Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP

30 08 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 8 – Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP – Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP

 Due the endorsement of Texas Governor Rick Perry a spotlight both secular and doctrinal has been placed squarely upon The International House of Prayer (IHOP). (1) Perry who is a Republican is running for the office of the Presidency and he has called for a day of prayer and fasting in Houston in August. A quote from a letter Perry sent to all 50 state governors says:

 I believe it will take a great amount of prayer, and a renewed commitment to spiritual principles, to get our nation back on track. Let us not delay in doing what is right for our people and their future. (2)

 Perry agrees with the proponents of extreme charismania so much so that he has asked Mike Bickle and his prayer warriors from IHOP to help in this event and Bickle’s group agreed and is involved. The let us not delay is referring to his upcoming prayer meeting and he, like all the extremists believe that their prayers will literally move the hand of God to manifest the things they have been decreeing in prayer. (3) [ I waited to finish this article until the prayer gathering occurred. People can listen to Governor Perry’s prayer online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvENzg61kw.  When you do you will notice that Jesus is not referenced in it at all, nor is the prayer addressed in His name, i.e. “whatever you ask the Father IN MY NAME” (John 14:13) I wonder if God the Father even “hears” prayers not offered in Jesus name].

 So What Is the Problem?

“Ok Bob what is so bad about a diverse group of Christians gathering together to fast and pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If anything, this sounds like something the Church and our society really need. . . more prayer, right?”

 It is without dispute that prayer is essential to our spiritual development and fellowship with our Lord. Christian voices alone are answered by heaven’s throne. (4)  This places a distinct burden on us who stand before the God of all creation as His royal priests (1 Peter 2:9) (5)  We do not have to pray…we get to pray! Prayer is one of the sacred privileges given to us by our loving Father to worship and extol His glorious virtues, to commune with Him, to pour out our hearts to the One who is easily touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). Prayer is a good thing; it should have a prominent place in our daily lives and every worship service. I would heartily agree with those who bemoan the fact that prayer is so often lacking in many church services. In rebuking those who bought and sold in the temple Jesus stated clearly that of all things—His house would be known as a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). One of the many aspects of our local worship service at Zion in Detroit is the amount of time given over to prayer. I can honestly say that Zion’s liturgical format is Christ centered and prayer driven. (6)

 Who among us when a serious enough need arises does not contact other people of like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1) especially with e-mail and Facebook. If we are really honest about it we are all a little superstitious when it comes to prayer. Many think that if a certain person prays for them, then they will receive their petitions, others believe if enough people pray sincerely enough that will move God to acquiesce to our demand(s). After all, if two people pray for something, that is one thing, but if say 50 or 100 bombard the throne room of heaven surely God will hear and act in accordance to our wishes, Right? Not necessarily.

 Like many beautiful things prayer can be twisted and turned into something that is ugly and totally unacceptable to God. This is the concern regarding IHOP, they have taken things given by God to the Church, (in this case prayer, fasting, music) and turned it into something God had not intended for it to be. They have taken prayer which is a good thing and they have added one too many “o’s”—prayer is a good thing, but in this case it is not a God thing.

 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. Numbers 16:17-19

 In the above text we see the Aaron and his sons taking their censer, incensing it and offering it to the Lord. The Lord responded by manifesting His glory. Incense is generally accepted to symbolize prayer offered to the Lord (see Revelation 5:4,8; 8:3) and in this case the Lord accepted it. However, one of the most sobering cases of ministerial malpractice is shown to us in the lives of the first Jewish high priest Aaron:

 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3

 These priests, members of the covenant family took their same censers and fired them up and put on the same incense and offered them to the same God. God did not come in His manifest presence to fellowship with them, instead a devouring fire went out from the Lord and devoured them in the tent of meeting where they stood. The same activity, the same people, the same God, yet the first was accepted and their own inventive “liturgy” brought nothing but God’s wrath upon themselves. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord and were judged for it. The point should be obvious — all prayer is not necessarily acceptable to the Lord. I would postulate that today it is still possible for God’s people to offer strange fire to the Lord via the incense of their prayers.

 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:5-13

 Our Master was a man of prayer. It is obvious from His life that prayer was massively important to Him. After preaching Jesus sends the multitude away and goes away by Himself to pray “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, (Matthew 14:23). (7) We see Jesus praying all night long in the following text: “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came…, (Luke 6:12-13)  (8)   He often went alone and apart from both the people and His disciples to pray to His Father. What do you think Jesus was doing during His 40 days of fasting in the wilderness? (9)  Yes Jesus even commanded that His disciples both pray (Matthew 6:7; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:2) and fast (Matthew 6:16). According to Jesus prayer and fasting are not optional accessories that can decorate one’s spiritual life or not. No, they are vital ingredients to a vibrant and fruit-filled Christian walk. Let me state it another way — if Jesus Himself needed to pray (and do it quite a bit) and fast, then how much more do we need to? It is an interesting study to take some time and look up the passages regarding our Lord and prayer. (10)

 After taking time to re-read through all the passages regarding Jesus prayer life you have found some interesting facts. First of all Jesus never held prayer rallies. He never held any type of mass prayer meetings, nor did He ever pray all night with His disciples. When He did ask His friends to come and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane they fell asleep on several occasions (Matthew 26:41). This may shock you but He did not pray for the world (John 17:9). You will have noted in Matthew 6 some directives given by our master which are to govern our prayer life.

 First He says don’t be like the hypocrites who like to gather and prayer aloud to be seen of men. Now, as a former Pentecostal & charismatic extremist (11)  (there is a difference) I can tell you that people act differently in groups than when they are alone. Part of this is normal acceptable behavior, yet much of it involves the myriad of masks we put on when we are around others.  There used to be an old motivational poster that said “integrity is what you do when no one is watching,” which ought to be true spiritually too. Many people attend these massive prayer meetings to be seen and often to see others. You want to see people who want ot be seen as deeply spiritual?

 Go to any IHOP gathering or just a local all-night charismatic shut-in. For example the women who lay on their backs with the legs bent and spread, pelvises thrusting toward the sky screaming out unintelligible gibberish want to be seen as giving birth to revival (I kid you not). The man jogging in place flapping his arms in the corner is either in ecstasy or is doing the pee-pee dance, in any event he draws attention and so it goes. Jesus says don’t pray to be seen by others. Your prayer life alone should mirror what it is around others. If you don’t raise your hands in private, why do it in public? Don’t prostrate yourself at home, don’t do it in the church.

 Next Jesus goes on to warn against using vain repetitions like the heathen do! Naturally, when the Lord tells people not to do something, they do and do the exact opposite and do it all the more. This too is pandemic among all tongue-talking prayer warriors. As one who spent hours each day praying in other tongues, as well as being in charge of prayer meetings I can attest that most of what is uttered by anyone in other tongues today consists mainly of vain repetitions. If you listen to anyone “pray” in other tongues for more than a few minutes you will

 Naturally, worship has now taken on an entirely new meaning for these fledgling Christians (at this point the word had not even been coined) whereas before they had been looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, now He has come and His flock await His return. The liturgy did not change, but the true underlying meaning behind the liturgy was now full understood and thus it became more meaningful in the lives of the disciples.

 quickly hear them saying the same syllables over and over again, sometimes softly at other times in a loud voice, but the same words. Charismatic prayer meetings are vocalized in other tongues, I mean a good 90% of the meeting are not in English apart from giving a general directive “the Lord wants us to cover India in prayer” then off we’d go in the spirit. It is just as true today as when Jesus first uttered His words “for they think they shall be heard for their many words,” This is the underlying belief and motivation of the IHOP — if they can just get enough people praying seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day especially when this is combined with fasting and music surely God will answer from heaven. Yet before we get ahead of ourselves we have to consider the historical roots behind IHOP in order to discern its doctrinal foundation.

 A Somewhat Brief History of IHOP

 Even though Mike Bickle’s non-profit “IHOP” is being sued for trademark infringement by The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) (12) we will continue to use the acronym until the case is settled to refer to the enthusiastic prayer warriors.

 Originally IHOP did not stand for “The International House of Prayer,” originally it was an acronym for Intercession, Holiness, Offerings and Prophecy. Where did this revelatory insight come from? From no less a luminary than the self-proclaimed prophet & exposed homosexual and drunkard Paul Cain, the spiritual mentor of Mike Bickle, the current SINister over The IHOP.  (13)

 Founded 12 years ago by Mike Bickle, a self-trained evangelical pastor, with a group of 20, the International House of Prayer, in a former strip mall, now draws tens of thousands of worshipers to its revival meetings. A wholly devoted cadre of 1,000 staff members, labeled missionaries, has given up careers to move here, living off donations and spending several hours a day in the prayer hall to revel in what they describe as direct communication with God. Another thousand students attend the adjacent Bible college, preparing to spread this fervent brand of Christianity. (14)

 True enough on the surface; Bickle did start IHOP around September of 1999. Since then they like to boast that prayer, fasting and praise to the Lord have been unceasing since that time. According to their web site—

 The International House of Prayer of Kansas City is an evangelical missions organization that is committed to praying for the release of the fullness of God’s power and purpose, as we actively win the lost, heal the sick, feed the poor, make disciples, and impact the seven spheres of society–family, education, government, economy, arts, media, and religion…We refer to our full-time staff at the International House of Prayer as ‘intercessory missionaries.” They raise their own support to work as full-time missionaries who reach out to others from a lifestyle of prayer and worship. Today, about 2,000 believers (staff, students, and interns) serve full-time, investing fifty hours per week, as they go from the prayer room to the classroom and then to ministry outreaches and works of service. Also, as those who are committed to the forerunner message, we are preparing ourselves to prepare others for the unique dynamics of the generation in which the Lord returns. (15)

 One thing to keep in mind is that IHOP did not just suddenly “spring up” into existence. The concept is an amalgamation of some obscure strings of thought from various charismatic luminaries. As mentioned in a prior article much of today’s extremism can be traced back to George Warnock’sFeast of Tabernacles, along with Franklin Hall’s Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting and David Wesley Myland’s book The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power. These books form the core of extremist beliefs today. Oh I suppose I should add in Kevin Conner’s The Tabernacle of David and maybe Hall’s book How to Raise the Dead (DMI has a copy of it too) (16)

 All of the aforementioned books speak of a fairytale world where virtually all believers will walk this earth (prior to Christi’s return) as true sons of God. The concept of sonship is very important to these people. The Greek terms used for “son” in the N.T. are not all the same designations. Some times son denotes an infant or at other times a young boy. To these folks the goal is to become a mature fully developed spiritual man. A man who now walks in the manifest presence of God, one who is used in any and all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that the most common term denoting sons of God, not some designation for the spiritual elite.

 Deeply planted in the minds of the extremist is the concept of the power of God. We know a little of His power is from our reading of the Bible. The question they ask is how does one go about obtaining His power and establishing the Kingdom of God on earth to the degree of ever vanquishing death (1 Corinthians 15:26). It has long been written about (see above books), preached in private leadership meetings, and whispered among the devotees that the day is coming and might be upon us where God will raise up a flock of “eagle saints” who will have risen on the wings of faith to such a degree that even death will bow before them! Naturally, such a belief must contain the reality of complete victory of all indwelling sin & every vestige of this fallen world. These so-called eagle saints, or manifest sons of God (MSOG) will have achieved complete sanctification in this life through a series of spiritual impartations, much fasting, prayer, Bible study, meditation. According to their belief system the best way in which a person can grow to become an eagle saint is to be in a growth environment with people who are all in agreement with the same spiritual goals. False prophet (real profit) Bill Hamon makes the following statements in his book The Eternal Church:

 Each restorational advancement of the Army of the Lord has established denominational forts that are given responsibility to maintain the purity and power of that truth…New recruits are now being drafted and trained and older soldiers and generals are being put through intensified training for the next advancement of the Church Army. They are being purified by the Baptism of Fire… Are you ready? Where do you start? What will you do? A new government must be established, a new way of life for those millions of people. You are now ready to rule and reign on your overcomer’s throne!… The Earth and all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the time when they will come into their maturity and immortalization. . . . When the Church receives its full inheritance and redemption then creation will be redeemed from its cursed condition of decay, change and death . . . The Church has a responsibility and ministry to the rest of creation. Earth and its natural creation is anxiously waiting for the Church to reach full maturity and come to full sonship. When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation. (17)

 Hamon, whom we’ve already written about received his “call” into prophetic ministry in the late 1950’s as a young boy at a revival meeting led by an early restored prophet of the New Order of the Latter Rain. For many years Hamon has been allegedly training and releasing thousands of prophets into the earth. His books are often the text books in charismatic Bible “schools.” Mr. Bickle and Mr. Hamon are ministry friends and support one another in the prophetic movement. Hamon is the mentor, Bickle the disciple in that Hamon cut his teeth on NOLR doctrine which he got straight from the horses’ mouth so to speak. Bickle got his doctrines second hand, but as we shall see he has learned them well and has implemented them all in the IHOP.

 The underlying concept behind the sign-gift people is that of restoration. They believe at some point the Church lost what God had revealed to her and along with that lost revelation the Church lost the dynamic power of God. When this loss happened depends upon who you ask, there is no one answer only many theories. It really does not matter to them as to when this loss of knowledge/power occurred what is important is that they agree it did happen. They love to cite the following text “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).

 Every non sign-gift denomination and congregation is placed into this category. Every one outside the sign-gift community is considered a low-wattage believer who will barely make heaven. If you do some basic Church history study you will learn that every movement within the Church or from outside have been groups asserting that they and their group are the true restored Church. Some groups have based their claim on restored truth, formerly lost revelation now revealed to their prophets. This would include people like Judge Rutherford, Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Helen G. White, Mary Baker Eddy and a host of other damnably deluded fools. Others claim restored Biblical truths, restored miraculous powers, restored foundational offices (prophet & apostle specifically) and now divine revelation called “present day truth” (2 Peter 1:12). IHOP falls into this second category of restorationists and in that sense they are not anything new on the scene.

 Bickle like all extremists take the Book of Acts to be their manual on how to “do” church. The extremists make the mistake of taking the Book of Acts to be the normative pattern for all of Christian life until Christ returns. (18) They fail to read with understanding.

 Acts is an historical account, not a doctrinal treatise, although there is doctrine in Acts. Acts was not meant to be normative until Christ return.

 In Acts not every Christian went around working miracles and healing the sick. Peter did not spend all his time walking about on really sunny days so folks could be healed by his shadow (Acts 5:15), nor did Peter start a “Healing Crusade” throughout Palestine.

 The Apostles did not go around imparting/releasing spiritual gifts into masses of people. For example from the Day of Pentecost until the time Cornelius’ household received the Spirit with the evidence of other languages was ten (10) years apart (see Acts 10:40-44) ! It was not a usual occurrence, re-read the account yourself, the apostles themselves were surprised.

 At no time since the death of the Apostle John have any Church expressions duplicated what occurred in the Book of Acts (which is why restorationists say the church lost its power somewhere somehow).

 Today’s extremists deny these four facts about the Book of Acts. To them Acts is the pattern of the victorious Church. They read of people having open visions of angels (Acts 12:8); divine teleportation (Acts 8:39) something Jesse Duplantis swears happened to him in his book Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind; demons cast out (Acts 16:18), people raised from the dead (Acts 20:10) David Hogan claims to have raised over 400 people from the dead and people actually believe him. Women who were prophetesses (Acts 21:9), obviously if God spoke through these women He will speak through women today, right? These are simply a few of the examples these folks love to examine. Everything supernatural in Acts is supposed to be our daily experience as Christians, and if not the sheep, then most assuredly our leaders. It is because of this faulty understanding of the book of Acts combined with insights from Warnock/Hall/Conner that IHOP emerged.

 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things Acts 15:15-17

 The IHOP started more with a prophetic basis (Paul Cain’s input) and it seems some Scriptures were cherry-picked to support their revealed word. In fact their own web site states as much:

 Over the last 25 plus years, the Lord has graciously given us about 25 powerful prophetic experiences that provide insight into what will happen in the days ahead in Kansas City, the USA, and other nations. These supernatural experiences were given to several prophetic people in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They include times when various believers saw the Lord, heard God’s audible voice, saw an angel, or had prophetic dreams that were dramatically confirmed. These prophetic experiences are referred to as IHOP-KC’s prophetic history. Scripture, being the highest standard and guardian of truth, is our primary light in a dark world. However, the Lord sometimes gives us prophetic experiences to highlight aspects of our specific ministry assignment and to strengthen us in our faith to believe for the release of His extraordinary blessing. (19)

 Remember what I just wrote about their view of Acts? Prophetic experiences, seeing Jesus, hearing audible voices, seeing an angel. . .”Scripture being the highest standard and guardian of truth is our primary light” [but not our only one]. Primary can mean first as in chief or primary can mean the first reference sought or first in a line of several. Extremist Tommy Tenney, author of the best seller The God Chasers stated that the Bible contained the dusty footprints of where God had been but now we had to rely on the Holy Spirit to take us to new experiences and revelations that continue where the bible stops. Extremists believe that the that the 29th chapter of the Book of Acts is being written today.

 After making his one weak statement on the semi-sufficiency of Scripture Bickle goes on to say “however,” meaning that yes we look to the Bible but the Lord gives us additional prophetic experiences outside of the Bible. There has been an alarming downward spiritual turn in the charismatic renewal since the early 1990’s.

[A SHORT BUT IMPORTANT RABBIT TRAIL BEGINS HERE]

The extremists took a further step towards cult status during the beginning of the so called “Toronto Blessing” which I have already proven beyond question in my book The Two Roots of Today’s Revival was demonically inspired and empowered and transmitted by men. When critics, such as myself and other heresy-hunters began to contact pastor Arnott (which I did) Kilpatrick, Rodney Howard Browne (the Holy Ghost bartender) and others about our concerns over what was being taught and practiced we were then told what has now become the official party-line when challenged about their unbiblical doctrines & practices.

 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25

 In expressing my concerns to former Pastor Arnott (20) and warning him that if he did not explain himself biblically I would have no recourse but to warn the Body of Christ to the fullest extent of my ability (Matthew 18:17) as meager as that may be. His response was to cite John 21:25 as his way of explaining spiritual drunkenness, making of animal sounds by the guest Pastor as he attempted to read the Scriptures and some other excesses we witnessed and videotaped. Everything that was done simply falls into the category of the “many other things which Jesus did” that are not recorded in the bible (keep in mind these people think they are writing the last chapter of Acts now). How then are we to judge such expressions?  Simple.  We are to believe in the revelations and prophetic directives given by the restored apostles and prophets. So spiritual drunkenness is from the Holy Spirit because John Arnoot/Kilpratrick/Hogan (___insert a name) says it is, and after all, God has called them to, in Kilpatrick’s own words “shepherd the revival” ergo he and the other leaders know what is from the Spirit and what is not, they are the authority in these cases since the Bible is silentDoes that seem strange to you?  Isn’t this what happened in the early church (the pattern)? Originally the Apostles took what Scriptures they had, the O.T. and received new insight into it via The Spirit. God has changed not (MalachI 3:6) and so today we can/should expect God to speak to His apostles and prophets and they then will faithfully reveal it to the Church, who will out of loving obedience to godly authority DO what the apostles and prophets direct. Whenever any leader attempts to lead people away from the Bible and into subjective experiences and asks them to place faith in their new revelations, then those people have departed from the one true and holy Apostolic Church. How so? When people reject the sole authority of Scripture and have added alongside it subjective revelations and experiences which they deem authoritative on the basis of a shared consensus, then these people have left the sure anchor of their souls (Hebrews 6:19) and are adrift on a sea of darkness and human speculation.

 [END OF THIS RABBIT TRAIL]

 IHOP came into being as a direct result of these main influences (1) assorted historical prayer movements, (2) concepts on power prayer, power fasting, power worship gleaned from the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR), and (3) one text from the New Testament.

 Bickle is correct when he comments that there were various prayer movements in the history of the Church. He mentions the Moravians, a Pietistic group led by Count Zinzendof and their admirable history of continual prayer. The next major movement he cites is the “Prayer Mountain” started in 1973 by Dr. Paul Cho, charismatic extremist with the largest church in the world. (21) Bickle cites other examples on his web site (22) and he attributes great spiritual moves of God directly to these various prayer endeavors.

 From his study of revival history he came away with the conviction that if enough people pray with sincerity and passion long enough then God will answer the pleas ascending to His throne by these tireless prayer warriors (Luke 11:9). Extremists base their staunch position that whatever God did for others in the past He is obligated to do the same and more for us, because He does not change (Mal. 3:6) and He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11) and since these are the last days we can expect ALL THINGS to now be restored (Acts 3:21).

 Bickle took his own conclusions from prayer movements of the past and added the “power” component that the NOLR SINisters taught him. Since the late 1940’s the vast majority of Pentecostal / charismatic books are focused on some facet of the power of God and how to obtain it and use it. Prayer ceased to be simple communion with our Lord, crying out our hearts to Him in both joy and sadness, in plenty and in want. No, for these members of Joel’s army, these proto-Manifest Sons of God (MSOG) prayer becomes a tool in the hands of the adept by which he or she decrees things into existence (Job 22:28), subdues the principalities and powers, releases weal or woe.

 With these two legs of his stool in place Bickle simply needed to add the Biblical “leg” of his work in progress, The IHOP. Charismatic extremists are highly gullible, but they still require some sort of Biblical text to at least cast the dimmest of Biblical light upon their beliefs. Extremists are quick to cite Acts 2:1-6 where the people were all gathered together in prayer and the Lord shook the place and three thousand souls were saved due to Peter’s prayer-fueled Spirit anointed preaching. First came prayer (directed by the Lord) THEN came the Holy Spirit with POWER — anointing the prayer warriors, chief of whom was the Apostle Peter whom preached under the anointing and thousands were saved. So in Bickle’s mind and now the minds of thousands of people the account means this today: a group of people in one accord (aka spiritual agreement) praying equals revival. Let everything be established by at least two witnesses (2 Cor. 13:1) so Bickle initially attempted to use Acts 15:16 as his key scriptural proof text.

 The context of Scripture means little to nothing to extremists. Read any recognized biblical commentary and they all uniformly agree that this passage has absolutely nothing to do with the re-establishment of Davidic worship as a pattern for the Church nor does it have anything to do with the return of Christ. When Bickle was confronted with the irrefutable context and thus true meaning of the text he backed off and now states on his web site:

 We affirm that the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority. (Lk. 18:7-8; Mt. 21:13; Rev. 5:8, 8:3-5, 22:17; Isaiah 62:6-7; Joel 2:12-17, 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the tabernacle of David… In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord night and day. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians. (23)

 Bickle had to back off from declaring what he has created is in fact the re-established Davidic tabernacle and must settle for being merely in the spirit of Davidic worship. By way of quick review the three legs of Bickle’s wobbly throne are his view of revival history combined with heretical and aberrant teachings of the NOLR buttressed by a few texts that were wrest from their contextual setting. This is how the rapidly growing phenomena of The IHOP got started.

 Next month we will consider the three key ingredients that comprise a “service” at IHOP and what these ingredients are supposed to facilitate in both heaven and on earth!

 Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. For more information go to http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/uhj

2. Continue reading on Examiner.com Rick Perry bases call for national salvation on “Joel’s Army” cult movement – National Political Buzz | Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/uhj#ixzz1SgLaYnXs

 3. Charismatic extremists are besotted with their false concepts of the “anointing,” which they define as the tangible-power of God given by the Spirit to believers. This power can be increased or decreased by the believers’ actions. Like Baskin-Robbins there are many flavors of the anointing and these folks hope to tap into the three major levels of anointing in these IHOP meetings. They teach there is a priestly anointing, a prophetic anointing and a kingly anointing (the decreeing anointing Job 22:28). They base this on some Old Testament references and couple it with the fact that Jesus ministered as a prophet, priest and King. Thus as His disciples who are called to go and do greater works than Jesus Himself (John 14:12) {according to their beliefs} then it only stands to reason that we too must have access to these levels of mystical power. Fortunately through the restored ministries of the apostle (I call them opossums)and prophets (whom I denote as profits) the disciples again has access to these endowments of power.

 4. I believe that God does not answer the prayers of unbelievers. Why? Because all prayer is offered to God in the name of His Son our Lord Jesus (John 14:13) and how can one pray in His holy name if they do not even believe in Him?

5. I do agree with our sign-gift brethren that part of our role as priests before God is to offer prayers on the behalf of the citizens of the Kingdom and those outside its sphere.

 6. I am a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Detroit (LCMS). We are unique in virtually all of the LCMS denomination due to our emphasis on adhering to the best of the Church’s reformation liturgical history. We are unapologetically a “smells & bells” congregation, as ministers we wear vestments according to the historic Church Year, we follow the historic One Year lectionary and much of our time together is devoted to prayer.

 7. The Holy Bible: English standard version 2001 (Mt. 14:22-23). Wheaton Standard Bible Society.

8. Ibid.

9. If anything this is the only genuine “40 Day of Purpose” in the Bible.

 10. Please understand I am not confusing the things the Jesus only could do as our Savior and the God-man. What I am saying regarding His prayer life and His directive “When ye fast” to mean these practices are not optional in the life of the believer. I believe that the Word of God creates faith that brings about willing obedience to God’s Word via the work of the Holy Spirit. Ergo, what we hear the Bible teach on prayer and fasting correctly, it creates a desire to do that which is pleasing to our Lord and God. As I like to say, it is not a “have to” but a “get to” and even more, now with a new heart (Eze. 36:26) the inner man desires to please the Lord (Romans 7:22).

 11. I initially joined the Pentecostal Church of god one of the original Pentecostal denominations formed around 1914-1916. Later on I left that congregation and joined a Word of Faith congregation replete with a Rhema graduate “pastor/prophet” Joseph Frye. Traditional Pentecostals are doctrinally the same as fundamentalist Baptists just add tongues (admittedly a reductionist comment). Charismatics come from all denominations & have no real centralized headquarters an amorphous bunch to be sure.

 12. Article can be read at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20016654-504083.html

13. Article is available at http://www.freepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2521723/posts as of 08-11-11

14. Quote obtained from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html?_r=3 on 08-14-11. ‘

15. Obtained from http://www.ihop.org/Groups.aspx?ID=1000036203 on 08-14 Underlining added for emphasis

16. The first three major texts I have cited are available on our CD Rom research disk on the New Order of the Latter Rain. For a mere $25.00 one can have a huge collection of out-of-print materials, some video and audio clips, overheads, pictures, sermons, etc.

17. Hamon, Bill, The Eternal Church p. 385, Destiny Image publication. Underlining added for emphasis.

 18. I cannot stress this fact enough. Acts is seen as the model, the norm for our Christian life. They fail to take into account that the book itself was written as a historical account of what took place. Although there is doctrine contained in Acts, it is not a source of Church doctrine per se. They posit that when they see miracles stopping in the Church that must have been the point at which power was lost, as more obvious false doctrines began to be accepted they would say that is when revelation was lost.

 19. Obtained from http://mikebickle.org/resources/series/38 Underlining added for emphasis.

 20. He left the Toronto Airport church as pastor to shepherd the revival as he likes to call it. There is some mystery as to whether he left on his own or he was asked to heave. I believe the latter due to all the attending problems of trying to pastor a church with members while entertaining out of country guests 7 days a week for a few years. Burn out occurs especially among the members who get shunted aside. Also, Kilpatrick from the Pensacola Outpouring also lost his pulpit when the fires died down and the fraudulent financial practices and faked manifestations came to light. They both can be found at the Holy Spirit revival at “The Bay” in Texas.

 21. I do not mean the largest charismatic church. I mean the LARGEST CHURCH & CONGREGATION in the history of the world (what does that teach us about the “narrow way.”?)

Advertisements




The Eternality of the Liturgy (part Four)

2 03 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 2 – The Eternality of the Liturgy (part Four) – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Eternality of the Liturgy (part Four)

Rev. Bob Liichow

Jesus taught us that the true God must be worshiped in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) and as we have been studying over the last several months He has always revealed to His people the manner in which He is to be properly addressed. The purpose behind these articles is to explore the historic orthodox Christian liturgical format of worship and thus enable each of us to determine whether or not our own congregations are truly worshipping God in a manner that is acceptable to Him.

As we have already seen that it is quite possible to worship God and our worship be rejected by Him, regardless of how good our intentions were. Consider the following sad case: two men came to worship God, one brought the best of his garden, faultless produce. The other brother brought the firstling of his flock. God rejected the first act of worship and accepted the other (Genesis 4). No doubt Cain meant well, but when it comes to serving God good intentions are not enough. If good intentions and desire were enough to qualify one to approach God then why the following command from God?

And Aaron and his sons shalt thou appoint that they may attend to their priest’s office; and the stranger that cometh near shall be put to death. (Numbers 3:10) (1)

The “stranger” was anyone whom God had not ordained to serve in His temple. What about those whom He did call but failed to serve “according to the pattern” revealed by God?

And the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, took each of them his cener, and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and presented strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And there went out fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah (Leviticus 10:1-2) (2)

In this case two “non-strangers” offered strange fire, i.e. a sacrifice not required by God nor desired by Him. The end result? Instant death. These were Aaron’s sons, Moses brother, his second in command! Seems pretty harsh to some, yet it says to me that our God is holy and He will have a people to worship Him aright. I could wag long about Samson who went to sleep, woke up shorn and did not know that God had left him (Judges 16:20). It is evident from the whole of scripture that God takes worship very seriously.

Most certainly we live under a better covenant which is based upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6) and we are free in Christ by the Spirit from bondage of the law (Romans 8:2). Yet being “free” from the Law does not make us a lawless people. Being in Christ does not mean that we now can approach The Ancient of Days in any form or fashion. This is especially true fro when we gather together to worship our Lord.

The early church understood the seriousness of approaching God properly, they were mostly Jews by natural birth and thus were raised within the worship structures of both the synagogue and temple.

The historic liturgy of the Church is a combination of both Judaic and Hellenistic influences. Obviously, the Jewish influences are the earliest and comprise much of the “heart” of our services today. From the Jews we obtained.

The Eucharist the Sacraments

Prayer in Common The Liturgical sermon

Most of the service of the Word — that two lectionary readings and the Psalmody between them concluding with the sermon comes to us from Jewish practice. The structure of the ancient Eucharistic prayer come from Israel and is preserved today (albeit fragmented) in the Preface and the canon. Also from Israel comes the great intercessory prayer which was once common in liturgical services and it was modeled on the 18 Intercessions recited at the beginning of synagogue services. The seven day week comes to us via Israel, as do the major Feasts of the Church such as Pentecost and Easter. Even the concept of our “Church” year comes to us via the Jews.

The times of liturgical prayer stem from the root of Abraham’s seed also. Not only was the secular year divided by major Feast Days commemorating the salvicfic acts of our God, but the day was divided into prayer offices. [It is funny to me when I dialog with Muslims how they always bring up their 5 times of prayer a day…little do they realize that Mohammed took the idea from the Church first!]. The following is how the day was historically divided by seasons of prayer (these may differ slightly depending upon whom is cited):

Vespers (at the end of the day)

Compline (upon retiring)

Vigils (sometimes during the night)

Matins (Lauds) (at sunrise)

Prime (during the first hour of daylight)

Terce (at the third hour)

Sext (at the sixth hour)

None (at the ninth hour)

Vespers (at the end of the day)

Benedict of Nursia laid out in his Rule these hours for prayer. (3) This system of prayer was followed by the Church for hundreds of years, some religious orders still keep these hours daily. It is obviously not practical for everyone to attempt to put into play these prayer hours, but all of us could embrace Matins (Lauds) when we rise and Vespers or Compline at the end of our day. From Judaism came the use of the Laudate psalms, invitatory formula such as sursum corda {life up your hears}, oremus {let us pray}, gratias agamus {let us give thanks} is also of Jewish origin. This much is certain we all are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

It should be evident that worship was never a spontaneous “event” or necessarily even an emotional experience (I however personally find worship highly emotional). The year, the months (seasons), the weeks and even daily life was all geared towards the worship of God. I cannot stress this fact strongly enough. We live in a have–it-your-own-way culture, especially when it comes to spirituality. Many congregations across denominational lines have removed the cross from their walls (never mind crucifixes), taken Bibles out of the pews, ministers that no longer wear any type of vestments (a Ralph Loren© Polo Shirt does not count either). Their services are specifically crafted to meet the needs of the seeker. (4) What is the goal of these worship services? Having sat in meetings dedicated to church growth, I can answer on their behalf “what is our goal? To be sure that everyone has an enjoyable worship experience.” In order to achieve this goal then one has to dumb down the Gospel message and be very selective in what is proclaimed from the moveable lectern (altars are passé as well). Our charismatic brethren are even looser in their worship format — they pride themselves on not having one! In fact, I’ve been in many meetings where the ‘Spirit’ moved and no Bible was preached — and these were deemed GREAT services by all (except Jesus, who was no doubt weeping in intercession for us)! Charismatic believers seem to think that “change” equals growth and development. (5) Change is proof that God is indeed moving among His people. Since the time of Zwingli then the Wesley’s (John and Charles) and later that arch-heretic Charles Fox (“fox” how apt) Finney; it seems like the cry has been and still is “out with the old” and “in with the new innovations.” Did not Jesus Himself say that old wineskins (whatever people before you came to Christ) could not hold this new wine of today’s revelation? (see Mark 2:22)…Please re-read the passage and then tell me if that is what Jesus was saying.

Historically, Martin Luther cried out against the destruction of crucifixes, religious artwork, vestments, statuary and icons. (6) The more radical reformers sought to destroy everything that was attached to Roman Catholicism. They not only destroyed the physical reminders of Rome, but also did away with the liturgy as well! In their ignorance they failed to realize that the liturgical practices preceded the formation of the Roman Catholic Church by hundreds of years. Style of worship has a direct correlation to doctrinal belief. Change for the sake of change or to attempt to entice the lost or worse yet, steal sheep from another flock is the work of sinful people who have strayed from God’s revealed will for proper worship.

Brothers and sisters, humanistic innovation is not God’s way of worship. It never has been and regardless of whatever is popular now I can assure you that anything that deviates from His pattern will never be accepted by Him. Nuf said about that!

Perhaps one of the most striking and unique things about liturgical Christianity, and especially in this age of rapid change and even change for its own sake, is its permanence and changelessness. This is especially true for the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day. This was also true of the Western Roman Church until the past century when the reforms of Vatican II significantly altered the liturgical form of the Roman mass. It has been said that one of the most distinctive characteristics of the Orthodox Church is “its determination to remain loyal to the past its sense of living continuity with the church of ancient times.” (7)

What Was Early Christian Worship Like?

Depends on what one defines as early. We have little written evidence regarding the manner in which the Apostles led their actual worship services, apart from the information found in the Book of Acts and some of the Epistles. We’ve already covered in the previous articles how the first believers continued in the Temple until the dispersion around 70 A.D. We know that the initial roots of the Church were Jewish in all their flavor because that is all the Apostles had experienced at the time. It was really not until the apostle Paul began to purposefully reach out to the Gentiles and churches were established in the major Gentile cities that a new Hellenistic flavor was added to the Hebraic worship format. We know that initially the people gathered in homes to worship and for a short while did not experience much persecution. That changed as the church began to grow and converts began to multiply. Persecution arose frist from within Judaism (as the Stephen or later on the Apostle Paul when you see them in heaven) and then later on from pagans (see Acts 19:23-41) appealing to secular authorities and then fairly quickly this turns to persecution from Rome.

It was at this point, due to the intense public persecution of the Church by Roman authorities that the believers went under ground. By 70 A.D. the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews and many Christians scattered, so there was no more temple worship and furthermore, Christians were no longer welcome in the synagogues being seen now as a separate religion distinct from the Jews (at least in the eyes of the Roman government). The dispersion of believers into the Roman Empire led to the bulk of conversions occurring within the ranks of non-Jewish people giving the “face” of the Church a distinct Greco-Roman profile.

The earliest non-canonical writings we have give us some insight into the worship practices. One of the earliest accepted documents is called “The Didache, The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.” (8) Many scholars’ date this short document to being written sometime early in the first century. “Didache” comes from the Greek word for doctrine or didactic and it is a sort of manual on general Christian life. Many sign-gift seekers like to cite the Didache because it deals with prophets. What they fail to realize is how damning the documents teachings are relating to today’s so-called restored prophets. Regarding prophets it says:

But not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him. (9)

It is important to keep in mind that at the time of this writing, approximately ten years after the death of the Apostle John (give or take a year or so), there still was no formalized canon of Scripture codified as we now possess. There still were a few men who filled the roles of prophets or apostles (i.e. men sent possibly via the Apostle John himself, or someone sent by a recognized Bishop). What I find interesting to read is how, apart from our Scriptures, the Church is warned in one of its earliest remaining documents about the danger of false teachers, false propjets and false apostles!

Those who came to the Church in the name of a prophet or apostle were to remain no more than three days and ask for no money! If they stayed longer or asked for money it was proof they were false SINisters. Due to the fact of a smattering of genuine charismatic gifts still in operation, the early church was cautious not to totally dismiss the possibility that God had indeed sent the individual to them —but they surely were fruit inspectors (Matt. 7:16).

Liturgically speaking what we glean from the Didache primarily concerns the Eucharistic meal. First, only those rightly baptized, i.e. according to the standard Trinitarian formula were to be allowed to receive communion. The agape meal was held each Lord’s day — every Sunday was a “communion Sunday” not every fourth Sunday, not once a month or annually but every time they gathered. Frankly, I know of no other congregations apart from liturgical ones that still practice regular weekly communion.

But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let on one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.” (10)

So without laboring the point it seems that this nascent Christian church began with a confession of sin, offering up of thanksgiving, celebration of the Eucharist along with teaching. (11) Few evangelical congregations today have any confession of sin in their services. People gather, the band starts to play and the people immediately begin singing! This speaks volumes of the leadership/.congregation’s attitude towards the reality of sin, the absolute inviolate holy nature of the One they have come to praise. All orthodox liturgical services begin generally with people on their knees with voices united in a corporate confession of sin and then we hear the welcome words of absolution declaring our sins forgiven by Christ and His work alone. For me and my family this is absolutely fabulous and sets the tone for the rest of the service. Once we as a people have confessed our sins, received our pardon (acknowledgment of grace) then and only then are we as a congregation able fully to enter into the presence of God corporately. There is true spiritual unity when you worship amidst a people who kneel before God fresh as new borne babes.

Next time we will continue our consideration of worship and look at Hippolytus and the Apostolic Constitutions. Stay tuned! ¨

Copyright © Rev. Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Darby, J.N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures: A new translation from the original languages (Nu 3:10). Oak Harbor, Logos Research Systems.

2. Darby, J.N. (1996) The Holy Scriptures: A new translation from the original languages (Le 10:1-2). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

3. The following is a good web site to get a glimpse into the prayer hours http://www.yale.edu/adhoc/research_resources/liturgy/hours.html

4. I have always struggled with the concept of seekers. The Bible plainly teaches in both Testaments that there is NONE that seeks after God–no not one (see Romans 3:11). People are searching but not for the God of the Bible, He is the One who does the seeking and He always finds the ones He seeks!

5. All our former charismatic readers will relate to the FACT that almost every charismatic congregation attempts to achieve their understanding of “early church” structure — you know “we are a Book of Acts church!” declaration. Yet none of these fellowships are liturgical at all in any historical/orthodox sense!  What the claim to be (early church) they are not —in fact, early Christians would not recognize most of what happens in 90% of churches today.

6. Luther believed these things were made by the hands of pious men for holy reasons. Historic Lutheran churches are filled with inspirational artwork, but we do not pray to them!

7. Obtained from http://www.liturgica.com/html/litChLit.jsp.

8. Obtained from http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/didache.htm. At this web site you can read the entire document, which is only a couple of pages in length.

9. Obtained from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html. Underlining added for emphasis.

10 ibid. Underlining and italics added for emphasis.

11. The teaching aspect is easily seen in the other portions of the Didache.





The Eternality of the Liturgy (part Three)

20 12 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 12 – The Eternality of the Liturgy (part Three) – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Eternality of the Liturgy (part Three)

Rev. Bob Liichow

Truth matters to God. One revelation of His immutable nature is that of veracity or truth. Our God does not simply possess the truth, He is fount of truth, and truth is part of who God is. The following are just a few examples from both the Old and New Testaments demonstrating that God is truth:

God is true (John 3:33): he who sent me is true (John 7:28); let God be true though every man a liar (Rom. 3:4); he who sent me is true (John 8:26); O Lord, God of truth (Ps. 31:5); the God of truth (Isa. 65: 16); he who is true (Rev. 3:7); do not your eyes look for truth? (Jer. 5:3); I will be their God in truth and righteousness (Zech. 8:8); the Spirit of truth (John14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13); the Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:7); the only true God (John 17:3); Christ came to maintain the truth of God in fulfilling the promises (Rom. 15:8); to serve a living and true God (1 Thess. 1:9); his anointing is true and is no lie (1 John 2:27); grace, mercy and peace from God, in truth and love (2 John 3); the faithful and true witness (Rev. 3:14); O Lord, holy and true (Rev. 6:10); just and true are your ways (Rev. 16:7); his judgments are true and righteous (Rev.19:2); I am the truth (John 14:6); truth is in Jesus (Eph. 4:21); the Word, full of grace and truth (John 1:14); grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17); we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ (1John 5:20); I am the true vine (John 15:1); the authentic light that enlightens every man (John 1:9); the rider is called Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11). (1)

Having read the above passages our Lord’s statement perhaps takes on more importance of gravitas (to use a little political lingo):

You worship what you do not know, we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:22-24

What an indictment! Jesus declares that these people are worshipping a Being that they did not really know. Undoubtedly these folks thought they were doing a fine job and really being of service to God, when in reality nothing was being accomplished apart from enthusiastic ignorance (and I am sure a “good time” was had by all in those services).

Our Master says quite emphatically about “truth” when He says that hour is coming when “true” worshipers (2) as opposed to the hypocrites and spiritual vagabonds will worship in spirit and truth. What is also interesting in what Jesus says is that the Father is SEEKING such a people, those who will worship Him in a manner that pleases Him (and isn’t that our point after all?). The Greek word for “seek” implies an aggressive purposeful search on the part of the seeker, which excites me because I know when the LORD seeks something or someone, He always finds it.

By the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry Jewish religious life had solidified into two major facets. The Jews had both temple and synagogue worship. The temple was the place God ordained to meet with His people, where they were to offer various sacrificial offerings, etc. All the people of the nation were commanded to come to the temple at specific times depending on the events in the Jewish liturgical calendar. The synagogues on the other hand were local places found within the villages and towns. The temple, its worship services, ministers, vestments, etc. were ordained by God, the synagogues were never established by God but were the Israelites response to the man-made legalism which developed. In Jesus’ lifetime worship had denigrated from God’s pattern into a humanistic system of works to such a degree that there was a synagogue in Harrods’s temple. Even though the presence of a synagogue was not in God’s original temple planning, it was the place where many of the people came to hear the Word of God proclaimed by various rabbis of that day:

Readers of the New Testament know what precious opportunities it offered for making known the Gospel. Its services were, indeed, singularly elastic. For the main object of the synagogue was the teaching of the people. The very idea of its institution, before and at the time of Ezra, explains and conveys this, and it is confirmed by the testimony of Josephus (Ag. Apion, ii, 157-172). But perhaps the ordinary reader of the New Testament may have failed to notice, how prominently this element in the synagogue is brought out in the gospel history. Yet the word “teaching” is used so frequently in connection with our Lord’s appearance in the synagogue, that its lesson is obvious (see Matt 4:23; Mk 1:21, 6:2; Lk 4:15, 6:6, 13:10; Jhn 6:59, 18:20). The “teaching” part of the service consisted mainly in reading a section from the law, with which the reading of a portion from the prophets, and a sermon, or address, were conjoined. Of course, the liturgical element could in such services never have been quite wanting, and it soon acquired considerable importance. It consisted of prayer and the pronouncing of the Aaronic blessing (Num 6:24-26) by priests—that is, of course, not by Rabbis, who were merely teachers of course, not Rabbis, who were merely teachers or doctors, but by lineal descendants of the house of Aaron.

There was no service of “praise” in the synagogues. (3)

Whether the synagogue was located in the temple precincts itself or in a small village the same worship format or liturgy was followed. The Jews were a “confessional” people in that they publically confessed their creedal beliefs and tried to live by them. The most famous prayer which Israel prays to this day is the “Shema”

Public worship * commenced on ordinary occasions with the so-called “Shema,” which was preceded in the morning and evening by two “benedictions,” and succeeded in the morning by one, and in the evening by two, benedictions; the second being, strictly speaking, an evening prayer. The “Shema” was a kind of “belief,” or “creed,” composed of these three passages of Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21; Numbers 15:37-41. It obtained its name from the initial word “shema”: Hear, O Israel,” in Deuteronomy 6:4. From the Mishnah (Ber. 1:3) we learn, that this part of the service existed already before the time of our Lord: and we are told (Ber. Iii. 3) that all males were bound to repeat this belief twice every day; children and slaves, as well as women, being exempted from the obligation. There can be no reasonable doubt on the subject, as the Mishnah expressly mentions the three Scriptural sections of the “Shema,” the number of benedictions before and after it, and even the initial words of the closing benediction (Ber. Ii. 2, I. 4; Tamid, v. 1). We have, therefore, here certain prayers which our Lord Himself had not only heard, but in which He must have shared—to what extent will appear in the sequel. These prayers still exist in the synagogue, although with later additions, which, happily, it is not difficult to eliminate. Before transcribing them, it may be quoted as a mark of the value attached to them, that it was lawful to say this and the other daily prayers–to which we shall hereafter refer—and the “grace at meat,” not only in Hebrew, but in any other language, in order to secure a general understanding of the service (Sotah, vii. 1). At the same time, expressions are used which lead us to suppose that, while the liturgical formulae connected with the “Shema” were fixed, there were local variations, in the way of lengthening or shortening (Ber. i. 4) (4)

Even the wording of certain prayers was established prior to the time of Jesus. Temple and synagogues prayers were for the most part “scripted” and not uttered ex-cathedra (originating from the heart). For example the confession of the “Shema” involved passages before and after the text in Deut. 6:4-9. Without getting bogged down in minutiae of the prayers I hope you can see that even in the synagogue worship was not disorganized nor was it “Spirit-led.” (5)   The rabbis prayed aloud, opening and closing the services with biblical prayers that the people responded to with an “amen.” Whereas the synagogue liturgy was not as formalized as the temple worship it nonetheless existed and was well known and accepted by all the Jewish people.

The disciples of Jesus grew up in a liturgical format of worship and knew nothing else, because what they had was revealed to them by God (albeit marred by a few generations of sin). So it comes as no surprise that we see Jesus and His disciples continually in either the synagogues (see Mark 3:11; 6:2) or the Temple (see Mark 13:1; John 8:1).

After our Lord was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven what do we see? We find the disciples worshipping God in the temple by attending one of the Jewish liturgical hours for prayer, “Now Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.” (Acts 3:1) The Apostle Paul’s practice was to visit the local synagogue first, for example; “And it came to pass in Iconium that they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of Jews and of Greeks believed.” (Acts 14:1)

The Christians, who were seen initially by the Romans as merely a sect of the Jews and as such were left alone. (6) The early Church worshipped in the temple and also met together in their homes to hear the Apostles:

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and shared all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with al the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:42-27 (7)

The early Christian Church came into being as a liturgical

Naturally, worship has now taken on an entirely new meaning for these fledgling Christians (at this point the word had not even been coined) whereas before they had been looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, now He has come and His flock await His return. The liturgy did not change, but the true underlying meaning behind the liturgy was now fully understood and thus it became more meaningful in the lives of the disciples.

Church because Jews worshipped liturgically. The New Testament records numerous instances of liturgical worship, which range from pure Jewish practices (such as Peter and John going to the Temple because it was the hour of prayer) to Christian liturgical worship (which confirms that the early Christians met and worshipped following Jewish liturgical practices, and added to them the rite of the Eucharist). (9)

The early disciples saw all the feasts and sacrifices fulfilled in Christ and could now fully celebrate these events in His light. Christ now is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) and He Himself established the liturgy for the Divine Service during the last supper (see Matt. 14) which now became the focus of worship.

Historically there is not a large amount of documentation we can refer to regarding the earliest Church practices due to persecution and much of the Church was underground until Constantine the Great. From what we do have recorded in the Book and a few other places the following statement is surely accurate:

Some elements of Jewish spirituality were undoubtedly part of the early Christian worship, such as the use of readings from Hebrew Scriptures and even the use of Hebrew words such as amen and alleluia. New Testament accounts in Luke 4:16-30 and Acts 13:15-16 indicate early Christians were familiar with Sabbath synagogue gatherings involving proclamation of Scripture and preaching. The Christian word service may also be connected with Jewish use of hymn singing and religious discourse associated with meals…Because of the sporadic persecutions, the Church was forced to gather in private homes for liturgical celebrations. Some of the churches in the city of Rome today still bear the names of the owners of the homes where the first Christians met, such as Clement. We also know that the language of worship used in Rome was Greek, since it was the common language used throughout the Roman empire at that time. Like churches in other parts of the world, the Roman Church used the Jewish Calendar to determine the date of the feast of Easter and the following 50-day period of celebration leading up to Pentecost. One point of distinction of the Roman Church is that it always began the Easter celebrations on the Sunday closest to 14 Nisan, unlike some other churches who celebrated Easter on this date, no matter what day of the week it occurred. (10)

Next time we will consider how the early Church worshipped and how that applies to our life of worship today. ¨ 

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Logos international software, New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 2010.

2. 1. LN 70.3 real, not imaginary (Jn 17:3); 2. LN 72.1 true, being in accordance with fact (Jn 19:35); 3, LN 73.2 genuine, sincere, true (Heb 10:22+; 1 Pe 1:22 v.r.), Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek New Testament.

3. Obtained from NavPress Bible Software, Quick Verse 2010, Sketches of Jewish Social Life Electronic Edition STEP files Copyright © 2001, Findex.com All rights reserved.

4. Ibid. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

5. In saying this I refer to today’s belief that “Spirit-led” means no planning just the unexpected thus unplanned for visitation of God.

6. Obviously this relationship changed once Christianity developed enough to be seen as it was, a “new” religion, one that captivated the allegiance of its followers from the human emperor to that of Jesus Christ and as such Christianity was seen as a danger to the state and persecuted until the coming of Constantine in approx. 312 A.D.

7. The Holy Bible: King James Version, 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Ac 2:42-47), Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. (all Bible unless cited otherwise come from Logos Research Systems.

8. Believers were first called “Christians” in Antioch see Acts 11:26

9. Quote obtained from http://www.liturgica.com/html/litEChLit.jsp on 11-30-10

10. Obtained from http://www.liturgica.com/html/litWLEarly.jsp 12/05/10 bold type added to honor the Scriptures cited.

I have received a few emails making mention of this latest pathetic attempt to keep a money-making revival machine in gear.

As a cat owner and lover I too urge a return to orthodox, Christian worship…Think of the Kittens!





The Eternality of the Liturgy (Part Two)

6 12 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November  2010 – Vol. 16 Issue 10 – The Eternality of the Liturgy (Part Two) – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Eternality of the Liturgy (Part Two)

Rev. Robert S. Liichow

In this short series we are considering whether or not God has handed down to us a specific manner in which He is to be worshipped. I was born an American and was raised on a diet of self-sufficiency, having it my own way, Yankee ingenuity and inventiveness. This attitude really belongs to most of us and it is certainly seen in the way in which worship services are conducted. Being immersed in apologetical (1) thinking for many years I have come to the conslusion that there are no grey areas when it comes to “God.” (2) Either something is right or it is wrong. Oh I suppose I will admit to there being another position taken by many in the pews, that of lukewarm, that comfortable mixture of equal parts “hot” and “cold” (or shall I say “right” and “wrong” resulting in a dandy shade of gray). Those who prefer to straddle the middle ground, neither being hot or cold make God nauseous to the degree of vomiting them out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16).

Either the manner in which we worship God is acceptable in His eyes or it is not. It cannot be both, truth matters it really does. Regarding worship there are only three possible origins of our practice: (1) divinely revealed by God (3), (2) created out of man’s fallen desire, (3) inspired by Satan and demons. I readily acknowledge that as sinful beings we are not capable of achieving 100% divinely inspired and operated church services in this life. Yet I firmly believe that as God’s people it behooves us to strive with our all to come as close to following God’s pattern as revealed to us in the Bible. Lastly, I see no biblical authority for the congregations to ever depart from what God has revealed as acceptable worship. Times and cultures change, music styles change, but God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Truth by its very nature is changeless.

The Liturgy as Practiced in the Old Testament

What sets Judaism apart from all other religions is that God reaches out to humanity and reveals Himself to His chosen people. Every other religious system (4) is man’s vain strivings to create a god(s) after his own image and tastes based on an incomplete general revelation that some God does in fact exist (Roman 1).

God Himself is the aggressor, the One who seeks Adam to walk with him in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). The Ancient of Days is the One who spoke to Abram first (Genesis 12:1) and it was no less than Jah (Psalm 68:4) who addressed Moses in the bush that burned but was not consumed in Exodus 3:2.

It is beyond the scope of this brief article to detail the manner in which people worshipped the true and living God from Adam until the formation of the Hebrew nation. Suffice it to say it was only with the advent of the Hebrew nation that God’s will was codified by God on tablets of stone and then through Moses. As the unique people who bore God’s name before the world His directions for worship should be examined especially in light of the reality that the Church was birthed as the fullest expression of Judaism.

The Twelve tribes leave Egypt under the guidance of Moses (Exodus 6:6). After some trekking they arrive at Mount Sinai where Moses goes up alone to meet with the Lord. In his absence the people prevail upon Aaron to “make us gods, which shall go before us” (Exodus 32:1) which Aaron does and the people sing, dance and play around the god of their own making (Exodus 32:6).

This man-made idolatrous (5) worship kindles the wrath of God who is in the midst of fellowshipping with Moses. God is so angered by the false piety of the people that He declares that He will destroy them (Exodus 32:10) and offers to make of Moses a great nation instead of the Israelites. Moses intercedes on the people’s behalf and God’s wrath is turned away at the cost of several thousand stiff necked Israelites at the hands of the tribe of Levi later on in the same chapter.

Without recounting all of Israel’s desert dealings with God suffice it to say that Moses receives the law written by God for the people and a little later on God reveals to Moses the exact pattern for His tabernacle and the worship therein.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. Exodus 25:8-9

If you will take some time and re-read Exodus chapters 26-29 you will read about just some of the exquisite and exacting details God ordained for His place of interacting with His people. Moses and the artisans were not allowed to be “creative. On the contrary they built according to the pattern shown by God to Moses. God even gifted the craftsmen (see Exodus 31:2-14). From start to finish God alone was to receive the glory. It is a charismanic adage is true “where God gives the vision, He supplies the provision” and this is certainly evident in this case; He supplied the vision, the layout if you will, and then anoint (6) or gifts the workers to carry it out exactly as shown. What was shown to Moses? He saw the layout of the true spiritual sanctuary in heaven:

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. Hebrews 8:5

From what the Scriptures detail of heaven it seems to me that a portion of it is reserved for the specific worship of our Triune God. All of us are familiar with the account given by Isaiah in Chapter 6. His account is paralleled by the Apostle John who wrote the following:

In Revelation 4 and 5, the Apostle John was shown a vision of heaven. He witnessed worship before the throne of God. He records the presence of twenty-four elders before the throne bowing down before the Lord. Angelic creatures are praising God saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come” (verse 8). He sees tens of thousands of angels worshiping the Lamb who was slain (5:11-12), and “every created thing which is in the heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them” worshiping the Lamb (5:13).

Thus far we have read about the fact that the place of true worship was by divine design. As one studies through Exodus one discovers that God also ordained specific men to serve as priest, even though the whole nation was a nation of kings and priests (see Exodus 19:6)

And all the people saw the thundering, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. Exodus 20:18-21

Even the layout of the tribes surrounding the tabernacle was ordered by God, as were the garments in which the priest stood to minister in (today we call them “vestments”). What I hope you are noticing as you re-read these chapters in Exodus is that worship was all about God. Considering He is the One being worshipped it only makes sense that He would show His people how He desires to relate to them.

The Old Testament basis For Christian Worship

One goal is to understand that the genuine orthodox liturgical forms (9) B. & Anstall Williams wrote much of the following, but it gives you a fairly good overview of Jewish liturgical worship and how it relates to our next portion of this article.

Jews at the time of Jesus Christ had already had a history of worship almost 1500 years long. Their history was full of interaction with God Who called them to be His people, and Who had revealed to them specific instructions as to the offerings and sacrifices which were part of the way in which He was to be worshiped. The Bible is clear that God revealed to Israel how to worship, and it was patterned after things in heaven. These specific forms or liturgies of worship were first seen in the Tabernacle of the early Israelites, and were consummated in the Temple worship which took place later in Jerusalem. The worship of God in the Temple in Jerusalem was the first and most prominent focus of Jewish worship, which included the form and frequency of prayer and sacrifice.

For Judaism there had always been a constant cycle of prayers, blessings and meals: daily, weekly, monthly and annually. These constituted the second focus of worship for the Jews. In its most regular form it included practices in the daily hours of prayers and the annual High Feast Days. The High Feast Days included the sacrificial offerings of the Temple and contained Jewish messianic expectation. These meals included the “breaking of bread” and the “blessing of the cup”, and contained parallels with both the temple sacrifice and the messianic feast.

As Fr. Louis Bouyer points out, “The synagogue worship, already before Christ, had its necessary complement in the ritual of the meals: the family meal, and better still at least at the time of Christ, the meals of those communities of the faithful brought together by a common messianic expectation…” (11)

There was a “meal liturgy” for the prayers of the meals, and in principle they were required for every meal. However, it took on the greatest importance in family meals and especially the meals of the Holy Days. The entire structure of the Last Supper as recorded by St. Luke mirrors the meal liturgy as practiced within Judaism at the time. (12) These meal prayers and their structure contributed directly in the formation of the early Christian celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

The third and last focus of worship was that of the synagogue. For the average Israelite, the Temple was a place of worship only on certain days of the year, and it was most specifically a place of sacrifice. During the Babylonian captivity, worship in the Temple was impossible. A new form of worship came into being, a form focused patterned on temple worship, but without the sacrificial element which took place only in the Temple, and with a strong didactic element of teaching and remembering. These two elements of Jewish worship — synagogue and temple — together formed the very basic components of the form or order of the liturgy for the early Christian Church.

Besides the structure or order of worship that came from Judaism into Christianity, one can also find the cycles of liturgythe daily, weekly and yearly cycles of worship-coming from the Old Testament as well. Acts 2:46 says that “day by day, continuing steadfastly with one acord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart”. On a daily basis the Apostles continued their Jewish worship practices in the temple, and on a daily basis broke the bread of communion. This regularity of time is further confirmed in Acts 3:1 where Peter and John were going to the temple because it was the hour of prayer. Not only did they continue in Jewish worship practice, but they kept the liturgical cycle of daily prayers at set hours of the day as well as the major fest days.

Christian worship, then, was a Christ-centered pattern that continued and preserved the traditional structure of synagogue worship and the meaning of temple worship that the Lord had established in Israel. This basic structure included the Old and New Testament practices of liturgy, baptism, and Paschal fest that became the Eucharist, and certain of the feast days.

One of the blessings that has come into my life over the last several years is becoming part of a truly liturgical congregation. After all the years of foolishness and hoop-la in charismania it is wonderful to come before God with His people and encounter and participate that which is both ancient and also divinely revealed.

In the next article we will look at the development of liturgy within the Church.

Copyright ©2010 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. I am merely following the example of the Apostle Paul who also “created” new words, “apologetically” does not yet exist, but it does now even as does “charismaniac” and Neo-Montanist”.

2. I admit my thinking may be “grey” at times, but the fault lays with me. There is a correct answer for every question, whether we arrive at that answer in this life is open to debate.

3. Obviously in saying this I mean “revealed” via holy Scriptures not revealed in the sense of a subjective experiential encounter which is probably better attributed to poor quality pizza than of a divine orgin.

4. I do not mention the Church because we are grafted into the “stump of Jesse” as it were, Paul reminds the Gentiles of this in Romans 9.

5. It is safe to consign all man-made doctrine and worship to the category of idolatrous.

6. No brag just fact: DMI has the only book in publication on the “anointing.” In it every term from both Old and New Testament are examined in their original language and context. Then the popular misuses and false doctrines by many popular SINistries are considered and corrected. All for a mere $15.00 donation to DMI. The title is: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Anointing* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).

7. Taken from http://www.liturgica.com/html/litEChLitHW.jsp but somewhat modified by this author.

8. I would certainly recommend the “Life Light” Bible study book on Exodus, available through www.CPH.org

9. Orthodox is used here not to indicate specifically Greek or Russian “orthodoxy” but simply to mean correct Christian biblical tradition versus manmade novelties.

10. Consider Exodus Chapters 12 &13, 25-31; Isaiah 6; Daniel 7; Revelation 4 & 5, among others.

11 Louis Bouyer; Liturgy and Architecture, Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, p. 23

12 Louis Bouyer; Eucharist; Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, p. 78





The Evolution of A Worshipper

28 11 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2010 – Vol. 16 Issue 10 – The Evolution of A Worshipper – Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

THE EVOLUTION OF A WORSHIPPER

By Rev. Robert Liichow

THE EVOLUTION OF A WORSHIPPER

 

This cartoon very accurately describes my own spiritual journey. I started out a wild-eyed charismaniac and have ended up literally the “Crucifer” in worship.

Rev. Bob L.





The Eternality of the Liturgy (Part One)

29 10 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 10 – The Eternality of the Liturgy (Part One) – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

 The Eternality of the Liturgy  (Part One)

 Rev. Bob Liichow

From the inception of the Church one of the directives God’s people have striven to implement (with varying degrees of success) is the following statement by our Lord Jesus:

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

We know the context of His words, they were made to the Samaritan woman he encountered at the well. Jesus bluntly told this woman that she and her people worshipped what they did not know and what is more, their worship was meaningless because they are not even God’s redeemed people.

 No doubt this woman was somewhat taken aback at our Master’s words. After all, the Samaritans had been worshipping God on Mount Gerizim since the Nation was taken into Babylonian captivity for a long time, and no doubt with all the sincerity they could muster in doing so. However, their worship was unacceptable to God. God considered them as false worshipers. Jesus was also referring to the Jewish religion as practiced in His day. We know this is true because He says “the time is coming and has now come” meaning that now, with His advent people will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Temple Judaism had the format down pat, but had become alienated from the One they worshipped. The Jews had the form of godly worship, but they were just going through the motions when they worshipped, it was not from their heart.

 These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. “Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Isa. 29:13  

With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Ezekiel 33:31  

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain: their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ Matthew 15:7-9  

…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:5

 Obviously it is very possible to have the divinely revealed format of worship, but not have a genuine spiritual connection to the One being worshipped. This occurs both on a corporate/congregational level as well as in our own individual lives at time.

 According to our Lord worship that is acceptable to God must follow two guidelines. One is that worship must be “in spirit” what does that mean? Is Jesus referring to worship following a charismatic expression? After all, our charismatic brethren are always going on about being in the spirit, etc. No, Jesus was not saying that at all. Spirit here is simply the word pneu/ma (pneu/ma) which is defined in the USB Greek dictionary as referring to:

 Spirit (of God); spirit, inner life, self, disposition, state of mind, spirit, spirit being or power, power (often of evil spirits); life (Mt. 27:50); wind (He. 1:7; perhaps Jn 3:8); breath (2 Th 2.8); ghost, apparition (Lk 24:37,39).

 Jesus in this case is referring to the human spirit, the heart of humanity, our state of mind and indeed our disposition when we come to worship. Are we just going through the motions on Sunday? Are we thinking of the upcoming football game, Sunday supper, the job or are we focused on the Ancient of Days and His goodness?

 Secondly, worship must be “in truth.” Friberg’s Greek Lexicon says the following about the Greek word for truth:

 (1) of what has certainty and validity, opp. truth (EP 4:21); (2) of the real state of affairs, esp. as divinely disclosed  truth (RO 1:18);  (3) of the concept of the Gospel message as being absolute truth  (2TH 2:12);  (4) of true to fact statements, opp. truth, fact (LU 4:25); (5) of what is characterized by love of truth, opp. truthfulness, uprightness, fidelity (1C. 5:8, 13:6);  (6) of reality as opp.  To pretense or mere appearance, opp. truth, sincerity (PH 1:18); idiomatically lit. in truth, i.e. really true, indeed (MT 22:16); lit. according to truth, i.e. rightly (RO 2:2); lit. on truth, i.e. really, actually (AC 4:27).

 In simple words Jesus is saying that valid worship must first come from the heart and secondly it must be done according to divinely disclosed truth. In other words, God must be worshipped in the manner in which He has revealed to His people.

 The question to be asked is this; has God given His people a format of worship that is to be followed? If so, what does it consist of? Has it changed from the Old Testament format to an inauguration of something new with the Advent of Christ? Are we “free” as God’s people to be creative and come up with our own worship formats, as is very common today? These are some of the issues we will be considering in future articles on this topic, so stay tuned! ¨

 Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow