Sunday, 31 July 2016

Viewing OT Prophecy from the Pinnacle of the NT

Old Testament prophecies sometimes dealt with a number of different themes in the same passage:
Israel's captivity.
Israel's restoration from captivity.
The rebuilding of the Temple.
Gentile proselytes to Judaism making annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to keep the Feast, after the Jews' return from captivity.
The destruction of the Jews' enemies.
The ministry and suffering of Messiah.
A remnant of Jews believing.
Gentiles hearing and believing.
Again, the destruction and scattering of the Jews.
The ultimate coming and Kingdom of Messiah.
Even the new heavens and earth.
Two or three such themes in the same passage, sometimes!
Without the New Testament, it wouldn't have been possible to rightly divide it.
Not even Jesus' disciples understood that Messiah had to die, despite having been with him for three years - until after His resurrection: then they understood it, when He expounded the Old Testament Scriptures to them, and opened their eyes to understand it.
The Old Testament can only be rightly understood and applied, in light of the teaching of the New Testament.
The teaching of the New Testament - its doctrine, and its view of history is that:
The second coming of Christ and His Kingdom is still future;
But Christ has already come the first time, and inaugurated that Kingdom-salvation;
He came the first time into a setting of history when Israel had already been restored to their land; already functioning in their Temple; Gentile proselytes were already making pilgrimage;
The good news of the Kingdom was announced first in Israel - but only believing-Jews experienced it;
Then Gentiles also heard, and believed;
Then the Jews' Temple and city were again destroyed;
But this good news of the Kingdom continues to be preached among all nations;
And then the end shall come;
But only the born-again shall see the Kingdom of God.
The Apostles' doctrine enables us to rightly divide the prophetic Word.
It tells us what is now past; and what is yet to come.
It puts the focus on one thing and one thing alone: salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of ethnicity, and without the rituals of the Law.

Early Lesson in Faith

When I was a child... dad was driving us to church.

It was a Sunday. And it was summer. We drove past the swimming pool, and saw a crowd of people there.

"One day we'll have that many people at church," dad said.

And I heard it.

His words sunk deep into my ears - into my very spirit.

And it came to pass!

That was one of my first lessons in faith.

"For verily I SAY unto you, That whosoever shall SAY unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he SAITH shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he SAITH" (Mark 11:23).

Zechariah 14:16

16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Nations had already come against Jerusalem. That is how the Jews came to be taken captive!
One day God eventually gave the Jews victory over all their enemies though - in all 127 provinces spanning from Ethiopia to India. The Bible even lists the numbers who were killed.
Many Gentiles in those nations became proselytes to Judaism during those years (the books of Daniel and Esther give us the history);
Then after the Jews' return from captivity, those proselytes began making annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to keep the Feast. (Examples are described as late in history as Acts chapters 2 & 8. Many of the nations are even named.)
When you think about it, not one of those Kingdoms which had oppressed Jerusalem still exist any more!
And needless to say, no-one has made pilgrimages to any Temple at Jerusalem to keep the Feast for the past 2,000 years almost.
The fulfilment of that detail of Zechariah's prophecy is in the past.
So also is the fulfilment of the detail of his prophecy which described Messiah's first coming.
Zechariah's prophecies set the stage of history on which Messiah was to come - and He did come, Jesus Christ.
All we wait for now is His second coming, which is also something all the Prophets foresaw.
This is called "rightly dividing the word" - using New Testament teaching as our guide.
Without the New Testament, we can't accurately apply the various details in Old Testament prophecy.

Inaugurated Eschtology - Dominion Theology - Dispensationalism

Inaugurated Eschatology differs from Dominion Theology in that it makes more of the fact that we are still looking forward to the Kingdom at the second coming, in the eternal state.

But Inaugurated Eschatology also differs from Dispensationalism, in that it regards the Kingdom of God as something only the born-again can see.

It also gives us an understanding that the Gospel is a direct part of the fulfilment of the Kingdom-scheme of things - the Gospel is not merely some unforeseen parenthesis added only while we wait for God to resume His interest in Kingdom matters at some future time. 

The Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom!

The Gospel - comprising of Christ's first and second comings - with the necessity of faith - and the inclusion of Gentiles - without the rituals of the Law - as the means of entering His Kingdom when He comes the second time - is precisely the way God intended to fulfil Israel's Kingdom-promises.

Sanctification by Faith Alone

Some Hebrew-Roots people concede that justification is by faith - but claim sanctification is by the Torah.

But Paul told the Galatians that having begun in the Spirit (that is by faith, by the Gospel), it was foolish of them to think they could now be perfected by the flesh (that was, by rituals of the Law).

The thing that saved us in the first place, is the same thing that will take us on to perfection! 

Which is Jesus, not the Torah.

Faith, not ritual.

Paul also told the Hebrews that " one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified".

So sanctification also - not only justification - is provided by faith in Jesus Christ - not by the rituals of the Torah. 

Comment from Paul Pomerville

The plot of the Book of Acts was:

"Jesus' good news of the kingdom of God that he declared was present at his coming in the first century."

On the Acts 15 conflict:

"it put Jesus' good news of the kingdom of heaven in bold relief, showing an "already" and "not yet" aspect of his kingdom."

Dispensational theology:

"puts Israel even before Jesus Christ as the mid-point in salvation history and its theology marginalises his present kingdom as well as the NT itself in its theology"

How the Apostles Understood the Old Testament

The apostles didn't see Israel's promised salvation and kingdom as something delayed until the future - rather they saw the promise as fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, and as already experienced by Israelis, though not experienced by the nation as a whole, but by those who believed. Then Gentiles also believed in the same Kingdom-hope, and had the same Kingdom-experience.

Believing was then the prerequisite for participation in the kingdom when it ultimately comes in consummation, at Christ second coming.

Believing didn't involve becoming obligated to Moses' rituals.

That whole scenario fulfilled Bible-Prophecy exactly.

Re-read the Old Testament Prophets in light of that new Testament interpretation!

Rightly Dividing the Old Testament

Zechariah's prophecy about nations keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and being cursed if they don't, is not necessarily in the future, "after" Christ's return, just because the rest of the passage describes things which seem eschatological. The Prophets sometimes discussed two or three themes in the same passage. 

If everything in such passages is still future, then Jesus was too early to be Messiah - because the Prophets sometimes spoke about Messiah's coming in the same passage as they spoke about still-future things. And that's the position of Orthodox Judaism.

But that's an impossible position - and it wasn't the position of the Apostles - nor of our Lord.

Rightly dividing Old Testament prophecy is really only possible in light of New Testament teaching, as given by Jesus and the Apostles. The New Testament rules-out a return to the shadow, to Judaism, in future.

The New Testament teaches that while we still await the second coming and eternal Kingdom, Messiah has already come and inaugurated the prophesied Kingdom-scheme - in those who believe: and without the rituals of the Law. 

This good news of the Kingdom was announced to Jews first (fulfilling Promise and Prophecy); then also to Gentiles (also fulfilling Promise and Prophecy).

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Is Ezekiel's Temple Still Future?

Ezekiel was describing a vision - he wasn't writing in prose. So his descriptions didn't all need to be taken literally.
Ezekiel wrote for Jews of the captivity, expecting them to act on the inspiration provided by his prophecies. They couldn't act on it, if it was all for a still-future time.
And they did act on it. A temple was rebuilt. A Levitical priesthood was resumed. The Bible provides the history (in Ezra, Nehemiah, and in the New Testament histories).
If it's all still future, it would mean the prophets had nothing to say to Jews of the captivity at a time when they needed it most.
It would also have been deceptive, because the prophecies, written to them, read like it was intended for them.
If it's all future, it would also imply a return to the shadow in future - to Old Covenant worship. (Because it mentioned blood sacrifices - not for memorial, but for atonement.) But the Apostles' teaching rules out any validity for that.
If it's all still future, it would imply Jesus was too early in history to be Messiah - because according to prophecy, Messiah was to come in the historical context of an already regathered Israel, an already-rebuilt temple and an already re-instituted Levitical priesthood.
No. The witness of the New Testament is that God had indeed fulfilled His promises to Israel - by regathering them, by reinstating them under the Old Covenant, then by sending Messiah to redeem them - and His Name is JESUS.
But only believing Jews received Him. Gentiles also heard, and believed. They were saved by faith, without the rituals of the Law.
Now we all - in one new body, one new identity, the Church - only await His second coming and Kingdom.
Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Past, Present, Future

Our future in the new earth will not involve continuously carrying-out the ancient Feast of Tabernacles, and being cursed if we don't - that was only a shadow of what was to come.

Rather, we shall eternally enjoy God's real tabernacling - His actual dwelling among us!

Meanwhile, we've already come to participate in that future blessing spiritually, right now, since the Spirit of our Father and of Jesus came to dwell in our hearts - through faith, without the deeds of the Law. That's the good news of the Kingdom!

That particular detail in Old Testament Prophecy (about Gentile proselytes from many nations making annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to keep the Feasts) was literally fulfilled in Old Covenant times, beginning after the Jews' return from captivity - the history is provided for us in Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Esther and Acts 2:10, 8:27.

Feast of Tabernacles?

Our future will not involve eternally carrying-out the ancient Feast of Tabernacles, and being cursed if we don't - that was only a shadow of what was to come. Rather, we shall eternally enjoy God's real presence - His tabernacling - His dwelling among us! Meanwhile, we have already come to participate in that blessing spiritually, through the indwelling Spirit of our Father and of Jesus in us! through the Gospel, without the deeds of the Law.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Paul's Gospel v Modern Theologies

Paul's Gospel:

While we still await the consummation of the Kingdom of God (denies Full-Preterism)...

...there has already come the inauguration of the Kingdom-scheme through the Person of Jesus Christ, through His cross (denies Orthodox Judaism; Full-Futurism; and Dispensationalism)...

...the Kingdom-message was received first by believing Jews, in Israel, fulfilling Kingdom-prophecy (denies Dispensationalism; and also strict versions of Covenant Theology and Replacement Theology, if they cannot acknowledge that Prophecy required the first church to be in Israel, and afterwards among the Gentiles)...

...and then the same message of the Kingdom was received by Gentiles, also fulfilling Promise and Prophecy, together in one new identity, the Church, His body...a salvation which need not involve the deeds of the Law (denies Dispensationalism; Hebrew Roots Messianic Judaism; and Orthodox Judaism)...

...for all nations alike (denies Dual-Covenantism)...

and then Christ and His Kingdom shall ultimately come, as Prophesied - but only the saved shall enter it, as Jesus said (denies Dual Gospel-ism: denies that there's any distinction between Paul's Gospel and Jesus' Gospel).

The Book of Acts and Paul's Gospel

There actually seems to be a developing plot to the Book of Acts.

The plot reflected Paul's theology and purpose - not surprising, seeing the author had been a traveling companion of Paul's.

The story begins in Jerusalem exclusively - and ends among the Gentiles, in Rome, the capital of the Gentile world.

It begins with the Promised Kingdom-salvation being experienced in Israel - but only within a nucleus of believing Jews, many of whom continued to be zealous for the Jewish customs for some time after they believed.

It then takes us on a journey, showing how the Jewish rulers rejected the good announcement of the Kingdom, and expelled the community of believers from Jerusalem;

It shows how the Gospel of the Kingdom began to be received among regular Gentiles; and how the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem decreed that the Gentile believers need not become obligated to the Jews' Law;

how the Jewish rulers continued rejecting the Gospel of the Kingdom in synagogues in every Gentile city; and rejected Paul again at Jerusalem; and finally at Rome also - while regular Gentiles were receiving the message, even in their capital Rome;

Yet God was mercifully using that outcome to try to provoke more Jewish individuals still to repent and believe.

And there the story ended abruptly - as if the same dynamic which had been reached by that point in the story should now continue until the end, when Christ finally comes the second time in His Kingdom.

No post-Apostolic period without spiritual gifts... future Jewish period with a return to Levitical worship...

...just the Gospel - until the end.

So the plot was an historical illustration of Paul's theology, as he explained his theology in His Epistles.

That plot is lost from the Book of Acts, if instead of understanding the plot in terms of Paul's theology, a person rather imposes some alternative theology onto his understanding of various scenes of Acts. This is especially so with chapter 15.

(Alternative theologies such as: Orthodox Judaism of course; but also Dispensationalism; Full-Preterism and Full-Futurism; versions of Covenant Theology and Replacement Theology which can't acknowledge that the first church had to have been in Jerusalem; and the increasingly popular Hebrew-Roots Messianic observance of modern-Judaism, etc.

Understanding Acts in terms of those theologies instead of in terms of Paul's theology, causes one to lose the developing plot of the Book of Acts.)

Paul's Theology instead was that:

While we still await the consummation of the Kingdom of God...

...there has already come the inauguration of the Kingdom-scheme through the Person of Jesus Christ, through His cross...

...the Kingdom-message was received first by believing Jews, in Israel, fulfilling Kingdom-prophecy; and then the same message of the Kingdom was received by Gentiles, also fulfilling Promise and Prophecy, together in one new identity, the Church, His body...

...a salvation which need not involve the deeds of the Law...

...for all nations alike...

and then Christ and His Kingdom shall ultimately come, as Prophesied - but only the saved shall enter it, as Jesus said.

That was Paul's Gospel!

The Epistles explained it...

...the Book of Acts provided the history which illustrated it.

By Grace Through Faith

The author of the Book of Acts actually had intent behind the developing plot of the book.

And as a traveling companion of Paul's, his intent also reflected Paul's theology and purpose.

The story is the journey from its starting point in Jerusalem, with an all Jewish church, believing in their Jewish Messiah, many of whom were still zealous for Moses' Law - then Gentiles becoming believers; with the decree that the Gentile believers did not have to become Observant of the Law - and the story ends in Rome with Gentiles gladly accepting the Gospel, the Jewish rulers having rejected the message and the church first in Jerusalem, then expelling them from synagogues in Gentile cities everywhere, then persecuting Paul again in Jerusalem and finally resisting his message at Rome also.

The story is a living illustration of Paul's theology: that the Gospel was the fulfilment of God's Promises to Israel; that a believing remnant of Jews had experienced it, as prophesied; that Gentiles also were to hear and would believe; that the rest of the Jews were hardened - not understanding that the Promised salvation was to be granted by grace through faith in Jesus Christ who died, was buried and rose again for our justification, without the deeds of the Law; that this good news was to be preached to Jews first, and also to Gentiles; that this Kingdom-scheme, inaugurated and spreading, was the precursor to the final consummation of the Kingdom-salvation at Christ's second coming, when the dead shall rise.

The Epistles taught it - the Book of Acts gave the history. All built on the foundation of the Law and Prophets. Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.

An increasingly popular "Hebrew Roots" mis-interpretation of the place of the Law in Paul's Gospel, makes no sense of Acts 15, and loses the plot of the Book of Acts.

Paul's wish was, "I have laid the foundation - let a man take heed how he builds thereon".

"If anyone preaches any other Gospel, let him be 'Anathema Maranatha'." 

Israel's Salvation & Kingdom

The salvation and Kingdom promised the Jews, partly still awaits its consummation at the second coming - but in a sense the salvation and Kingdom have already come, in the Person of Jesus Christ, but it was experienced not by the whole nation, but only by believing Jews. Then Gentiles also heard, and believed the same good news.

That was precisely the outcome the Prophets had foreseen, Paul explained.

Israel's promised Kingdom hadn't failed...

The whole scheme hasn't been delayed...

The Gospel isn't something else entirely.

Rather, the Promise, Prophecy, salvation, the Kingdom - was, is and shall be fulfilled through no other scheme besides the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Who Shall See the Kingdom?

The people who shall qualify to enter the eternal Kingdom when it comes, are those who are already pressing into the Kingdom and participating in the Kingdom-scheme now, as it has been brought to us through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Jewishness alone didn't cut it.

Moses' Law wasn't the way.

The Kingdom is something which can and must be received now, by believing in and receiving the King Himself, Jesus Christ - in order to enter it when it comes.  

The Gospel of the Kingdom

The Apostles took passages of Old Testament Prophecy which, in their original context appeared to belong in the future end-time Kingdom-age, and brought parts of those passages forward to the present.

There was an inauguration of the final Kingdom, in the present - in the Person of Jesus Christ.

That is the Gospel! 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Book of Acts

The Book of Acts tells the story about how the Messianic salvation was offered first of all to Israel in Jerusalem; then throughout Judaea, and Samaria - then to the uttermost ends of the earth, reaching even to the capital of the Gentile nations, Rome.

It tells the story how believers were at first a community within Israel, many of them abiding by Moses' Law; how the Jews at Jerusalem were intolerant of the believers; how the Gospel began to be preached to Gentiles; how Gentile believers were not required to become observant of Moses' Law; how Israel finally rejected the Gospel, not only in all the cities of the Gentiles where the Gospel was preached, but again at Jerusalem and finally also at Rome; and how the Gentiles were willing to hear the Gospel, even in Rome.

Thus the Church grew from its beginning as a nucleus within Israel, to a new, worldwide Body - independent of physical Israel, and without obligation to Moses' Law.

And yet God mercifully used even that outcome, to nudge some more unbelieving Jewish individuals to repentance and faith.

The preaching of this good news of the Kingdom continues...

...and then the end shall come.

All Restrictions Removed

The Gospel removed all of the barriers which the Law had put in place.

The Law had restricted Gentile proselytes to Judaism from certain privileges.

One entire race - the Canaanites - was to be utterly banned.

Even in Israel, only one tribe - Levi - had the privilege of serving in the house of God and partaking of the privileges associated with that.

There were also age and sex restrictions.

Individuals suffering certain physical ailments were also banned.

Only one person - the High Priest - could enter the presence of God - and only once a year.

The curtain in front of the Holy Place was there for a reason - to show that the Law itself could not truly provide the access we needed into the things of God, into the presence of God, into heaven, into eternal life...

...but JESUS gave us that access, through His own torn body on the cross.

The commandment which was against us, was nailed to the tree.

The moment He died, the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom.

Now we all have access - not by the Law, but by a new and living way.

In Him we are justified, by grace through faith - without the deeds of the Law.

We all are reconciled to God, in one Body, as one new identity.

Jesus was the first to rise from the dead - and we also are raised with Him: a brand new creation of God!

The old alienation, discrimination, restriction, limitation, elimination, subjection to corruption, and continual reminders of sin is gone forever - we all are a new creation of God in Christ Jesus - without the deeds of the Law.

This good news was preached to Jews first - and also to all nations.

This worldwide blessing, freely given, without distinction, was always God's Promise - before the Law was given; before Israel was even born.

"In thy seed (not seeds plural, seed singular - which was Christ) all families of the earth (all nations, without distinction) shall be blessed (justified, saved)".

The Promise presupposed the elimination of the Law which was temporarily added later - because the Law itself was a restriction to the blessing.

Jesus, the Gospel, us in Him, plus nothing = completion.

Only believe!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Vision of a Crowd

Can you remember how it felt when you first received JESUS as your personal Lord and Saviour?
Imagine being flooded with love, truth and life - that's how I felt!
I so wanted all my school mates to have the same wonderful experience.
On the night I got baptised with the Holy Spirit and received power to bear witness for JESUS, I saw a picture in my mind of a large crowd gathered around me on the school sports field, listening.
I was in Grade 8.
At Bremer State High School.
I started eagerly telling my fellow-students what Jesus was doing with me - and one by one several received the Lord. We spent our lunch hours telling others about Jesus.
This particular lunch hour, my vision was about to come to pass...
There was a group of students hanging around behind the T-huts. I decided to go and talk with them about Jesus.
Other students sitting under a nearby tree wondered what was going on - so they wandered over and had a listen too.
Students over at the tennis courts saw the group gathered around my friend and I, and thought it must have been a fight. They came running over to watch.
"There's a fight on, down at the oval!" word quickly spread around the school.
Students ran together from all over.
The crowd pushed closer to try and see the fight - but it was just my friend and I, in the middle of the crowd, talking about Jesus.
Soon the Prefects turned up.
"Right, we want to know the Names and Grades of who's fighting."
"No-one's fighting," I answered, "We're just talking to them about Jesus."
The crowd cheered.
Someone yelled out, "Everybody sit down".
The crowd numbered around 300, someone said - but I reckon it was more like 100.
For the rest of the lunch hour my friend and I stood there, the crowd sitting around us on the grass - preaching about Jesus, everyone listening.
You too can receive Jesus.
God has a gift for you - eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

You were made for this!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Joel 2 Now & Future

Some say Joel 2 requires a future, Jewish Millennium. 

But I think:

Verses 1-11 predicted Israel's captivity; 

Verses 12-17 urged repentance and prayer, in case the captivity could at all be averted; 

Verses 18-27 described Israel's restoration to their land, after the captivity; and 

Verses 28-32 describe the salvation which later came to Israelis - and to everyone - once Israelis were back in their land:

JOEL 2:28-32
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

About Israel's deliverance/salvation, notice:

1. It was to come to pass afterward - that is, after Israel's return from captivity

2. It was to come to pass in mount Zion and in Jerusalem

3. Only the called remnant of Jews (believers) would experience it

4. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved

5. Gentiles were to be included - "all flesh"

6. It was to include the outpouring of the Spirit - and visions, dreams and prophesying

7. Peter quoted it as fulfilled, in Acts 2

8. It included the themes of signs in the heavens, and the great and terrible day of the Lord - the second coming. We are poised on the brink of that, yet also in the time of fulfilment of the overall prophecy. We are not still waiting for it entirely.

So the Gospel is an eschatological message - but it is also a message of fulfilment.

Although the great and terrible day of the Lord is still to be culminated in future, Israel has already been saved (believers); and Gentiles also experienced it.

Salvation hasn't been finally consummated yet, but it has definitely been inaugurated.

Although we still wait for the Kingdom, in Jesus we already experience the presence of the Kingdom.

The scheme of Israel's salvation was none other than this Gospel: it doesn't require some future Levitical scheme.

God Knows Best

When my brother was getting married in Manila, Philippines - I wanted to fly there with my parents, but I had to sit an exam.

So I asked a travel agent to find me a flight to Manila after my exam on Saturday - but the agent said there was no possible way I could arrive in time for the wedding.

I prayed about it, and in my spirit I had a sense about a flight-path going straight up north from Australia. I looked at a map, and thought to myself, "That must be Guam, USA".

So I phoned the agent back, and said, "What about going via Guam?"

He hadn't thought of it, but he checked it out - and it was possible, with Continental Airlines!

I also mentioned it to my boss at the time, and he happened to know someone who was an official with Continental Airlines, and was able to get me cheap tickets. The travel agent could hardly believe it!

I got there in time for the wedding!

The roundtrip involved a layover in Guam - so I stayed at a YWAM base.

I let the base-leader know I was keen to reach out during my short time there, so she took me to a prison.

One of the inmates, who seemed to be feared by his fellow-prisoners as the top rooster, snarled at me:

"I suppose you're going to tell us how bad you were, and then you got converted - we've heard it all before!"

I've seen rough-looking guys with open hearts before - but I can tell you, I didn't feel any welcome from these guys at all. The atmosphere felt charged - and I was locked inside with them!

I answered that I'd never really been in trouble with the law.

In fact, I became a Christian when I was only 12 years old, I said.

That seemed to totally disarm him. It made him wonder why I was even there then, and what I was going to say.

His whole face lightened up, as he listened with his heart. When the other men saw his openness towards me, they all let down their guard.

They welcomed the Word, and me - with open hearts. We all felt the love of JESUS, and prayed together. 

Sometimes, looking like them is not what they need.