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Strong Meat

You won't find many of these available to the general public. In some cases it's because the subject is controversial, but more often than not, it's just stuff that relates to the special circumstances encountered when living in a Christian community.

Sooner or later every adolescent will disagree with their parents about something. When the disagreement relates to a decision to follow Jesus, it takes courage as well as tact to express it well. This study offers answers to questions parents may have on such subjects as sex, finances, and breaking the law.
(See also The Narrow Way, We See What We Want to See, and Wise Doves.)

Why are we persecuted?  This article goes behind all the lies to the root cause of it all, and predicts that the persecution will get worse before it gets better.  An absolute must-read if you are going to take the time to listen to the lies.

Cherry says some shocking things in this one, both defending paedophiles and suggesting an extreme remedy at the same time. But read it first before you pass judgment. She is calling for changes in both areas which are urgently needed and long overdue.

This article was written in response to news reports that the stepson of David Berg (founder of the Children of God/The Family International) had killed one of his former nurses and then taken his own life. It examines how this tragedy represents both the fruit of sexual perversion within The Family, and the fruit of justifications for hatred amongst ex-members.

The mock trial in Long Beach represented a turning point in our history as a community, not because there was a significant change in our beliefs, but because people who hated our beliefs falsely believed they had caught us in a heresy at last... and discovered too late that they did not have a case.

This is a close examination of the causes behind the tensions and confusion that often arise when someone is being questioned about performance. It is a powerful study in understanding human relations.

A letter to Jesus Christians, following a decision in 2004 to make each base autonomous of the other bases. This deals with finding ways to objectively measure personal spiritual growth without dependence on accountability to human leaders.

A five-star study for someone wanting to understand how to show grace and discipline at the same time. It outlines a body of teaching from ourselves that tries to see truth outside of our own movement and outside of our own leadership. Then it considers how this fits in with our continued emphasis on discipline and high standards.
(See also Pastors and Teachers, In Spirit and in Truth, Divine Love, and The Body of Christ.)

This one gets into naming people and naming groups, as it attempts to be very specific in answering the title question. Definitely strong meat, but loaded with spiritual vitamins too.

Being a gifted leader and having authority from God are two different things. God would not anoint two leaders in opposition to each other. So if we want to build God's kingdom (and not our own), we must be prepared to submit to God's anointed leadership.
(See also Mark Those Who Cause Division, Loose Cannons, Opinions, and Reject Us, Reject God.)

This one draws a very clear line between idyllic fantasies and the discipline and hard work that we have found to be part of the kingdom of God. It lists three important points to building the utopia that Jesus preached, and shows how the third one in particular trips up all those idealists who are living in a dreamworld.

Alf writes, in particular, about opposition which came as a result of Jesus Christians appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show in the U.K., and defends our right to defend ourselves against the lies being promoted against us.  This was written just a couple of weeks before the Jesus Christians disbanded, to escape the persecution that was being hurled at us.

Physically forsaking all is elementary stuff compared to love. If what we do is not motivated by love, it is a waste. Outreach, for example, builds the kingdom of heaven; whereas love is the kingdom of heaven. We get more done not by working longer hours, but by letting God shape our spirits into what he wants us to be. One of Robin's best articles.
(See also The Forsake All Principle, Stressing Out!, Four Areas of Personal Renewal, and The Martha Syndrome.)

Half-hearts try to control God, rather than let God control them. They confuse their own pride and opinions with the voice of God, and kick against the very people that they should be supporting. Their fear stops them from leaving a group, at the same time that it stops them from lending full support. The freest people are those who are totally controlled by God. Get off the fence and choose.
(See also Fear Not!, Malcontents, and Fear of the Devil.)

Speaking the truth in love. Do we have the courage to do it?

A brief account of the two whipping trials held in 2006, and the reasoning behind them.  This article particularly focuses on misconceptions people have about violence.

Four incredible claims by Jesus are examined here, to see if there is a link between them.  Was Jesus seriously intending us to take him literally when he taught them?  Find out for yourself.

This is the how-to of setting up a personal program for empowering yourself. Worth re-reading from time to time.

Real love involves rules. Satan's counterfeit (which has captured the imagination of so much of the world today) omits repentance and even forgiveness. Check and you will see that the word "if" precedes almost all of the promises in the Bible. "If" is the key word in locating the condition that God expects us to meet before we get the benefits of his grace.
(See also The Tolerance Myth, The Cult of Selfishness, and Why Communes Fail.)

This is a good one for new disciples... about not preaching the narrow way to people who do not want to hear it. We must learn to be hard on ourselves at the same time that we learn to be easy on others.
(See also Another Cornerstone, The Social Conscience Part 1, Reject Us, Reject God, and Universalism, Pros and Cons.)

Alf looks at the traditionally negative process of projections, and discusses how it can become a positive process if we are sincerely trying to know the truth, about ourselves as well as about others.

This one follows on from Part 1, written by Cherry.  It was written on Christmas Eve, 2006, and relates to persecution which led to Reinhard almost being killed, and how we can actually rejoice when we are persecuted.

One of the first articles urging us to see the bright side of people who have rebelled against us, but who still make efforts to practise and preach living by faith in Jesus and his teachings.
(See also The Body of Christ, Divine Love, and Divisions - Part of God's Plan?)

The cannibal sermon blew away most of Jesus' followers. They were not able to handle the scandal that came with discipleship. Can you?
(See also The Social Conscience Part 1.)

Casey takes a radically different look at evil, at Jesus' teaching about not resisting evil, and at how evil can bring about good in those of us who stop running away from it and the discomfort that it can cause to ourselves.

This study emphasises one of the Eight Ways to Know God's Will. Revelations need interpretations and interpretations need applications if they are to be effective.

Freudian psychology and Christian teaching merge in this radical look at honesty. It compares lying with deception in much the same way Jesus compared adultery with lust.
(See also Self-Righteousness, Reprobate Minds, and The Id and the Superego.)

When we are criticised, a sincere apology is often replaced with "Okay, I'll work on it." This is an attempt to avoid the real thing, and it's not okay.
(See also Advice for Counsellors.)

The word "recruit" is up there with cult, brainwashing, and manipulate, as implying something evil when it's not there. We are probably less geared toward"recruiting" than most other groups, but our new DVD is a little more blatant in focusing attention on ourselves.

Everybody follows certain rules and disciplines, so what is it that makes Christian rules and disciplines different from those of the rest of the world?

The cult-busting mentality labels a group a cult, and then looks for evidence to support the label. It is virtually impossible to overcome such a bias by co-operating with such people.
(See also Sociology Lessons, and Confessions of a Manipulator.)

It takes a miracle for anyone to receive God's ultimate Truth, and short of that, people are all going to reject it.  This is explained more in detail in this article.

This is really an article about pride, and how it can get us into arguments that lead nowhere.

Did Jesus say some things just to shock us, not really intending for us to take them literally? We don't think so. There is good logic and common sense, even in his most bizarre commands.
(See also The Forsake All Principle, and God's No Fool.)

Is loyalty a vice or a virtue? When is it right to loyal, and when is it wrong? And what about traitors? These are questions addressed in this article.

A community member writes to another brother in the community who was going through temptations after visiting his family. Sadly, the brother who wrote this letter gave in to temptations a few months later, and left the community.
(See also The Cuddlies, and Forsaking Your Parents.)

Your step by step guide to reading minds. Includes inside tips on how to spot counterfeit faith and insincere flattery.
(See also Try the Spirits, The Holy Spirit, False Christs, and We See What We Want to See.)

Roland and Dave team up to give some warnings to new disciples about sticking together when confronted by aggressive systemites.
(See also The Pizza Parable, Mark Those Who Cause Division, Try the Spirits, Reject Us, Reject God, and No Neutrals.)

Dave draws a comparison between himself and Joe's mother in an attempt to find strategies which would work equally for both when confronted with someone who strongly disagrees with us.

A study on the importance of listening carefully to what people say (or write), if we want to discern what is happening in their spirit.
(See also Discernment, Advice for Counsellors, and Try the Spirits.)

A serious look at sanity, and how one manages to maintain it in a world of turmoil.

It's easy to hear from God. But only if you are willing to accept what he wants to say. When we stop trying to get God to conform to our wishes, we can hear him clearly. It doesn't take expensive meditation classes to do it either.
(See also Fear Not!, Change, Making Decisions, The Reno Principle, and Dreams.)

Is it a message from God, or just indigestion? Dreams can teach us many things if we will take time to analyse them. We can control our dreams too, turning nightmares into supernaturally good dreams.
(See also Making Decisions, Direct Revelation, and Hearing from God.)

We all would like to be popular. Fran shows how popularity, too, must be forsaken if we are to be true to God.
(See also Prophets, Martyrs and Saints, and Hard Decisions.)

We need to get the "nice guy" image into perspective with the urgency of a world that is walking into eternity unprepared. Hard decisions need to be made, and they need to be made quickly!
(See also Thou Shalt Judge, Burying your Talent, and The Tolerance Myth.)

7 January, 2007 (by Ross)
Sadly, this article was written by Ross, who himself is now backslidden and extremely bitter.  Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder to the rest of us that we can have the theory, but unless we practice it, we too could end up just as bitter and just as lost one day.

A check list of things individual bases need to consider with regard to personal growth. This article marked a turning point in our community, as each base was given financial and spiritual independence. It gives a good insight into our various disciplines.

Along with understanding our unworthiness, we must also understand our authority in Christ. If we are honestly doing our best to share the truth with people, and they reject us, there is a good chance that they are doing it because the truth has convicted them. At some point we need to warn them of the seriousness of doing this... even if it sounds arrogant when we do so.
(See also Peace that Disturbs, Solid as a Rock, and No Neutrals.)

Another article distributed outside a churchy youth meeting (at Deakin University). This one aimed at getting young people to question the false grace teaching, and to accept God's right to make demands of them.
(See also Amazing Grace, and God's No Fool.)

There is plenty of salt in this comparison between us and the churches when it comes to evangelism. Are we really similar? Or are we diametrically opposed to one another? Get the hard facts here.
(See also We're Right and They're Wrong.)

Some 'dirty linen' in this one, as Dave gets personal and names names with regard to some dishonest deeds that have occurred in the past within the Jesus Christians.

How do you love people and brace yourself for a kick in the teeth at the same time? If we don't learn how, we'll be ripped off by a lot of sneaky snakes.
(See also Media Interviews.)

Persecution is one thing we are allowed as Christians to boast about. Of course the world does not like such boasting, and it will lead to more persecution. But that is all part of our tribulation message. Come die with us!
(See also Signs of the Times, Peace that Disturbs, and Prophets, Martyrs and Saints.)

This kind of summarises some shifts in emphasis that Dave has noted as he grows older, especially with regard to some passages of scripture that don’t seem to jive with how most people have experienced God’s power since the days when the Bible was written.
[See also Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.]

Wanna be a saint? a prophet? a martyr? There are plenty of positions vacant, but few applicants. Lift your sights and aim for what should really be the norm for true believers. (See Our Mission, Positions Vacant, A Sense of His Story, Aim for the Sky.)

Do we need to be taught to love our selves before we can start loving others? That's what the self-esteem movement says. But how Christian is it?
(See also Character, Pride Smashing, and Losing Your Identity.)

What is the difference between tolerance and patience (or mercy)? Tolerating sin is cheap grace at God's expense.
(See also Thou Shalt Judge, and Hard Decisions.)

Clinging to a unique self-image can blind people to the benefits of identifying with others who preach the truth. Fear and pride are two of the biggest barriers to spiritual growth.
(See also Fear Not!, and Total Control.)

In April, 1998, there was a split down the middle of our community. This was an attempt to explain the significance of that split as of May, 2000.
(See also Anarchy and Pacifism, Mark Those Who Cause Division, and The Body of Christ.)

This article deals with people abusing the argument that they have a conscience problem about doing something that they do not want to do. It also deals with religious rules that people adopt about health and sex, which can result in self-righteousness if they have not come from genuine faith in God.
(See also Wanking, The Last Taboo, Confessions of a Religious Nerd, Financial Responsibility, and Living by Faith and Finances, part 2.)

This article, written shortly after a big split in the community, examines the roots of that rebellion (bitterness) and the roots of that bitterness (hurt feelings over being criticised).

One can go through the motions of obedience without opening up to the spirit of what is being taught. God is looking for more than that. (See also When OK is not OK.)

We must first recognise our weaknesses if we are going to grow. Others may or may not point them out, but in the end, we are the only ones who can deal with them. Sincerity requires that we face the truth about ourselves, even when it hurts.
(See also Honest Doubt, and Becoming Adults.)

Dave deals with the difficult question of whether we should literally give people anything that they ask for from us.
(See also 'Conscience' Issues.)

This excerpt from a general letter deals with the tendency for some community members to fear to think about what they would like to do, for fear that they will get in trouble if they do. Empowerment works on the assumption that we really do want to grow spiritually, and it allows us to have fun doing it.
(See also Empowerment Sessions, Heavy Burdens and Difficult Yokes, and Smile, God Loves You!)

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