JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…salt of the earth…”
September 29, 2013, 7:43 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes, A Gospel According to Matthew

Today as we shared in the Lord’s meal together with brothers and sisters, I noticed that the crackers that were part of the meal were salty. I remembered Jesus saying to His disciples that “You are the salt of the earth.” I have heard it said that this is in reference to the preserving effect of Christ in believers and that when salt gets in wounds, that it stings, and such is the life of the believer as they share Christ to those who do not Him. While I generally accept that, I think Jesus has something more to express than just keeping us saved and that we’re going to have a rough time around unbelievers. What I share here I believe just touches the surface of what Jesus meant.

Salt is important for the human body in many ways. One specific way is that without salt the human body’s ability to express itself becomes impotent, our entire ability to sense our natural world through our nervous system becomes hindered. Perhaps there is a spiritual application beyond the preserving and stinging effect of being in Christ. Perhaps it is about going forward in knowing Christ more in an experiential way, enhancing our spiritual senses.

In Christ we are new creations, the old is gone, the new has come. As a new creation we have also new senses. In Christ He gives us eyes to see, ears to hear; thirst, taste, touch, and smell only for Him. When Christ is Head in our midst your spiritual sense knows it, when He is not Head your spiritual sense knows it. Christ is the salt of world. It is His life that enhances our spiritual senses to know Him better. And as we know Him better, His salt, His life, is expressed to others, and like Jesus told Paul, “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light.” Our spiritual senses come from our spirit. In Christ they are no longer dead but alive by His Spirit! We can now, with our spirit, sense Him through our conscience and intuition and fellowship with Him. As we hear Him and follow His leading by faith, not considering ourselves, we receive Him as salt and our spiritual senses strengthen and are enhanced and our experience of knowing Christ only gets better.

A brother at the gathering commented that salt when used in food, helps to bring the flavors of the food together. This is another important aspect of Christ as our salt. We really cannot grow in our spiritual senses with the Lord, to hear Him, see Him, taste Him, touch Him, smell Him except through the fitting together of the flavors of the body of Christ. Only Christ our salt can bring balance to all the flavors of the body so that the fullness of Christ is expressed. This only happens when all the brothers and sisters together have Christ as Head of the gathering, where all is unto Him, where each is not considering themselves but one another by faith in love. The beautiful aroma from the flavors of His people mixed together because of the salt of Christ, truly is beyond description, and the saying “taste and see that the Lord is good” becomes a reality.

Review of “the Gathering” by Milt and Mary Rodriguez
September 27, 2013, 1:39 am
Filed under: 2A - Book Reviews

Very rarely do I read a fictional novel. Because I had read a number of Milt Rodriguez’s books I decided that I would take the opportunity to read his and his wife’s new book “The Gathering.” I absolutely loved it! I could not put it down!

The Gathering is about people looking for more of Christ than what they are finding in the institutional church building, a desire to be a part of fulfilling the eternal purpose of God. The characters have been given a heart to know the Lord Jesus Christ deeper, in an experiential way not found in attending the varied sundry meetings with the overload of duties that focus on staying busy. This in fact is something near and dear to Milt and Mary Rodriguez’s hearts. They travel to form and visit with gatherings who desire to learn Christ, to live by His life together in a shared life in real life. Back in 2009 I had the chance to meet Milt Rodriguez and Frank Viola and heard them speak and share with the brothers and sisters. I was totally blown away; I have never been the same since. I’m not sure but the bald headed man with the red beard in The Gathering sounds kind of like Milt.

The story is based on a fictional time where a political church party, the Unified Church Movement (UCM), has put a President into the oval office of The United States. This seems to be a fictional adaptation of what might have happened if The Christian Coalition with its “stealth” tactics had done the same a couple decades ago. At times the UCM seems like the Reich Church that was controlled by the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, known to have hunted down, tortured, and executed underground groups of Christians during the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler. In The Gathering the UCM has mediators who control all organized churches to ensure that any semblance of a move of the Holy Spirit is squashed by forcing the “pastor” to adhere to certain rules of order or the removal of the “pastor,” often by devious and unconscionable means. So the characters in the story not only are they “coming out” of this political church system but they must do so counting the cost of their lives and livelihood.

The characters of the story are totally down to earth, their personalities, problems, and perks are typical of any other person you would happen to know. In fact it is what makes The Gathering such an enjoyable and readable story. Milt and Mary really know how to express the varied personalities of people and create characters that are totally believable. The story is about the main characters recognizing God’s call to live the deeper life in Christ and traveling to a hidden organic expression of brothers and sisters who are living together “underground.” There are many twists and turns along the way but each character is guided by the Lord through dreams and specific circumstances that require the characters to count the cost and step out on faith to pursue a heart’s desire to know Christ intimately with others. The characters struggle for faith and love which will touch the reader. Interspersed throughout the story are teachings of the bald headed man with the red beard on living by the life of Christ and God’s eternal purpose found in scripture but neglected by most of God’s people. The dreams of each character in the story are beautiful and show a variety of the riches found in Christ with His Bride. These are heart warming and touch the spirit. The reader may find that they themselves may have had similar dreams, describing something of Christ and His Bride (albeit without the bald headed man with the red beard, lol).

For those who desire to know Christ better, to live by His life together, to fulfill the Father’s eternal purpose through His Son you will see glimpses of what gatherings with Christ as Head could look like in this story. You will see beautiful examples of faith and love and the variety and creativity of Christ in God’s people. After reading The Gathering the dream to truly want to know Christ better, in a deeper way with other brothers and sisters was stirred. The story will quicken His Spirit in your spirit and perhaps help you hear Him better as a result. As you hear Him, by faith follow Him, do what He says, you will be amazed! The story describes how the characters learned to live by their spirit, their conscience and intuition, communing with the Lord. The Gathering is a must read! After reading the last chapter I was hoping for more. The Gathering must have a sequel! Perhaps that’s what Acts in the Bible was meant to do for the brothers and sisters who read it. Hoping for more.