The Reverend

“Satan fell through force of gravity.”

~G.K. Chesterton

My Dear Hognut,

I’m certainly glad that our exchange has taken place via private electronic messages and not posted on an open forum.

Your questions and line of reasoning, in your email response to me, were nothing short of stupid!

It’s disgusting how much you need me and my guidance!  We can only be grateful that I’m here for you for such a time as this.

How wonderful, on the contrary, to hear that your client highly regards the clergy-laity divide!  

It exquisitely limits the Enemy’s workforce when the majority of “Christians” view themselves as passive pew sitters, punching a weekly time clock of church attendance—while the leadership is busy knocking into one another with puffed-up heads, useless debates, and endless divisions.

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Reinforce this concept of spiritual hierarchy wherever it may be found, whether in church structure or personal relationships, as it delightfully divides, discourages, and disheartens.

Overall, protect your client from recognizing the strategy of Jesus, who sought to revolutionize the world by creating a level playing field where any average persona non grata can become a public enemy of concern to our organization.

Arguments about titles, roles, and rules are to be strongly encouraged!  Emphasize and even overemphasize non-essential topics.  

“Overall, protect your client from recognizing the strategy of Jesus, who sought to revolutionize the world by creating a level playing field where any average persona non grata can become a public enemy of concern to our organization…”

Revise and re-revise the bylaws and policy manuals until the cows come home.  Underscore any religious pattern of thinking or behavior that will keep more players on the benches and little to none on the field.

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Your client seems a miniscule threat in terms of equipping, training, or mobilizing people to pray or work for the Enemy.  He’s securely self-focused.

His own theological training and experience nearly guarantee he will be looked to as an authority.  His personality is winsome enough that he will shepherd the flock in our direction without the sheep being any the wiser.

You will also do well to ensure that any passages, referencing humility or unity are relegated as compulsory for others and applied only to his personal advantage, while your client holds tightly to his own self-righteousness.

Another hilarious thing in the religious sector (if one is given to laughter) is that with one well-placed fear, doubt, or unnecessary concern one can spin an entire conversation, conference, or series of meetings out of focus into total disarray and ensuing chaos!

Photo by Trinity Kubassek

Lest you doubt me, I will cite a case study.

I heard from one of our colleagues who inspired a group of church leaders to fully dissociate from one of their own and disregard this other’s so-called “success” because of his unconventional use of untrained “lay leaders” in public ministry.

This individual was part of a divergent movement, which I recognized as one of the blips of concern on the map.  He was gathering everyday believers for prayer, training, and deployment in what he termed “disciple-making,” which dangerously upset the religious applecart.

Our esteemed colleague, playing on the other leaders’ fears of becoming obsolete and further underpaid, inspired a discussion on traditional ecclesial titles and roles.  Those mentioned previously, like pastor and reverend, came up but even more like elder, deacon, bishop, overseer, et cetera.

This “friendly” conversation soon became a full-fledged debate with tempers flaring and increasingly more words flying.  Of course, this came with the inversely proportional amount of time spent actually listening.

As they heard one another less and less, their argument became more and more heated.  Lines drawn in the proverbial sand became deeper and deeper trenches between them.

Photo by Rafael Serafim

The division and distraction that ensued was delicious!

This pairs well with what I urged in a previous post about inspiring our clientele to focus on their differences and to quickly take offense.  In short, train your client to be quick to speak, slow to listen, and quick to outburst in anger, for this is near sure as Hell to bring about the outcome we so deeply desire.  

That turn of phrase has a ring to it!

“As they heard one another less and less, their argument became more and more heated.  Lines drawn in the proverbial sand became deeper and deeper trenches between them…”

In closing, be sure to keep on the forefront of your mind the fact that you are easily replaceable.  And if you fail or your initial attempts suggest that you might fail, I will recommend your immediate termination.

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There is a long line of underlings, who would be overjoyed to step into your strong-smelling shoes.

Tenderly yours,

“The Reverend” P. Sophresh

(honorary, self-awarded title included just for the dramatic effect of it) 

P.S. Those credentials are so easy to acquire online these days that as I wrote the closing words of this memo I went ahead and registered myself for one!  The official certificate I printed is prominently displayed on my home office wall.

Oh, what irony and hilarity!  You might well do the same if you think it would help you see from behind your client’s eyes. And who says our work isn’t fun?

If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran
roymoran.com

Marcus Constantine
livingtruth2.wordpress.com

Alarming Spiritual Trends

“We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment. This, to begin with.”

~C.S. Lewis

Dear Hognut,

I cannot tell you how elated I am that my previous posts cast a long enough shadow, creating the buzz necessary to reinstate myself into a supervisory role in our organization.

It quite surprised me—as I am sure it did you when you no doubt heard—that I was to be removed from my post for an undesignated period.  

My theory, more well-informed of course than most, is that there was a jealousy brewing among some higherups regarding my capabilities and potential qualifications to be promoted to their rank (please keep this tasty tidbit to yourself and refrain from sharing it vertically or horizontally).

I have my finger on something that few others in our organization are aware of.

While some supervisors have their heads deep in the weeds of particular cases and others get bleary-eyed looking at the grander scheme, I have noted some dangerous blips on the map, spiritual trends you might call them, which if left unaddressed could present significant problems for our overarching initiatives and long-range organizational goals.

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When my findings are fully recognized, I will no doubt be promoted to a rank much higher than you could ever dream of attaining.

You may have heard it explained that the ranking system our organization employs was uniquely designed for us.  Of course, humans have attempted to implement our structure everywhere from their families and corporate org charts to their religious institutions.  

It is quite humorous (if one is given to humor) to observe the ensuing disunity, mistrust, and inequality that results.

Some have falsely attributed the origin of our organizational ranking system to the Enemy.  Of course, it was our Chief Operating Officer, our Father Below himself, who arranged the levels and ranks for us, with himself firmly fixed at the highest office.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro

To say the least, I was elated, while reviewing your client’s file, to discover that he is a reverend.  And not just a member of the so-called clergy, but one who insists on being addressed by exalted titles like “Pastor,” which he finds ever so much satisfaction in.  What’s more, he revels in discussing his rank, experience, and education ad nauseum.

Your weak ramblings in your initial briefing and the lack of clarity in your client plan speak loudly and clearly that you have failed to grasp how simple this assignment can be for you!

This may very well become a backburner account that provides rich dividends, requiring only minimal maintenance—while you can give your attention to taking on additional clientele.  In this case, your perceived enemy can very easily become your ally.  In fact, he already may be an asset to our cause!

I hope you will soon wake up and smell the coffee in the fellowship hall!  Realize, my pea-brained compatriot, you have nothing to fear just because your current client is “religious.”  

The world of human religion is an opportunistic playground for us, as it often inherently embraces several foundational pillars, which our organization prizes.  A few of which are the love of power, manipulation, domination, control, wealth, rank… need I go on?

Photo by Gratisography

If you have done your homework—which would be hard to believe—you may remember that our Enemy addressed this very matter during his incarnate years on this earth.

The Enemy instructed his disciples they were not to be addressed by honorific titles like Rabbi, Teacher, or Father.  This was important to him because he, dangerously, knew what was in a human heart.

He recognized humankind is given toward pride.  Thus, they jump when the opportunity presents itself to find identity or a sense of worth in position, power, or personal accomplishments.

“The Enemy instructed his disciples they were not to be addressed by honorific titles like Rabbi, Teacher, or Father.” ~Preptor S.

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Each of these pitfalls have the potent allure of quicksand, pulling hard and holding fast any who would stumble or stride into them.

Make sure that portions of the Book, like those aforementioned, are hidden from your client.  Of course, he can read and even teach them, but ensure they remain veiled.

He is free to explain them away by complicated reasoning, suggesting they are only applicable to the earliest disciples or via some other convoluted theological or, otherwise, logical arguments.

Photo by Pixabay

If he is completely convinced in his own mind, those who hear his profound explanations will equally be either thoroughly convicted or confused.  Either is our delight!

More on this soon.  Keep me updated on your progress.

“If he is completely convinced in his own mind, those who hear his profound explanations will equally be either thoroughly convicted or confused.  Either is our delight!”

Breathing down your neck and looking over your shoulder (at times, quite literally),

Preptor S.

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If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran
roymoran.com

Marcus Constantine
livingtruth2.wordpress.com

God-incidences: Right Here, Right Now

What if coincidences are really God-incidences?

The scenes from Esther’s life recorded in chapters 5-7 of her book illustrate the power of a praying woman and God’s ability to turn even the most dire circumstances around for His glory and the good of His people!

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Where Each Story Leads…

Over the past weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve shared a series of messages through the inspiring stories retold in Hebrews 11 called Incredible Faith.

Here’s the capstone message…

We revisit these messages from past weeks and the central theme behind each…

~Incredible Faith is Something I’ve Never Done Before.

~Seeking the Father Heart of God

~Incredible Faith: Noah

~Incredible Faith: Abraham & Sarah

~Incredible Faith: Joseph

~Incredible Faith: Moses

It all points to a powerful truth nestled in Hebrews 12:1-2

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-What joy propels you? 

-What risk is before you?

Incredible Faith – Moses

In the life of Moses, we discover that we are called to live by faith, having the courage to…

  1. Follow the unseen plan of God (Hebrews 11:23).
  2. Identify with the people of God (vv. 24-25).
  3.  Embrace the mission of Christ (vv. 26-27). 
  4. Celebrate deliverance before it comes (v. 28).
  5.  Step out in obedience (v. 29). 
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Incredible Faith – Joseph

If you had to pick one thing that stands out to you from the life of Joseph, what would it be?

In Hebrews 11:22, the Holy Spirit highlights one thing… one defining scene from the life of this hero of the faith. Before you look it up or listen to the message below, what do you think it is?

Hint: it may not be what you expected!

Did your Joseph highlight reel match what Hebrews 11 underscores?

Did “his bones” even make your top ten list?

What will you leave as your legacy for future generations?

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“Go!” said the LORD.

I started this message on the incredible faith of Abraham & Sarah from Hebrews 11:8-19 with a retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6.

In what ways does the faith journey of Abraham & Sarah encourage you?

Which parts challenge you?

What is your “I will…” (your next step to “go”)?

Who will you share with what you discovered?

“Abraham, Abraham…” said the LORD.

“LORD, is that You?” Abraham asked.

“Yes, My child,” He responded tenderly. “I have something I want to say to you.”

With eagerness, Abraham shot back, Well, speak, LORD! I’m listening. I will do whatever You say and go wherever You ask me to go!”

“I know, Abraham. That’s why I’m calling you today. I have put that faith in your heart, so you will trust Me wherever I send you,” He said.

Bubbling over with excitement: “Thank You, LORD! Praise You, LORD! I do trust You. I love You. Thank You for speaking to me and thank You for calling me and thank You for loving me and…”

“ABRAHAM. Abraham,” His strong voice echoed.  “I am calling you… to leave your home country, the people you know, the land you’re accustomed to, even your father’s family – and go!”

“Go? LORD, go where?” the man of faith wondered.

The firm and loving One replied: “Go… to the land I will show you.”

Shaking but believing, His son said, “Go… Okay, go. And You will show me where to go. What should I do in this new land where You are sending me?”

Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Yes, LORD! I trust You with all of my heart,” Abraham immediately responded.

“Abraham, I’ll show you what you must do in this new land,” the ever-gracious One said.

Again thinking out loud as he wondered: “What about my wife?”

“Bring your wife with you of course,” the compassionate Father said.

Abraham processed aloud, “When we go to this new land that You will show us and we do what you will tell us to do, what will happen to us?”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Abraham said, “Yes, LORD! I trust You with all I am. And then some… I trust You, because You have taught me and You help me to trust You!”

The LORD promised, “Abraham, I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever speaks against you I will curse. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. I am going to send the Savior through your family.”

“LORD, I trust You,” the man of God confessed.  “I believe what You say is true. At the same time, You have given me no children, and I am already an old man. My body is as good as dead.”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

“Yes, LORD! Oh, I trust You,” Abraham said from the deepest part of his being.  “You are God, and You can be fully trusted always. Everything You do is good, and everything You say is true and right.”

With a gentle hand, the LORD lifted his son’s gaze heavenward: “Abraham, look up and count the stars. If you can…” He said with a love-laced chuckle.  “This is how many children your family will have. Every person who believes in My Messiah will join your family of faith. Because you believe, you are right with Me, and we are close friends.”

“LORD, let’s go,” His son Abraham responded, exploding with anticipation.  “I will listen. I will follow You. I will… Wherever You lead, let’s go together.”

“Yes, Abraham, I will be with you every step of the way. I will always keep My promises to you – no matter what happens. I will speak to you, and you will follow Me. And you will speak My words to others. Let’s go,” said the LORD. “For I will be with you.”

(A retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6)

Incredible Faith – Noah

What does faith look like? In fact, what in the world is it?

~Is it something etherial that’s near impossible to wrap our arms around?
~Is it just superstition, something we muster up in an attempt to be spiritual?


Or is it something quite powerful that we can experience, express, and walk out every day?

If you know me, you probably know my answer.

Hebrews 11 is chock full of examples of people who lived, loved, and walked by faith!

Today, I got to share a message about one of these everyday people, who lived with incredible faith, and how faith changed his life, his family, and the course of human history…

Artwork: “The Celebration” by Tom duBois

Hebrews 11 is chock full of examples of people who lived, loved, and walked by faith!

What stands out most to you from the story of Noah and his family?

How will you apply these discoveries in your life? Who will you share with?

Contrary to these Contrarians

“It is only the ignorant who dream that spirits are really winged men.”

~Dionysius the Areopagite, 5th century
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To Whom It May Concern:

Some of the responses that I received to my initial posting were quite flattering.  Others included helpful follow-up questions and dialogue.

One question repeatedly asked—much to my perturbance—was about the cause of my current leave of absence of unspecified length. 

Allow me to state here succinctly what I found to be quite tiresome to send to many nosy inquirers. It is none of your business the reasons for my current state of employment or the lack thereof!  

I would instead encourage you to learn from my wisdom, gleaning principles which when practiced can help you secure your own employment status and avoid the risk of unnecessary absences yourself.

Now, to dig into the proverbial meat of our discourse… I hope you are wearing your sharpest incisors.

There are certain shrill voices in the world today whose canary-like calls are disturbing our peace and rattling the cages of many, who for so long have sat most comfortably in confinement of their own construction. This, of course, is of grave concern to us.  We must ensure these noisemakers are silenced—or at the very least stifled.

Photo by Ato Anthony on Unsplash

Contrary to these contrarians, we must reinforce the age-old word on the street and common sense practices that have proven so helpful to our enterprise in recent centuries.

The business of religion and church as usual is our delight.  

Especially remember to concentrate firepower on those who seem to possess an undue zeal for genuine spirituality and exhibit a desire to influence or serve others out of a pure heart.

How weak and disgusting!

Contrary to these contrarians, we must reinforce the age-old word on the street and common sense practices that have proven so helpful to our enterprise in recent centuries…

As aforementioned, we must ensure religious mindsets are deeply entrenched.  Overtime, as ruts are embossed and reinforced into the soft material of human souls, they will deepen, eventually becoming an inescapable pit.

If we are to ensure this pleasant outcome, we must consistently trumpet, and at times, whisper these essential values into the ears of our clientele.

Photo by Kendall Hoopes

On the Acquiring of Much Knowledge

We must ensure the focus of our clients remains securely fixed upon knowledge acquisition.  Encourage incessant learning paired with insipid obedience.  

Keep them ever knowing and rarely if ever doing.  Flood them with multitudinous methods, materials, books, and conferences.  

Ensure you provide clients enough intellectual fare to gorge themselves for years—if not decades.  The exact topics and themes matter little.  Most anything will do as long as it “glimmers in the cup,” distracts, and draws attention away from our Enemy.

Again, it goes without saying that electronic media forms are just as useful as tried-and-true paper.  Never neglect videos, articles, e-books, links, and cross-references.

Whatever fuels a knowledge-based pursuit of mastery on any subject is to be embraced and made readily available in abundance!  With equal force, vehemently discourage applying what is learned to one’s life.

Analysis vs. Synthesis

Ensure any learning pursued focuses strictly on analysis, as opposed to synthesis, which lends itself toward application and problem-solving.  

An unfortunate side effect of learning—for some—is the dastardly desire to instruct others. Any dimwit can recognize this presents potential problems.  

Photo by alleksana

When a splashing idea’s birth of influence increases, so does its potential to whet the appetite of a wider audience toward implementation of what’s learned and lasting life change.

These dangerous ripple effects can be challenging to control once initiated, so my encouragement is: at all costs, prevent their initial impact from occurring.

This whole chain reaction can be easily diffused by one skilled in our trade.

When a splashing idea’s birth of influence increases, so does its potential to whet the appetite of a wider audience toward implementation of what’s learned and lasting life change.

Run from discovery!

Emphasize much didactic instruction while steering away from a discovery process.

If this turn of phrase is unfamiliar to you, don’t bother wasting precious productivity to Google it.  The concept of discovery-based learning has ancient roots, tracing back to thought leaders throughout the ages, some our allies and some bitter enemies.  

School of Athens by Raphael

Even our chief Enemy himself, during the years he walked the earth in the flesh—making it so challenging for our associates in a certain Middle Eastern locality to perform effectively—demonstrated a high regard for the power questions.

This can be observed in the disproportionately low ratio of questions he answered to those he asked.  Certainly, we are a far cry from being given to follow his example.

Photo by Sharefaith

The concept of discovery-based learning has ancient roots, tracing back to thought leaders throughout the ages, some our allies and some bitter enemies.

The power of narrow, leading questions

Of course, leading questions can be used appropriately to guide wandering minds in our direction; however, our organization has never supported the belief that our clients have the capacity as humans to ponder together deeply enough to discover truth.  At the very least, we have developed some convincing theories to explain cases that seem to suggest that disconcerting pattern.

Instead, we prefer to reinforce the influence of highly authoritative—dare I say, domineering—teachers who gather a following and effectively lead others astray toward their cause.

Photo by Lukas

Again, the specificity of the cause is of little import, as long as it impassions and emboldens attitudes, behaviors, and direction distant from our Enemy.

For key leaders like these, we feed and reinforce their pride in their teaching position or title.  Any traces of humility can be effectively medicated by excessive attention, praise, and promotion.

The specificity of the cause is of little import, as long as it impassions and emboldens attitudes, behaviors, and direction distant from our Enemy…

“Oh, Captain, my Captain!”

This dynamic creates a delightful dependency on human authority figures.  These captains, whom we have exalted, owe us immensely; with a little coaching, they can steer the ship in whichever direction best suits our larger global initiatives.

Photo by Ibrahim Boran

This is a peripheral point, but ethnocentricity is to be highly encouraged.  A laser focus on one’s own cultural paradigms and personal experience nearly guarantees that outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination between trouble makers will be largely thwarted.

It becomes quite easy to explain away some of the more radical “spiritual movements,” taking place in the earth today, which our organization is laboring feverishly to quench, when we can simply suggest: 

“Well, that’s a distant part of the world. If the stories are even remotely true, it certainly could never happen here!”

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A laser focus on one’s own cultural paradigms and personal experience nearly guarantees that outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination between trouble makers will be largely thwarted.

Dangerous stories

Stories can be dangerous things when told from untrained lips and captured by the wrong ears.  Inversely, tales, whether true or embellished, can be told to inspire fear, devotion, and any ostensible outcome that a spell-binding oracle desires.

I suppose that suffices for a day’s post.  I do intend to continue extending my wisdom online to any and all who will listen, until my furlough is remedied.

Be advised that my services, including on-site consulting, are available at the right price or to the highest bidder, whichever would be more advantageous to myself.

Presently Available, Though Likely Not Indefinitely,

P. Sophresh,

Distinguished Former Department Head, Messenger of Light Inc.

(Currently on a leave of absence. Seeking opportunities. References available upon request.)

If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran
roymoran.com

Marcus Constantine
livingtruth2.wordpress.com

Seeking the Father Heart of God

In recent years, I’ve been invited to share 5 Father’s Day messages with 5 different local churches in Wisconsin and New York!

I think God may be trying to tell me something…

This message, a conversation with Jim Corbett of the Family Rescue Campaign, is one of my favorites. There is nothing that can heal and transform our hearts like encountering the heart of our Heavenly Father!

I pray you’re inspired to seek God’s heart. As you do, may you discover who He is in a fresh and transformative way!

There is nothing that can heal and transform our hearts like encountering the heart of our Heavenly Father!