in the beginning. Predestined in Christ. Pre-existing in the heart of God. Adam was breathed from the very divine substance, the pneuma breath of God. In the same way, it is His very living Presence that animates you. He is the Life. Dogs produce dogs, trees produce trees … what does God produce? You are very sons of the eternal Most High God. As my friend Dave Vaughan often says, “It will be very hard for you to avoid your divinity in the coming days.” We are a mirror image of God Himself. In this, 1 John 4:17 tells us, “As He is, so are we in this world.” He is returning us to the truth of our divine origin. We have simply forgotten the Rock from which we were cut (Isa. 51:1). Humanity has been in an identity cri-
sis. Living completely under par to our original design and destiny. You are Gods I am well aware that various movements have taken “Ye are gods” theology to bizarre conclusions. But the fact remains, as we are told in Psalm 82:6, “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.’” Some have tried to mitigate this verse to suggest we are simply “judges” or “mighty ones.” But the literal word here is Elohim – gods. And to further bolster the point, Jesus quotes this passage – the New Testament Greek using the word Theoi – which is clearly translated as “gods.” “It is a serious thing,” says C.S. Lewis, “to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember
We’re discovering the new creation reality of grace given us in the saving act of Jesus Christ. We are waking up to our infinite, immortal selves.. that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship.” We see that His Spirit is enjoined with our human spirit echoing the clarion call of sonship: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16, KJV). And through this miraculous union, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). We are all recipients of divine glory of the Father and Christ: Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2, ESV).
by John Crowder
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Pet. 5:10, NIV). We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For He called you to share in His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:12, NLT). He called you to this through our Gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:14, NIV). For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing His glory (Col. 1:27, NLT). The disastrous lie of religion chains us to a morbid identity as sinful dogs. But you are the bride of Christ, purified by His blood – consummated as one on the Tree where the two bled into one. You are flesh of His flesh. Bone of His bone. He who is in Christ is one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). There is no separation. As coinheritors with Christ, we like Him have dominion over all things, over the vast cosmos – and one day we shall fully manifest the reality of this dominion. A Dependent Divinity Such magnitude is far beyond human ability. Your divine nature is a God-given and Christ-dependent reality. Nothing has been independently vested upon you, but rather you are intrinsically dependent upon the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The glory you experience is no result of a two-dimensional transaction between you and God based on your faith. This is Trinitarian. You are effortlessly graced to participate in the Spirit because of Jesus’ relationship with the Father. He prayed, “Now, Father, bring Me into the glory we shared before the world began” and then just after added, “I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one” (John 17:5, 22). You have been infused with the same glory that the Father and the Son shared from the dawn of time.
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Know what God has lavished upon you! He couldn’t give you anything more; you would be a threat to the Trinity! He’s poured His own beauty, His own worth, His own power upon you. It is no independent divinity apart from Him, but a very unction that flows because of your union with Him. By your union with Christ you are full of the Godhead (Col. 2:10). It is His very Spirit of Sonship that infuses you: “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!” (Gal. 4:6, RSV) Augustine said, “If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.” Consider even the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Irenaeus, which states, “The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Pet. 1:4): ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’” The early Church fathers clearly saw this exchange of the divine nature, as Athanasius boldly writes, “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God … He endured shame from men that we might inherit immortality.” And again we see Thomas Aquinas write, “The onlybegotten Son of God, wanting to make us share in His divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” This concept is highly prevalent in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, where it is known by the Greek term theosis, meaning “divinization” or “deification.” Of course, religious processes are quick to creep in – with a certain quota of prayer, fasting and asceticism folks think they are climbing into godhood. This is not proper theosis, but in fact idolatrous divination. There is no process to climb into this divinity. The only process is one of remembering as we hear the Word. We’re discovering the new creation reality of grace given us in the saving act of Jesus Christ. We are waking up to our infinite, immortal selves. Ours is a dependent divinity. No separate, individual godhood. There is no life apart from Mr. Life. It is all about relationship – being in Christ. Family. Union. Love. “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18). In no way does this relate to the self-realization movements of new age. It relates solely to looking at Jesus Christ, and when we see Him, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). We were not created with immor-
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tality, but we were created from immortality and for immortality. All our fountains are in Him. In the Family of the Trinity The Gospel “celebrates our pre-creation innocence and now declares our redeemed union with God in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:9, MB). Far from intangible or obscure, it is the declaration of our existence in the family life of the Trinity. C. Baxter Kruger writes: When Christianity says God, it says Father, Son, and Spirit, existing in a beautiful, intimate relationship of other-centered love expressing itself in boundless fellowship and unutterable oneness. It does not speak of a being that is isolated or unapproachable, detached or indifferent. It does not speak of a legalist, or a self-centered potentate, or an unmoved mover. God, for the Christian Church – at its best, anyway – is a relational being: three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, sharing life and all things in other-centered love and incomparable togetherness. But we dare not stop there. The minute we mention the eternal relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit, we have spoken volumes about the entire cosmos and the destiny of the human race. For this Trinitarian relationship, this abounding and joyous communion,
We must realize that our origin pre-dated our natural parents. You are of a divine DNA. Immortal spermata. A celestial, indestructible, incorruptible seed. this unspeakable oneness of love, is the very womb of the universe and of the humanity within it. Tertullian, around 200 A.D. wrote the following, “Only it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves. For we will be even gods, if we deserve to be among those of whom He declared, ‘I have said, “You are gods,”’ and ‘God stands in the congregation of the gods.’ But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us. For it is He alone who can make gods.” Religion throws you back upon yourself for salvation, continually navel-gazing in an endless attempt to climb the mountain. But Jesus blew the professional religious elite out of the water by saying, “No one knows the Father except the Son.” In one line, He invalidated all our human attempts at “knowing God.” Jesus came to know the Father for us, and to plug us into that eternal relationship. Whatever you think you know about God is wrong if it doesn’t look like Jesus. To see Him is to see the
Father. Yes, God interacts with all men indirectly even apart from their faith - by sustaining, protecting, guiding and wooing mankind to Himself. But we can never know God outside of Christ because He is the only clear and express image of the invisible God. He is the ultimate revelation by which the Father has chosen to show Himself. Our possession of the divine nature flows not alongside the Lord’s, but completely from His “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). And yet to see Him is to manifest His very likeness. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known” (John 1:18, NIV). So the crazy thing is, Christ is the revealed image of the invisible God. And now there will be a people whose eyes are fixed on Him, who can rightly say that to see us is to see the Father! Divine Origins Some wrongly believe the forbidden fruit tapped us into divine power. The Lord did not caution Adam against partaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because He feared our participation in the divine nature. That tree of law brought no such positive enlightenment. The fact is that Adam was already made in the divine image prior to the fall, and from God’s eternal perspective Adam was already restored in Christ before he ever fell. Tertullian writes: Now, although Adam was by reason of his condition under law subject to death, yet was hope preserved to him by the Lord’s saying, “Behold, Adam is become as one of us;” that is, in consequence of the future taking of the man into the divine nature. You go much further back than your parent’s decision. The brothers of Jesus – including James – rejected Him during His earthly ministry, familiar with Him only as a man of natural birth. But Jesus appeared to him after the resurrection enabling James to see that we did not begin in our mother’s womb. It was God’s delightful resolve to give birth to us; we were conceived by the word of truth (James 1:18, MB). Peter also recognizes this divine birth from above saying, “we were born anew by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, MB). Jesus is the firstborn from the dead – the firstborn of many brothers. But His sonship is unique in that our own sonship is dependent upon His. He did not merely come as one of many brothers – as one who ran His own course, showing you how to do the same. His death was of a special class as the Father’s Only Begotten. Fully God and fully man. In this One Man’s
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< Continued from page 10 death, an entire new humanity sprang forth in union with Him. Fully adopted in the family of God. Adoption: Huiothesia Our Western concept of adoption is far different from the Hebrew use of the word. Though it is one of the most cherished aspects of our faith, the true nature of adoption has been utterly misunderstood today. We thought that somehow we originated outside of God and were brought into the family. Our modern notion of adoption is a legal exchange when the child of one biological parent becomes the son of another biological parent. But you did not originate in satan. The devil created nothing. The accurate scriptural essence of adoption is simply realizing our true origin as He has seen it all along. A child begins as a teknon (a little child). But the word huiothesia (adoption) speaks of being openly recognized as a son and heir. It is connected with the idea of the bar mitzvah ceremony – where a boy is legally and openly recognized as a legitimate son, with all the rights of sonship. It’s not switching parents … it’s about realizing who you belonged to all along. The devil never owned you except in your fallen mind. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] (Eph 1:5 AMP). The thief never authentically possessed anything or anyone. You were sourced in God. We must realize that our origin pre-dated our natural parents. You are of a divine DNA. Immortal spermata. A celestial, indestructible, incorruptible seed. “These are they who discover their genesis in God beyond their natural conception! Man began in God. We are not the invention of our parents!” (John 1:13, MB) Consider the preceding verse, John 1:12, as we return to a more thorough explanation offered in Francois du Toit’s Mirror Bible: John 1:12 Everyone who 1realizes their association in Him, 6convinced that He is their 2original life and that 7His name defines them, 5in them He 3 endorses the fact that they are indeed His 4offspring, 2begotten of Him; He 3sanctions the legitimacy of their sonship. (The word often translated, to receive, 1lambano, means to comprehend, grasp, to identify with. This word suggests that even though He came to His own, there are those who do not 1 grasp their true 2origin revealed in Him, and like the many Pharisees they behave like children of a for-
eign father, the father of lies [Jn 8: 44]. Neither God’s legitimate fatherhood of man nor His ownership is in question; man’s indifference to His true 2origin is the problem. This is what the Gospel addresses with utmost clarity in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus has come to introduce man to himself again; humanity has forgotten what manner of man he is by design! [Jas 1:24, Deut 32:18, Ps 22:27]. Faith is not some intangible essence that you drum up to climb into this family. You do not self-spawn the new man. You had nothing to do with your natural birth; you have nothing to do with your spiritual birth. You were born from above. Faith is merely the lens to see this reality. That faith comes by hearing. Hearing the facts: that you have been woven into the life of God before you were even born.
You had nothing to do with your natural birth; you have nothing to do with your spiritual birth. You were born from above.
disclosure of our sonship – the manifestation of our inheritance. We don’t become sons … rather we are awakening to that sonship! Inheritance spills out through the revelation of what is already ours. The Weymouth translation says, “We wait and long for open recognition as sons through the deliverance of our bodies.” Visibly, outwardly seen in full force the reality of an adoption that has already taken place in Christ. And yet, we are not wasting away in a frustrated longing. “The joyful anticipation deepens. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy” (Rom. 8:18-25, MSG). C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 45. Augustine (c. 354 – c. 430) Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Irenaeus (2nd century – c. 202) Against Heresies (Book III, Ch. 19) taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995 ed.). iv Athanasius (c. 269 – c. 373) On the Incarnation (Ch. 8). v Thomas Aquinas, Opuscula Theologica (57:1-4). vi C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There is More Going on Here Than You Ever Dared to Dream (New York: FaithWords, 2012), 115. vii Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220) Adversus Hermogenem (Ch. 5). viii Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220) Adversus Marcionem (Book II, Ch. 26). i
We are awakening to our True Selves. The false self – under a false fatherhood of the adversary – has no substance. A lie only holds power to the degree to which you believe it has any power. We are awaking to our origin – breathed from His very substance, re-created and born anew in Him – the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world. Who recreated the cosmos and entrusted us with this ministry of reconciliation – to let the world know God does not hold their sins against them. To proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound in their hellish self-destruction.
Humanity has been in an identity crisis. But He came to awaken humanity to the truth – that we are a divine race. Heirs of an immortality that cannot be gained by human endeavor. Eternity is stamped on our souls and is “brought to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). We look just like our elder Brother. He has empowered us to be who we really are. There is a massive difference between becoming something and realizing who you were all along. Future Unveiling The entire Adamic race met its end in the Last Adam, and we have been raised to new life through Him who is the Firstborn over all creation. Now, that creation “waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19). The created order awaits the full revealing of our identity. We do not await our new birth. We are already sons. We await the full
This article excerpted from John Crowder’s new book, Cosmos Reborn. Available at: www.thenewmystics.com/books
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Itinerary Find the Party Near You!
Schools, conferences & mission trips with John Crowder
2014 Mystical School Germany
Mystical School New Jersey
East Coast Regional School
Mystical School St. Louis
Midwest Regional School
Mystical School Ireland
Ladyboy Love Mission
Mystical School Brisbane
Newly Relaunched – More User Friendly & More Features! We just overhauled the Inner Sanctum with lots of new features, including a social media platform where you can create a profile, share pictures and chat with friends 24-hours a day. Here is a list of upcoming live broadcast dates – so mark your calendar. This schedule is subject to change, so keep an eye on the Web site.
Australia Regional School
2015 Mystical School Houston
Texas Regional School
Mystical School Switzerland
Mystical School Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Mexico Mission Trip
March 29-April 4
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Mystical School Florida
Southeast Mystical School
Mystical School Chicago
Great Lakes Regional School
India Mission Trip
Schedule subject to change. Sign up for events early at:
www.thenewmystics.com 12 | the ecstatic : spring-summer 2014
Upcoming Broadcast Schedule: June 22 July 13 August 3 September 7 October 5 November 30 December 14
All seminars are held on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific
Mystical School Colorado
Live Monthly Web Conference: Interact With John Crowder Our interactive monthly Web seminar, Inner Sanctum, connects supernatural gospel grace drinkers all around the world on a regular basis. The live teaching and exclusive online chat features have enabled us to bring fresh revelation to viewers right to their homes, churches and house groups. Each month, we answer your burning questions and unpackage the glorious gospel in a fresh, intoxicating atmosphere of impartation and glory! If you’re diving into grace revelation and want to plug in deeper with lifechanging messages, we invite you or your group to join as a member of our online community at www.TheNewMystics.TV
Online Community ... Intoxicating Fun! Our ministry events are full of joy and impartation, but let’s face it ... you can’t make it to every conference in the world! Inner Sanctum is a way to plug you into a steady diet of gospel revelation right in your own home. Everywhere we travel, people are always asking us, “How can we stay connected with the Message?” The Inner Sanctum is a great tool as you grow in grace. Our Most Comprehensive Teaching Resource! Since we’ve launched Inner Sanctum at TheNewMystics.TV, we have posted more than 40 hours of archived teachings – and as a member, you receive instant access to watch all of this footage, anytime! Your monthly membership contribution ($19.95) also helps support our ministry endeavors all around the world! Gather your family and friends to enjoy each month’s event together! Each month, you can take part in our live, interactive seminars where John Crowder spends several hours engaging one-on-one with viewers right from his home study. Ask us your questions live for our real-time Q&A ... or just kick back and have a laugh as other members log in and join the fun. These are NOT recorded church meetings! Instead, John engages live-in-person with viewers, answering your questions and getting you activated in the gospel message. Join us as we savor the bliss of mystical Christianity and the supernatural realities of the new creation. Finally, a fun way to feast on the finished work no matter where you live!
Repairs Slated for Mumbai Orphanage
HELP US RAISE $10K With the generous support of our partners, Sons of Thunder will be taking on a big list of needed repairs to our Mumbai Children’s Home this summer in the nation of India.
paint and various repairs are needed to the groundfloor children’s rooms, ceilings, bathrooms and the compound wall. As health and safety concerns, these are mandatory construction needs.
Our Mumbai location is the first of our two homes for orphans run by SOT in the country. We built the large, two-story facility starting in 2007, quickly doubling its size in order to provide much needed housing for more abandoned children. We provide shelter, education, food, clothing and medical care for approximately 40 children at this location alone, along with support for two families and additional staff who live onsite and care for the youth. John Crowder made a recent visit to the home in September.
Several of the children at the home lost parents due to HIV. Others were rescued directly from brothels. Some of the children we first began caring for in 2007 have already graduated high school and are moving on to study for ministry.
In 2012, SOT took on a second location in India in the city of Rajahmundry, with an additional 18 children and full-time staff. Due to the intense nature of the Indian rainy season and surrounding wetlands, it is necessary to provide an exhaustive series of repairs to the Mumbai facility prior to the onset of next fall’s rains. Fresh plaster,
Aside from caring for orphans, SOT has long been invested in the nation of India, having watched more than 200,000 people respond to the Gospel in mass evangelism campaigns. We have also held equipping conferences for pastors, and SOT sponsors the rental of a local church facility for Joshua Generation Church, which is affiliated with the Mumbai home. In addition, we were able to purchase a large school bus for the children last year to provide regular transport school. Thanks to your support, SOT is making an impact where it is needed most. Every day, more than
16,000 children die of hunger related causes – that is one child every five seconds. More than 800 million go hungry each day. Around the world, more than 11 million children under the age of 5 die from preventable causes, simply because they are too poor to stay alive. Child prostitution exploits more than 400,000 children in India. The church has a mandate to spread the gospel to the poor, liberating captives and releasing the oppressed in a tangible way. Such statistics can seem paralyzing. But we have to begin somewhere. By starting with one child at time, we are making a difference that exponentially affects a cultural shift in society. By spending ourselves on the helpless, we see the face of God. Please consider helping us as we continue to invest in the poorest of the poor by becoming a financial partner or contributing a one-time gift to the ministry. Ours is a long-term commitment to these children, so your regular, faithful support is invaluable in making a real, life-or-death impact on their young lives. You can find out more about our children’s homes and provide a generous donation by visiting us online at: www.TheNewMystics.Com
the ecstatic : spring-summer 2014 | 13
In the Solitude of Being Excerpt from Out of Solitude
It is not so difficult to see that, in our particular world, we all have a strong desire to accomplish something. Some of us think in terms of great dramatic changes in the structure of our society. Others want at least to build a house, write a book, invent a machine, or win a trophy. And some of us seem to be content when we just do something worthwhile for someone else. But practically all of us think about ourselves in terms of our contribution to life. But although the desire to be useful can be a sign of mental and spiritual health in our goal-oriented society, it can become the source of a paralyzing lack of self-esteem. More often than not, we not only desire to do meaningful things, but we often make the result of our work the criteria of our self-esteem. When we start being too impressed by the result of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we become aware of it, we have sold our souls to
by Henri Nouwen
the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but of the world. Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says, “Thanks”. We are likeable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indispensable. In short, we are worthwhile because we have success. And the more we allow accomplishments – the results of our actions – to become the criteria of our self-esteem, the more we are going to walk on our mental and spiritual toes, never sure if we will be able to live up to the expectations which we created by our last successes. But to live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it. It is in solitude that this inner freedom can grow. Jesus went to a lonely place to pray, that is, to grow in the awareness that all the power he had was given to him; that all the words he spoke came from his Father; and that all the works he did
were not really his but the works of the One who had sent him. In solitude we can slowly discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to the voice of Him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the results of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It’s there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and that the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received.
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divine law—is compelled to take care of the children He has created. And that means not only caring for the good children, but for the bad ones and lost ones as well. If a person is a “lost sinner” it only means that by is temporarily separated from the Good Shepherd Steve McVey he who owns him. The Shepherd is bound by all duties We know that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all share of ownership to go after all those who are lost until the same essence. They live in complete openness they are found. and transparency among themselves. None has to inThe starting point for the sheep, the coin, and the form the others about things they don’t know because prodigal wasn’t their lostness but their belonging—dethey already all know. So for Jesus to be identified as spite their current status. In each case, their authentic the Word who already existed at the beginning is very identity was defined by their relationship to the one to significant. A word exists for the purpose of communiwhom they belonged. Notice that in these parables, cating to another—but each person in the Godhead alJesus never indicates that the shepherd of the lost ready fully knows everything the other persons know, sheep, the owner of the lost coin, or the father of the so why did this Word exist in the beginning? If Jesus, lost son were ever angry about the lostness of their as the Word, didn’t need to communicate anything to treasured possession. Far from it. They were driven the Father or the Spirit, to whom did He have someby a loving passion to recover what they loved—at thing to communicate? any cost. The answer is thrilling. The intended recipient of the Word is you. God had something He wanted to tell you When the shepherd finds the sheep, “he calls together before the first proton and neutron began to vibrate. his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice What was this important news He arranged to tell you with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” long before you were even here to tell? It is that He (Luke 15:6). When the woman lost the silver coin, she loves you – that He always has and always will. The carefully searches her house. “And when she finds fact that the Word was there from the very beginning, it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and and the fact that there certainly was nothing He need- says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin’” ed to communicate in Himself among the persons of (verse 9 NIV). When the father of the prodigal runs the Trinity, is the basis of this great gospel of love that out to meet his son, falls on him, and hugs him, he has the power to transform the whole cosmos. Look calls out to his servants, “This son of mine was dead back into the place before time began, and you’ll find and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (verse a loving God whose heart rejoiced at the thought of 24 NIV). bringing you into existence so He could share His love Lostness has no meaning apart from the reference with you. point of belonging. If belonging didn’t come first, nothTheologian (and my friend) Baxter Kruger makes this ing could be lost. This is true not only with sheep, coins and rebellious sons. It’s true with humanity itnote: self. Before we were ever lost in Adam, we already This decision flowing out of the being and character of belonged in Christ. Ephesians 1:4 is completely clear: God, this decision to share all that the Father, Son and “He [God the Father] chose us in Him [Jesus] before Spirit are and have together with us, and the relentless the foundation of the world.” To be chosen in Him determination that it would be so, is the true and prop- before the foundation of the world, we obviously had er context for the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ to be in Him before the foundation of the world. You died because the Father, Son and Spirit absolutely re- have always belonged. We all have. Always. fused to go back on their dreams for us. “For God so loved the world,” Jesus says, “that He gave His only The Initiator Son…” (John 3:16). Before creation, the Triune God In a wonderful and pivotal demonstration of grace, our decided that the human race would be included in the loving God took the initiative to deliver us from our Trinitarian circle of life and fullness and glory and joy. lostness. Jesus identified His mission, saying, “For And with that decision came a fire in God’s belly that it the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that would be so no matter what it cost. The Lamb of God which was lost” (Luke 19:10). To properly understand God’s nature, it is important to realize that He doesn’t was slain indeed before the foundation of the world. wait for us to make a move to resolve our problem of sin. As Pure Love, He acts independently of what we Being Lost Is All Relative Our God had an eternal dream that He would create do or don’t do. When humanity wasn’t seeking Him, you and bring you into the eternal circle of His love and He came looking for us! (See Romans 3:11.) life. That fulfillment of that dream initiated with Him, was activated by Him, is perpetuated by Him, and will The lost sheep did not find its way home. The lost coin be consummated by Him. The traditional language of could not find its way home. The prodigal son would the religious world speaks of finding God, but the truth not find his way home. Sure, he came to back to the house with a rote script he had prepared to garner a is that He is the One who has found us! good meal and a warm bed, but it’s totally possible to In Luke 15, Jesus demonstrated this very fact. He be at the house without really being home. He was spoke about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost truly home only after he gave up his silly notion that son. In each case, the word lost could be properly he needed to do something and he simply accepted used only because each thing was already objectively his father’s acceptance. connected to a place of belonging. A sheep that didn’t already belong to a shepherd wouldn’t be lost. It would Our triune God’s passion is to have us participate in simply be wild. A coin could be lost only if there was the dance, and that passion is so strong that He left an owner to whom it belonged. The prodigal son was nothing to chance. “While we were yet sinners, Christ considered lost only because his home was with a fa- died for us,” the apostle Paul explained (Romans 5:8). ther who had always known where his son’s life was He didn’t wait for us to ask for His help or even to be really rooted. Catherine Marshall wrote about this in sorry. her book Beyond Ourselves. God Is Love and… Nothing can be lost that is not first owned. Just as a God’s love isn’t predicated on our response. He loves parent is compelled by civil law to be responsible for because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This aspect of
Created as Objects of Love Excerpted From Beyond an Angry God
Why did He bring you into existence? It was simply to be loved. The quality of love shared among the members of the Trinity has always been perfect. There is no way it could be improved. Divine love can be nothing less than perfect love. In the beauty of the eternal plan, this love finds greater expression in quantity, not quality. The quality of love was impossible to enhance, but our wise God knew that the dance could be extended to include others, thus making it a shared experience beyond the Father, Son and Spirit. That’s where you come into the picture. Humanity was created to participate in the great dance. We did nothing to deserve to be included, but the fact that He has included us has beautifully expanded the dance of God into a dance of grace. Only a God who is pure love would do such a thing as that! The Father, Son, and Spirit already knew and enjoyed a perfect relationship, so why else would He purpose to create a species with which He might share this love? What could possibly motivate Him to want to expand the circle? Love—that is the only possible reason. Our God is a selfless, generous, other-centered, giving God. He didn’t need you. He wanted you! My friend Francois DuToit puts it well in his rendering of Ephesians 1:4-6 in the Mirror Bible. He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world! Jesus is God’s mind made up about us! He always knew in his love that he would present us again faceto-face before him in blameless innocence. He is the architect of our design; his heart dream realized our coming of age in Christ. His grace-plan is to be celebrated: he greatly endeared us and highly favored us in Christ. His love for his Son is his love for us. You aren’t simply a cog in the cosmic wheel. You are your Father’s dream come true! The apostle Paul described us as “God’s masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). You have been embraced and bound up in Jesus Christ and are now His very offspring (see Acts 17:28). You have been set in the place of a child who is loved and accepted by the Father just as surely as Jesus Himself knows that love and acceptance. Your place in the triune circle dance is as safe and secure as is the place of Jesus for the staggering reason that you are in Him. The Word for You If the news that God has always intended to include you in the circle of His Trinitarian life seems too good to be true, consider this biblical witness: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The New Living Translation renders the verse, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What is this Word that was already there at the moment the second hand ticked for the first time? You already know that the answer is Jesus. He was already there when the beginning took its first step into time. The biblical translators all know the verse is talking about Jesus. That’s why they all capitalize Word.
But the question is, why is Jesus called the Word? The answer to that, we must first define the meaning of the term itself. What is the meaning of word? It is the expressed embodiment of a concept conveyed from one person to another. In other words, it’s the way something in one person’s mind makes its way to the other person. his family and his property, so the Creator—by His own
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Meditations of the Mystics
An Interior Life of Stillness with Thomas Merton Loving others for what they are It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love others. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. It is pure affection, and filled with reverence for the solitude of others. Solitude and silence teach me to love others for what they are, not for what they say. The silence of the forest is my bride I live in the woods out of necessity. I get out of bed in the middle of the night because it is imperative that I hear the silence of the night, aloud, and with my face on the floor, say psalms, alone, in the silence of the night. ... The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in the silence. ... Vocation to Solitude Vocation to Solitude — To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars ... to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into the bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of life into a living and vigilant silence. An invisible fecundity in all visible things There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom . . . There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a foundation of action and joy. It rises up in gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being. The only true joy The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own fake self and enter by Love into union with the Life who dwells and sings with the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls. Prayer opens up new ways and horizons Prayer and meditation have an important part to
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play in opening up new ways and new horizons. If your prayer is the expression of a deep and graceinspired desire for newness of life — and not the mere blind attachment to what has always been familiar and “safe” — God will act in us and to prepare what we cannot yet imagine or understand. In this way our prayer and faith today will be oriented toward the future which we ourselves may never see fully realized on earth. Hope and silence Silence is the strength of our interior life . . . if we fill our lives with silence, then we will live in hope. Silence printed in the center of our being May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us. To do work carefully and well To do work carefully and well, with love and respect for the nature of my task and with due attention to its purpose, is to unite myself with God’s will in my work. I become an instrument for God to work through me. The real journey in life is interior The real journey in life is interior. It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative love and grace in our hearts. To keep a place where there is no noise Since noise is increasing in all directions, the psychology of silence has taken on a special meaning. We are already so adapted to an abundance of screeching sound that we are surprised when stillness suddenly envelops us. Not that this happens very often. We begin to see that the whole question of our relation to the world, both positive and negative, centers in something like silence. So our service to the world might be simply to keep a place where there is no noise, where people can be silent together. Not myself, but Love This will be my solitude, to be separated from myself so that I am able to love You alone, to love You so much that I no longer realize I am loving anything. I no longer desire to be myself, but to find myself
transformed in You, so that there is no “myself” but only Yourself. That is when I will be what You have willed to make me from all eternity: not myself, but Love. The things of time are in connivance with eternity The things of time are in connivance with eternity. There is a greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question. Eternity is in the present. Eternity is in the palm of the hand. Eternity is a seed of fire whose sudden roots break barriers that keep my heart from being an abyss. As ruined as my house is As ruined as my house is, You live there. Just be prayer If prayer is getting in your way, cut it out! Stop praying! Just BE prayer! The way of faith is necessarily obscure The way of faith is necessarily obscure. We drive by night. Our being is silent, but our existence is noisy Our being is silent, but our existence is noisy. Yet when our noisy actions stop, there is a ground of silence always there. Contemplatives must be in contact with that ground and communicate from that level to keep silence alive for other people. The only true joy on earth The only true joy on earth is the escape from the prison of our own false selse, and enter by Love into union with the Life who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls. Sources Cited: - Through the Year With Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Writings by Thomas P. McDonnell - Dancing in the Water of Life (The Journals of Thomas Merton) - Thoughts In Solitude by Thomas Merton - Hagia Sophia by Thomas Merton - Contemplation in a World of Action by Thomas Merton - New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton - The Springs of Contemplation by Thomas Merton - Dialogue with Silence by Thomas Merton
UPCOMING MISSION tRIPS Our application process is simple. Just visit us online at www.TheNewMystics.Com/missions and place your initial deposit of $500 for either trip to hold your spot on the team. Space will be limited on these trips, so check the cutoff deadlines for your deposits. These are “make your own way” trips, which means you will be responsible for purchasing your own airline ticket into Thailand or Mexico. We encourage folks to begin fund-raising at your local church or through family and friends who may want to support your mission, provide air miles, etc. Email us with any questions at email@example.com
John Crowder and Dave Vaughan are planning one of the wildest, most unusual mission trips … ever. We are venturing to Bangkok, Thailand this fall for a week of outreach and sharing the love of Jesus to the transgender ladyboys. Thailand is the international hub of gender bending – a worldwide center of sexual alterations. The capital gets more than 11 million foreign visitors per year – the focal point of the sex tourism industry. Prostitution increased dramatically during the Vietnam War. Since that time, the sex trade flourished and is tolerated by local law enforcement. Child sex trafficking thrives as Thailand holds one of the worst child sex records in the world. Amid this rampant sex industry are the ladyboys –a loose term for male homosexuals who dress as women. Large percentages have undergone some
John Crowder and the Sons of Thunder team are returning south of the border for another week of Holy Ghost fiesta in Mexico next April! This trip will be a time of transformation, power and deep siesta as we flow in the tangible weight of God’s glory. On this trip, we will minister to more than 3,000 people from every state of Mexico as we gather in Monterrey for an explosive time of miracle ministry, equipping and outreach to the poor. Our Mexico trip is extremely popular with its low cost and close proximity to the U.S. We are also encouraging youth groups, college students and young adults to join us on this trip (parental waiver option if under age 18). There is a high receptivity to the Holy Ghost wine and
degree of sex change from Thailand’s street surgeons. The term “ladyboy” applies to any intersex, transgender, transsexual or homosexual cross-dressing males. Thailand has the most transsexuals per capita in the world at 300,000500,000. Up to half of transgender people in the Asia-Pacific could have HIV. In November we head to the red light districts of Bangkok to share God’s loving presence, instilling identity, hope and honor – treating them like human beings who carry the image of their Creator. We long to awaken them to the truth of the True Self in Christ. Obviously, the ladyboy community is known for its glam, showmanship and flamboyance. As our team carries the happy, intoxicating joy of God’s presence, we honestly don’t know what to expect. This trip has
all the potential to have a ridiculous level of whack on it – it is perhaps one of the craziest ideas we’ve ever had. We recommend any potential applicants to have a good sense of humor and to expect the unexpected. There will be a lot of laughter – but this trip is only for the brave! Our goal is to release the True Party – to invite these loved of God to experience the divine pleasure for which they were created. Let us see Jesus Christ latent within the very margins of society! Total Cost: $2,000 Team Applications Due: AUGUST 31 Final Trip Payment Due: OCTOBER 1 Trip Dates: NOVEMBER 16-22 Registration: www.TheNewMystics.Com/Ladyboy
manifestations. On our last trip 30 miraculous gemstones were reported in the meetings. We’ve also witnessed many healings in Mexico – as extreme as eyeballs growing into people’s heads and the only place we have ever seen a confirmed healing of Down’s Syndrome. Last January we brought a team of 20 to rehab centers, prisons, slums and blew up a pastor’s conference with 125 leaders flying across the room smashing chairs and tables in the power of the Holy Ghost.
the cross and experience the manifest power of Holy Spirit.
SOT will be ministering at a massive national conference on the upcoming trip, preaching the gospel, healing the sick, ministering to the poor and equipping church leaders. Expect to get activated in the supernatural like never before as you are inundated by the revelation of the finished work of
Total Cost: $1,500 Team Applications Due: DEC. 31, 2014 Final Trip Payment Due: FEB. 1, 2015 Trip Dates: MARCH 29 – APRIL 4 Registration: www.TheNewMystics.Com/MX
We anticipate an intense, life-changing week for the team, as well as those to whom we minister. SOT has also made this the most affordable mission trip we have ever hosted to date. Our goal is to introduce as many as possible to the mission field, who otherwise may not ordinarily have the funds or ability to go – so we recommend everyone sign up early before it fills up.
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STILL DRUNK ON THE GOSPEL
Over the years we have endured much resistance and misunderstanding for our insistence that divine pleasure is the expected portion for the believer. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Is it not a marvel that the Lord began His earthly ministry by miraculously transforming 180 gallons of water into wine? What is the practical purpose? For 2,000 years the church has been trying to change it back again. The notion of a God whose ambition is the unbridled happiness of mankind offends us to the core. There is nothing balanced or sensible about this glorious Gospel. It is a message of extravagance, unfettered abundance and lavish scandal that God would pour the depths of His loving kindness on His creatures. That He would give His life unto death and graft us into the family of the Trinity. Heaven does not include a party. Heaven is a party. Martin Luther said the Gospel is nothing less than laughter and joy. Fr. Robert Capon said the Gospel is a joke! It is God’s laughter over the problem of the ages which He solved before it ever began. For the Fun of it There was no utilitarian purpose for the incarnation or death of Jesus. It was completely illogical by our standards. He could easily have clicked His fingers and cured Adam’s disease from the Lazyboy in the sky. He can do whatever He wants. Why did He step down and forever bond Himself with mankind? Why go to such depths and fervor to demonstrate His love? For the fun of it. For the sheer pleasure of union with humanity. The incarnation of Christ was not something He dreaded, like waking up for the office on Monday morning. In emptying Himself in kenosis – setting aside the fullness of His celestial glory to take up a human body – Christ was not begrudgingly clocking into work, muttering under His breath at the Father’s command. No, it was always
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by John crowder
his eternal intent and heart’s passion to become man that mankind might become everything that God is. “By grace and adoption man becomes God. … He took on my condemned flesh and endowed me with complete divinity,” wrote St. Symeon. “Our beatitude consists in the participation of divine happiness.” Catherine of Sienna writes, “O priceless Love! You showed Your inflamed desire when You ran like a blind and drunk man to the opprobrium of the cross. A blind man can’t see, and neither can a drunk man when he is fast drunk. And thus He [Christ] almost like someone dead, blind and drunk, lost Himself for our salvation!” Our limited view of the agony of the Passion has blinded us to the eternal joy of the Passion. For the joy set before Him – the eternal party – He endured the cross. Standing outside of time and space is an immemorial attribute of God: He was always the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. His very identity is summed up as the other-giving God of love whose very nature is to pour Himself out for His bride. There was not a moment of hesitation – for Jesus to step into the incarnation was akin to a child going to Disneyworld. His eternal dream and obsession was to enter your world and weave you into His. Tasting Mr. Grace For years, we too have been mesmerized by the wine of His love. In fact, this mystical pleasure of the divine presence is the very thing that ultimately wooed us into our present understanding of the Gospel of grace. We were not liberated from our legalisms by reading theology books or listening to better sermons by “grace preachers.” We were intoxicated by the fatness of His house – and since we had tasted and seen that God is good, the revelation of the finished work of the cross only made
perfect sense when we began to understand it theologically. Long before we had a theology of grace, we had tasted Mr. Grace. The old Orthodox theologian, St. Symeon, whom I’ve quoted above – spent a considerable time hammering out the importance of being led by Holy Spirit in the development of theology. The Word cannot be divorced from experience. More than words on a page, or a snappy quote regurgitated from a book … the Gospel is a revelation. It is an impartation. It has a frequency, a flavor, a sound. It must be drunk down and enjoyed! An Intoxicating Covenant For years we’ve been harassed for focusing on the wine of God’s presence. I didn’t make up the wine analogy … blame that one on the Bible. The scriptures brim over with the analogy of celebration and wine – the persons of the Trinity intoxicated with love for one another and drawn out of all sensibility, reason or pragmatism by their infatuation with mankind. Not only did Jesus start his earthly ministry with a banquet of wine … he also wrapped it all up in the end with drinks around the table with the boys. This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. … Drink ye all of it! Jesus didn’t pass around a butterscotch milkshake or a vanilla bean latte. Have you ever considered how scandalous this is? The New Covenant – your very faith – is symbolized by an intoxicant! Something that’s not even legal in most world religions! His Spirit is the wine. God is no prohibitionist; He’s the life of the party. Never trust a depressed theologian! These “worldly” symbolisms were always intended to offend because they fly in the face of every
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gnostic, religious, puritanical system hell-bent on rejecting the world. No, Jesus embraced the world with open arms. He plunged Himself into our bars, our mafia socials, our awkward family dinners and Joseph’s carpenter shop and baptized materialism by assuming into Himself our material world. The symbolism offends us because it echoes that truth we all know deep inside yet stubbornly cover our ears from hearing … that God is in a good mood and He’s madly in love with us. Why would we run from such a positive announcement? Because it is not really rejection we ultimately fear – but total acceptance.
Because He was God … He emptied Himself. Do you see? Christ was not acting against His nature in emptying Himself to the point of death. Quite the opposite! By very nature, He is the God who divests Himself in love to others. Because in fact He is God, it is His very nature not to exploit His status as God! Kenosis – self emptying – is not just something He did as an act. It is something that He is by nature. The cross was not merely a one-off event that Christ accomplished – His very nature is cruciformity! He wasn’t going against His character on the tree. He embodied His very character on the tree.
It is too overwhelming an idea that the colossal weight of divine love is aimed right at us like furious, unrelenting storm – utterly unwilling to take “no” for an answer. But you cannot avoid the inescapable love of God any more than you can stop Him from being Mr. Love.
We see that the actions and the person of Christ are one in the same. When we see that Christ’s very nature is cruciform – that the exhilarating joy of God is to always pour Himself out – we learn something about who we really are as well!
Kenotic and Cruciform Inebriated with His consuming fixation toward you, it was only right that He would pursue mankind in the lostness of our hardheaded spiral into darkness. It was not unlike God to leave His lush heavenly abode in order to come walk with us.
Inebriated with His consuming fixation toward you, it was only right that He would pursue mankind in the lostness of our hardheaded spiral into darkness.
Although he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to but emptied himself (kenosis), by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:6-7). Our perception of God is that He acted against His very nature to begrudgingly step down and rescue us. Because He’s benevolent, He threw us a bone, but it was just a random act of kindness. Or as the hyper-Calvinist believes, God didn’t owe any of us anything, so we should just be glad he chose a select few to be saved, while burning all the rest! Although He was God he emptied Himself (kenosis). Notice the contrast and paradox here. Although He was a powerful entity, He gave up its benefits. This is indeed paradoxical – as if you have two separate agendas going on – as if He was acting against His very celestial nature to humble Himself and die. But hold on … Let us revisit the verse above! The word “although” in this passage is better translated as “because.”
His Cruciform Nature is Ours We are created for an ecstatic life of pleasure as we lose ourselves – empty ourselves – like men who are blind and drunk with love for humanity. The true source of our joy is found in this Gospel identity: our old nature was crucified with Him and He has given us His very nature! As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). I am just like Him. His very image and body on planet earth. Therefore, my True Self is also kenotic and cruciform! By very nature I thrive with passion when I am spending myself for someone else – my eyes bloodshot and love drunk for the poor, the broken and the hungry. Drunk on the senseless fun of Gospel participation, I consume His never-ending love for me and I spill it right back out to the human family. It is quite obvious to me, as we have developed our understanding of this Gospel message over the past some-odd years, that many are learning a language – but they are not drunk on the Substance. So many amateur theologians – many who would even claim to walk in my footsteps – are ripping
and tearing at religion with every Facebook post and Tweet. There is truly a season of deconstruction in the church where we’ve re-evaluated so many doctrines and dogmas that needed overhaul. But at the end of the day, all of our self-important pot shots at the machine of religion get lost in a sea of irrelevant voices if we have not learned one thing … have we learned to love? There’s only one place to learn that lesson. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Behold Love – selfless and mesmerized by every intricate aspect of your being. It is only in drinking in His tangible love for you that you will ever know what it means to love others. Grace Language or Substance? We must not replace our dry doctrines with lessdry doctrines. We cannot so attempt to articulate this New Covenant in words that we miss it in silence and awe and wonder. “O what intoxication of light, O what movements of fire!” said Symeon … Grace is a pure drink. Not mere theory or ideology … He is a person. Real. Present. The True Gospel always resonates in the spirit of a man and makes his heart sing unbiddingly. Now is not the time to polish up our sermons and social media posts and turn “grace” into the latest trend to build bigger ministries that offer easy answers. It is not a time for relentless debate and petty explanations for the inexplicable. Yes there is a clarity of Gospel revelation that is waking us up from the striving superstitions of our past. But the Gospel has not tasked us to explain away all its beautiful intricacies or to package up the Person of Jesus in a little analytical room in our head called “Grace theology.” The True Gospel manifests in a radical sense of amazement. It overhauls our entire lives and hurtles us forward with a compulsion to be those kenotic, self-giving lovers. Theology alone cannot inspire this, nor any sense of religious duty. Now is not the time to sober everyone up by making the Gospel of grace a passing “trend” – for it is not a passing commodity. Let us recover awe and wonder and transcendent intoxication. Now, like always, is really about shutting up and getting on with the Feast.
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Order today at: www.TheNewMystics.Com/JoyPod < Continued from page 15
Otherwise, God is part love and part something else.
God’s nature is the benchmark from which we interpret everything else that can be known about Him. Is love simply one of God’s characteristics? Or instead, does John’s statement speak to the core essence of who He is? Are there other aspects of His nature that need to be seen in balance with the reality of His love? The answer is a resounding no.
Pure Love If I handed you a glass of water and told you it was pure, you would assume nothing else was in the glass but pure water. If the glass contained anything other than water, even in small traces, I wouldn’t be honest calling it pure water. Is God pure love or not? Of course He is. If anything that contradicts love were present in Him, we couldn’t truthfully say that He is pure love. We would have to say He is part love and part something else. The very idea is a scary thought.
Love is our God’s DNA. “God is love” is the most definitive statement that can be said about Him. Some may think that to suggest that love is the defining factor of everything that can be known about Him is shortsighted and dangerous. They may argue that God has other aspects of His nature that need to be seen in balance with His love. In particular, many people point to His justice and wrath. Critics contend that by focusing on His love to such an extent presents a lopsided view of who He is. In reality, their own viewpoint creates the exact problem they fear. Those who attempt to align justice, wrath, or any other divine qualities alongside His love as separate but equal realities malign His true nature. Even topics like justice and wrath can be understood by recognizing divine love as the fountainhead from which they flow. Love isn’t a part of the divine nature. It is His nature. Think of it like this. Imagine you’re using a pie to illustrate God’s essence. How would you show the places His love, justice and wrath hold in His nature? Would you divide the pie into three equal pieces? Or would you have a very large piece of the pie signify His love and two smaller pieces represent His justice and wrath? How would you divide the love, justice, and wrath of God? The fact is, such a division doesn’t exist in God’s divine nature. Instead, the entire piecrust is the love of God, and every other aspect of His nature is a piece of the pie. In other words, God’s justice, wrath, holiness, sovereignty and all the other traits that can be known about Him must be understood as parts of His love.
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What if God were part love, but other aspects of His character contrasted with love, as some theological constructs suggest? How would we know that at any given moment, we might see a side to God that we don’t want to see? How could we ever rest in peace about our relationship to Him? How could we be sure that we would be only the objects of His love and not the targets of things that came from a place other than love? Can you imagine a deity dealing out something that didn’t come from love? It’s the kind of thing you might find in horror movies. My whole life was revolutionized the day I sincerely and irrevocably believed that God is love. Until then, my confidence in the constant expression of His love could be so easily shaken. My circumstances occasionally made me wonder. Sometimes an Old Testament verse tripped me up and caused me to doubt. At other times I saw things going on in the world around me that I couldn’t reconcile with the existence of a God who really is pure love. The time came, however, when I put my eyes on Jesus. We have seen that He is the “exact representation of [the Father’s] nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Because that is true, the question is, did Jesus leave out part of who His Father is? If He did, and if His Father has a dark side that Jesus didn’t bother to mention or show us, that was a big omission! Reasonable people could even say it would have been dishonest to leave out such information while telling us, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus didn’t do
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that. You can count on it. There is no other side to God that Jesus didn’t reveal. Don’t let anything other than Jesus Himself be your source for understanding who the Father is. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Even insights gained from the Bible are rightly understood only through Jesus. He came to show us the Father, and what He has shown us perfectly and clearly is that our Father is love. That’s it—nothing more, nothing less. To suggest that focusing exclusively on the love of God as the totality of His being leaves out something is to insult Divine Agape. Love is His fundamental makeup. Everything that can be known of Him must be seen through the lens of agape, or we end up presenting a god with a multiple personality. Jesus proved that God is pure love by coming into this world. The day came when “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) to communicate this divine love, which would not be squelched. Rejection didn’t still it. Death didn’t stop it. Even hell couldn’t stall it. The only thing left is for us to receive it—to receive Him. The dance of God has become a dance of grace. The eternal melody of love that defined the Father, Son, and Spirit was never intended to be enjoyed only among the Trinity. The harmonious, transcendent beauty of the Great Composition was to sound forth from the boundless realm of eternity and enter a tiny room of space and time and, even more amazingly, enter into the individual hearts of beings within that room who were created for no other reason than to participate in that dance of love. This article excerpted from Steve McVey’s latest book Beyond an Angry God available at www.vivifire.com i Francois DuToit, The Mirror Bible (Francois DuToit: Hermanus, South Africa: 2014, 2012). ii C. Baxter Kruger, Jesus and the Undoing of Adam (Jackson: Perichoresis Press, 2001). iii Catherine Marshall, Beyond Ourselves (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell Co. 1994).
NEW BOOKS FROM JOHN & LILY CROWDER! Grace for the Contemplative Parent
New book from Lily Crowder now available!
A much anticipated book from Lily Crowder, Grace for the Contemplative Parent, based on Brother Lawrence’s classic Practice of the Presence of God, is geared for real-time moms whose lives are full of dirty diapers and soccer practice. Don’t have luxurious hours of quiet time like a 17th century monk? You are not missing out. The gospel awakens us to the very real presence of Christ in our everyday, seemingly “mundane” state of affairs. Full of practical, down-to-earth, real-life examples and wisdom from a mother of four, Lily draws readers to the simple awareness of God’s presence in the dayto-day role of parenting. Experience fulfillment of a Holy Spirit saturated life in the midst of doing laundry! Realizing the grace of the gospel and our effortless union with Christ enables mothers to enjoy and rest secure in their spirituality. Religion-free parenting. Letting go of guilt and shame. It’s all found in the finished work of the cross. $14.95 (Ships in September)
Cosmos Reborn New book from John Crowder now available!
Need a religious detox? Have a dose of happy theology on the new creation! A grace-centered look at regeneration, the new creation and the new birth. Christ cured the human condition. The book explores the universal scope of the cross - if one died for all, then all died! “For God was in Christ reconciling the cosmos to Himself.” Dispel the myth of a dark, schizophrenic god of religion. This book makes a scandalous case that the Father of Jesus Christ is in a good mood. Though we opposed Him as “enemies in our minds,” God never set Himself against us as our enemy. Adam was breathed from the very life of God, and it has always been the Creator’s intent to restore humanity to the bliss and immortality of its divine origin. In the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God included you and absorbed the entire created order into Himself, bringing an end to decay and corruption. Mortality has been swallowed up by immortality. $19.95 Hardback (Ships in September)
Both Brand New Releases Now Available!
Get them both at www.TheNewMystics.com/Books
Latest Digital Releases
John Crowder’s Joy Clinic
Contemplating the Mystery
The Divinity of Humanity
New Covenant Intercession
Three-Part Extended Teaching Set
The Divine Dance of Theology and Contemplation
Immortality and the True Origin of Sonship
Prayer Through a Finished Work Perspective
Do you suffer from Religion, Burnout, Boredom, Depression, Unbelief or Legalism? Looking for a quick, easy remedy that seems too good to be true? This is just what the doctor ordered! In this three-part series John lays out a multi-dimensional gospel feast. Covering new creation realities and the joy of the glorious gospel, he addresses the identity of the believer and dispels the theological myth of an angry, schizophrenic God.
Contemplation is the practice of His presence. Christ is the object of our contemplation. Our intersection between the seen and the unseen, the finite and the infinite. Contemplation - as a mode of enjoyment - is never an end in itself. It does not exist if it is detatched from the Person who is contemplated or enjoyed. And theology is not to become mere intellectualism. When Christ is given His place, the scriptures find their place.
Mankind was breathed from the very substance - the very Pneuma - of God. We find our original identity not in Adam, but in Christ. Created in His image, we existed in His heart and imagination from the foundation of the world. Before we ever fell in Adam, we were found in Christ. But humanity has been in an identity crisis ... wake up to the reality of who we always were from His perspective. We are remembering our origin.
Prayer is summed up in the Practice of the Presence of God. Mankind is not helping God out in prayer. Prayer is an assertion of our dependence and union in Him. It is about intimacy and relationship, not mere verbal, external exercise. Scripture tells us that we have become a prayer - you are an aroma of Christ unto God! Learn the difference between Doing Prayer versus Being Prayer. See prayer through the lens of grace.
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
the ecstatic : spring-summer 2014 | 21
Seven Spirits Burning
The New Mystics
The Ecstasy of Loving God
John’s long-awaited Seven Spirits Burning is an extensive, Biblical plunge into the nature and operation of the sevenfold Spirit of God. This book unpackages a deep theological and Christocentric understanding of the seven Spirits. John has taught for years on the seven Spirits, but not until now has he released this detailed compilation of his study and experience. This book could possibly be the magnum opus of anything written to date on the Spirit’s sevenfold nature.
When you think of the cross, do you think of fun? Get ready for the gospel as you’ve never heard it. With clear revelatory truths on the New Creation and the scandalous joys of the cross, Mystical Union promises to be one of John’s most revolutionary, lifechanging works. The happy gospel of grace is about uninterrupted union with the Divine. This book lays out our most core beliefs. It promises to wreck your theology and cheer you up with undeniable Biblical truths on the free gift of perfection.
God has destined you to live in the joyful radiance of Himself, just as Adam was called to live in the realm of Eden. Ecstasy, or “extasis,” is the Greek term for trance, and is linked with a pleasurable, God-given state of out-of body experience recorded throughout the New Testament and the church age. In this book, John takes us on a journey from Old and New Testament ecstatic prophets to the future ecstatics who will usher in a massive wave of harvest Glory to the streets in these last days.
$19.95 + Shipping Hardback New Release Buy It At: TheNewMystics.com
$19.95 + Shipping Hardback New Release Buy It At: TheNewMystics.com
Two thousand years of miracle workers and seers crammed into one generation. The fiery bowls of heaven are being poured out through an of spiritual anextreme extremebody body of spiriforerunners. Are you to walk tual forerunners. Are called you called to among them? Miracle Workers, walk among them? Miracle WorkReformers and and the the New Mystics ers, Reformers New Myscontains more than tics contains more than70 70 photos, illustrations, illustrations, and biographies of men and women whose lives have demonstrated the phenomenal throughout the Let their stories theages. ages. Let their stoinspire you you. to join their ranks as ries inspire part of this revival generation. $15.95 + Shipping $15.95 + Shipping Buy It At: TheNewMystics.com
Learn about the sevenfold Spirit
A scandalous message!
Be part of a supernatural generation
Trances, raptures & divine pleasures
$19.95 + Shipping Buy It At: TheNewMystics.com
DVDs Digital Downloads
Renewing the Mind
Manifested Sons of God
The New Ecstatics Living in the bliss of Heaven Hearing God for Dummies Raising Family in Grace
word of truth, we “know the truth” and
miraculous inheritance in Romans 8 from a finished work perspective. $65 + Shipping
tures Q&A and practical tips on pracreleasing faith for all the breakthrough ticing the presence at home. Christ has already accomplished. $65 + Shipping
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
New Creation School of the Cross
Manifestations of Glory Includes unusual miracle footage
New Covenant Prophetic Insights Georgian & Winnie Banov and This is our most comprehensive video Effortlessly series to Shine Ministers include John Crowder, The GospelJoshua at Home Mills, with JohnJohn & Lily Crowder, Gospel Joy Explosions to the Brain in the Supernatural Life Ben Dunn a heavy of God the truth in date. is a compendium of amore than All 16 ofhours Rael, Kaye & Ben explore The It renewal of the mind is happy creationLucy awaits the Georgian “revealing”Banov, John and Beyer Lily Crowder the provide Get practical tipsdrink on how speaks ofthe our drunkest new sparking wine extravaganzas yet. Dunn. Watch demonstrations of the and superjourney of having our thought life of your sonship. You werevisible created topic of marriage familyone life in to people, prophetic sensiThegospel Lord is releasing a company of Much people cross, new creation realities supernatural living natural,life. including the “blood sign,” or stigmata, as The infused with the joy of our and salvation for the supernatural Manifesting grace and glory of God. tivity to hear His voice. of who the from Crowder and Ben Dunn. is identity it appeared, as wellasas gold dust, liberates oil and other and John saturated with the revelation of Kainos our divine is as effortless radically parents from the prophetic movement gets derailed in our truewith identity in Christ. Tired guaranteed of sturealizing we really are Get – adoptstress andsupernatural fear of religious perforold clean covenant styledrink future-telling, This is a good, gospel with tonsbut of packed fresh revelation to turnwhophenomena. activated in the pid thinking that produces strife andyoured heirs entrusted withyour authority in mance, infusing identity foraliving new covenant people are emerging impartation in the supernatural realms of your world upside down, reformat theology and have faith supercharged. You arechildren called with tension? wewith staythe plugged into the heaven and earth. John explores our realms! and life. This extended teaching feawho point backward His presence. Get can a big dose of joy! to the cross, and infuseAs you bliss of salvation. to manifest the unseen
the truth sets us free. $99.95 + Shipping
22 | the ecstatic : spring-summer 2014
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
The Election Series
Mystical Union Audiobook
Drunken Theology 101
Freedom From God Pleasing
Seeing Romans 9-11 Through a New Lens
Read by John Crowder
Extended Teaching on the Cross
Delivered from Religion
Romans 9-11 contains some of the most difficult and misunderstood concepts ... In this 5-part series, John Crowder shoots religious cows on every side of the debate - cheering up your perspective of God, hell and predestination. Going beyond the Calvinist-Arminian-Universalist debate John presents a strong hope in Christ - the Vicarious Man, who is both Elector and Elected. This is one of our most stretching teaching sets.
In this audiobook recording, listen as author John Crowder reads his newest release, Mystical Union. The gospel is a mystical message, based on an instant and effortless union with God achieved at Christ’s cross. There is a delicious feast prepared for the believer. This book threatens to turn your Christianity upside down. Makes a great easy listening audio companion to the hardback book.
Get new creation foundations for your bliss as John expands on the revelation of the gospel in this twohour teaching session from Australia. Tap into the mysticism of St. Paul, the glorious drink of divine union and the beautiful gift of perfection. This is a powerful summation of finished works theology that will cheer you up, infuse you with joy and transform your understanding of Christianity.
We hear much talk in the church about our need to get delivered from man-pleasing. And it is true that many have a fear of man that keeps them enslaved to other people’s opinions. But there is a much larger problem in the church than “man pleasing” - it is the problem of “God pleasing.” John Crowder tackles this subject head-on, in light of the finished work of the cross.
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Drink Grace Straight
The Seven Spirits of God
And the Graven Image of the Law
Revelations of the Glory
Condensed Audio Teaching
SOS Electronica Music
Ever notice that religious folk are usually not creative? Longing for the Spirit of Creativity - the Spirit Himself - to manifest more through your life? Often, what Christian artists deem to be “creative” is really just a dead, copycat repetition of types and shadows. But now, since you are restored to the true image of God in Christ, you can manifest a fresh expression of the divine.
The knowledge of the Glory of God is filling the earth in this hour. Ever wonder what the “knowledge of the Glory” actually is? It is the pure revelation of the gospel. Grace has to be drunk straight. Any mixture of law added to your pure drink of grace, and it ceases to be true grace. Drink deep of the gospel revelation in this teaching!
A great companion teaching to John’s latest book, Seven Spirits Burning, this mp3 audio teaching gives a clear, consolidated understanding on the Seven Spirits of God. Drawing from numerous Biblical passages, John gives detailed revelation on the sevenfold, while activating listeners in a dynamic encounter with the presence of God.
This electronica music album brings us the words of history’s greatest mystics as they explored the House of Wine in Song of Solomon. Canticles, is by far the favorite book of the church’s mystics, with centuries of meditations and dialogue written on its themes of divine intimacy. Trance out as John Crowder reads their meditations on the topic of heavenly inebriation.
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
Digital download only at johncrowder.net
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The Ecstatic • Spring/Summer Edition 2014