Bill Boylan’s Books

As of now, Bill has written and had published 5 books; they are:

Network Marketing For Christians (An explanation of why Christians should be involved in various businesses for the right reasons)

LIFEgiving (About giving money to God for the right reasons)

Friends Forever (About Holy Spirit, Bill’s best Friend for all time and eternity)

HIM ‘n me (Bill’s autobiography)

Heaven: Our Home Sweet Homeland (A true account of one man’s visit to Heaven on March 6, 2018; Heaven is different than anything most of us have ever imagined–it’s most certainly not a boring, eternal church service!)

More information about Bill’s books can be found at billsbooks.org, and all of them can be purchased at amazon.com (some in e-book format, some hardbound, all in paperback–most new or used.

Born Again: What Does It Mean?

In the Bible, one evening Jesus spoke with a man about his need to be born again.  A few years later,Peter, one of Jesus’ first followers, wrote about being born again.  We’ll get to those in a few moments.        

Yes, the term “born again” is a biblical term.  For those of you who might be old enough, perhaps you’ll remember that the term became quite well known because it was used so often by Billy Graham in his great evangelistic crusades around the world…and by American President Jimmy Carter who spoke openly about his experience of having been born again. 

In fact, the term was bantered about so much by the media that for a few years, it became secularized:  businesses were being born again; certain actors were enjoying born again careers, people were born again when they purchased a new home, certain foods would cause grocery shoppers to be born again healthwise, and so it went ad infinitum.  In respect to religion, over time it almost took on a negative concept as an experience only for weak-willed, uneducated people who needed to be born again because they couldn’t successfully manage their own lives.  The biblical meaning of the term changed markedly and began to be misunderstood and overused.  And in many respects that misunderstanding continues to this day. Many people mistakenly feel it’s merely a term for starting over.

Having mentioned those misuses of the term born again, now let me write very briefly about my own experience of being born again.  I was 18 years old, newly enlisted in the United States Armed Forces, and one morning I was in the barracks where I lived during my first duty assignment after basic training.  It was 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 24, 1956, almost 65 years ago from when I’m writing this.  I shouted at God, demanding that He make Himself  real to me and come into my life.  He did!  That was my born again experience.  If you’re interested in learning more details, you can read more about my experience in my autobiography, Him ‘n me, available from amazon.com.

Shortly after I was born again, I became all excited and asked God if I could write about what being born again by Him means.  He replied, “No, not yet; I’ll let you know when.”  Periodically through these 65 years since I was born again, I have asked God if it was time yet for me to teach about being born again.  His reply has always been, “No, not yet; I’ll let you know when.”  Finally, just this morning at 8: a.m. Friday, January 30, 2021, God finally gave me his long-awaited go-ahead to teach about the biblical experience of being born again.  Why has He waited this long?  I have no clue, but this teaching is the result of Him giving me the go-ahead…finally.  God isn’t bound to the restraints of time as we are.  When it’s his time, it’s his time, and I’m simply being obedient to Him after waiting for 65 years.

Here’s the scenario when Jesus spoke about being born again.  It was evening.  Nicodemus, a highly regarded, prominent religious leader of Jesus’ day came to Him and said:  “I know you’re a teacher come from God, for no one performs the miracle signs that you do unless they are in union with God and his  power is with him.”

Jesus didn’t respond directly to Nicodemus’ statement, but simply answered, “Nicodemus, listen to this eternal truth:  Before a person can perceive God’s Kingdom realm, they must first experience a rebirth [be born again]. 

Nicodemus responded:  “Rebirth?  How can a grey-headed man like me be born again?  It’s impossible for a person to re-enter a mother’s womb a second time and be reborn!”   Again Jesus answered:  “I speak an eternal truth:  Unless you are born of the water of the womb and the wind of the Spirit, you will never enter God’s Kingdom realm.  For the natural realm can only give birth to things that are natural, but the spiritual realm gives birth to supernatural life!  You shouldn’t be amazed by my statement, ‘You must be born from above!’  For the wind of the Spirit blows as He chooses.  You can hear his sound and see the effects, but you don’t know where He comes from or where He’s going.  So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born!”

Then Nicodemus replied, “But I don’t understand, what do you mean?  How does this happen?”

Again Jesus answered, “Nicodemus, aren’t you the respected teacher in Israel, and yet you don’t understand this revelation…?    (from The Passion Translation and further paraphrased by me)

Later, here’s what Peter wrote to some early followers of Jesus about 30 years after Jesus’ statement:  “…Through the eternal and living Word of God you have been born again.  And this ‘seed’ that he planted within you can never be destroyed, but will live and grow within you for all time and eternity.”      (from The Passion Translation and further paraphrased by me)

Now let me write my feeble attempts to explain and clarify—and give some background information about why every human ever born should choose to be born again.

When each of us is born naturally (by water) from our human mother, we are born with three components to our beings as humans:  body, soul, and spirit.  Of course, we all know what our body is.  Our soul is our mind, our psyche, our personality—that part of us that makes up our natural character and nature.  The spirit component of our beings is that part of us that connects with God.  Incidentally, many people mistakenly believe that soul and spirit are the same; they are not!  Originally, these 3 components of humans were equal—in harmony, in perfect balance, and fully integrated, with the spirit being (in a sense) “chief among equals,” having pre-eminence or ascendancy over our body and soul.  In the beginning, the spirit-component was full of light, glowing, pulsating with radiance. Long, long ago, once the human spirit “died” (as the Bible puts it), body and soul gained pre-eminence and ascendancy over spirit, and spirit began to “die.”

Yes, due to the entrance of sin into our lives, our spirit-component died:  became darkened—atrophied, withered, dried up, and the brilliant light within us became only a mere, flickering candle, barely producing any light.  Yet, however faint and flickering it might be, that candle still burns, and God is still within each human. When the human spirit died because of sin, people began to feel lost and disconnected from God because his light within them became so tiny and dim. 

What is this phenomena called sin that darkened our spirits?  The best way I describe sin is me, Me, ME!  Sin is being self-centered and self-absorbed instead of being God-centered. It is having a delusion of independence and separation from God, of controlling one’s own life without God.  One wrapped up in oneself makes a very small bundle!

In it’s simplest terms, being born again is when Jesus enters our spirit in his “unbodied form” of Holy Spirit, and that tiny flickering candle in our spirit begins to burn ever brighter with Jesus’ new LIFE within us.  We begin a lifelong, loving, and eternal relationship with the Living God by inviting Jesus to take up permanent residence in our lives—in our spirits.  Our bodies, souls, and spirits begin to be equal, harmonized, and integrated again.

Okay, that’s the ACT of being born again—an act that happens in a nanosecond of time, but its aftereffects continue through all of this life and then into Eternal Realms.  Once we’re born again, Jesus promises He will never leave us nor forsake us because He is changeless and eternal.  Upon their invitation (whatever form that invitation takes), Jesus enters one’s life in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit Who coalesces, blends inseparably, and melds with one’s spirit and the two become one spirit:  God and man inseparably joined together as one for all time and eternity.

Are you a fisherman?  Have you ever done any fishing?  One of the first things you learn about the art of fishing is that you must clean the fish before they are caught, right?  No, you clean the fish after they are caught.  For a person to be born again, he or she doesn’t have to “clean up” their life in order to approach God, or for God to accept them and give them new birth into his Kingdom.  No, the cleaning up of a person’s life commences after they are born again.  The cleaning of one’s life is a lifelong process that the newly born again person and God work at together, empowered by Holy Spirit who has come to live inside that person.

Being born again is not simply making yourself righteous by your own self-efforts, somehow gritting your teeth and struggling mightily to make internal changes all by yourself in order to be born again.  Being born again is not self-reformation.  It’s not practicing what some religious guru tells you that you must do in order to lead a good life.  It’s not following the principles taught by some “positive” teacher.  No, it’s not any sort of self-effort to change your thinking or behavior; such attempts at change may be good for a person, but they are not the supernatural act of Jesus coming into your life when you are born again, followed by a new life for all time and eternity. 

And, being born again is not any sort of religious, liturgical, or ritualistic act you perform, as many types of religious leaders might have you believe.

Now let’s examine what happens after that nanosecond in time when Jesus comes into one’s life

Perhaps you were kneeling when you were born again…or standing…or sitting…or walking…or lying down…or driving…whatever, whenever, and wherever.  Every person’s experience of being born again is distinct and unique, “custom-tailored” just for them as a unique individual.  And—being born again goes by many different names for the experience:  getting saved, converted, believing on Jesus, getting faith, finding God at the end of one’s rope, becoming Christ-conscious, seeing the light, hitting the sawdust trail, going forward in an evangelistic meeting, confirming one’s baptism as a baby, igniting one’s childhood confirmation, and a number of other similar terms. 

Please don’t make the mistake of attempting to understand your own experience of being born again in the light of another’s experience; don’t compare your born again experience with that of any other person.  No two are ever the same because every person is a unique creation of God. Please don’t ever judge another person as having not been born again because their experience is not the same as yours…or the same as your church might teach—because another person didn’t use the correct wording or “formula” to invite Jesus into their life.  If you do that, you are actually being “anti-Christ!”  The only critical and important factor is whether or not Jesus enters one’s life at their invitation.

I’m going to be generalizing now for a few paragraphs in a feeble attempt to explain what happens after a person is born again; I’m attempting to tie together a wide variety of individual experiences, so don’t feel you have to experience all of these as I attempt to describe them.  You are unique; your experience of being born again will be unlike any others.  But see if any of these experiences I describe below “fit” you.

What I have written in the following few paragraphs is based on my own experience of being born again as well as what various other people have told me they experienced when they were born again, and for some time thereafter—some for only a few moments, some for days, some for weeks.  It’s sort of a composite description of various experiences people have had.  You may experience similar phenomena, or only some, or none, similar to these.  Also, I have borrowed some of the following thoughts from something I read years ago, but I can’t remember where!  If any of my readers know where some of these thoughts were written previously, please let me know; I don’t want to be guilty of plagiarism…

Sometimes people have actually felt and “heard” a great silence as though the entire universe and all of time and eternity is hushed, silent, and still.  Sometimes the silence envelops people so that they cannot even move, although their muscles cry out to run, dance, sing, gyrate, fall to the floor—whatever.  The whole of everything around some people seems to cease motion.  They may “hear” the universe singing. Some people hear bells pealing softly from afar.  There is something occurring beyond one’s understanding.  For some, it may seem as if the entirety of the universe is focused on them, and from somewhere beyond comprehension a Great Being—God—is reaching out to them.  One’s mind might actually swim with the mystery of trying to comprehend it all.  One who is finite cannot grasp much of that which is infinite.

Often a balm of peace floods one’s being—peace, forgiveness, cleansing, new life.  Calmness.   Security.  A knowing beyond logic and reason.  An all-encompassing inner warmth as a love beyond anything previously experienced floods one’s being.  Some can feel the smile of their Creator, drawing them into a new world of true LIFE, giving them a new sense of purpose and destiny.  There’s an intimacy that’s sweet and overpowering.  God pours out his eternal love into a person’s life—a pure, unadulterated love people have never before experienced and could never have imagined before being born again.

Many—not all—who are born again find themselves weeping unashamedly with love and joy because of Him who has entered them.  Weeping may continue for a while:  days, weeks—especially at night when they are alone in private with their new Savior.  And such weeping may occur at strange times and places to the point where they might become embarrassed and humbled.  Those tears are simply gentle, cleansing “rain” God is using to wash away their sin and their sometimes shameful past and misdeeds.

On the other hand, many who are newly born again find themselves incessantly laughing—almost giggling—at various times and in many situations where it’s almost embarrassing.  It’s what the Bible calls “the joy of the Lord,” when people are actually invited by God to come laugh and enjoy the laughter and joy of the Trinity:  Father, Son, and Spirit in their delightful, joyful relationship with one another. Joy is the pervasive attitude and sound of Heaven, infusing all things in that fair land beyond this mortal life.

Some people have felt swaddled in a cozy, warm blanket of incredible love.  Some feel like a butterfly when it breaks free from the restrictive cocoon and takes flight for the first time.  They describe an incredible freedom of both soul and spirit.  Some experience a heavy weight lifted from their inner being—a weight they had attempted to carry by themselves for years.  In some instances, people have actually been healed physically when they have been born again.

For some, when they are born again their past seems far away and distant in both time and space, yet not really so long ago in the ever-shifting sands of time.  The distance is in their thoughts and sometimes painful, haunting memories they now know they will be able to forget for the very first time in their lives.  For the first time, they will truly be able to put their past behind them, no longer chains that held them bound.  They can now live in the present, and look forward to a bright future guided by the loving hand of God whom they now know is altogether good and absolutely everything He does is good.

Some seem to have an experience duplicating some of the scenario of Psalm 23:  resting in the Great Shepherd’s luxurious love; finding themselves in an oasis of peace by a quiet brook of Living Water; feeling their life is restored and revived; God’s comfort and love become very real; they feel they are dining at a great love-feast prepared by the Shepherd; they are enveloped in the Shepherd’s great love, mercy, and grace—knowing those three attributes of God will follow them for all time and eternity; all loneliness is gone…   (These few thoughts are borrowed from The Passion Translation of the Bible.)     

Some find God, for whom—even unknowingly—they have long sought.  But, they discover He has sought them forever, and now they know they are persons of worth and dignity.  Some people discover that Someone has begun working on the “piece of clay” that that they are.  And that working and molding the clay by God the Potter will continue for all time and eternity.  What they may have scarcely dared to believe in times past—or had faith about—now becomes a reality—but a reality beyond the comprehension of the five senses; it’s a new, inner faith-sense transcending all normal human senses.  Some now know in their “knower” that God is real!  In fact, shortly after my experience of being born again, the words of an old song It’s Real became the song of my life that I sang, hummed, and whistled just about everywhere I went; here are a few words from that song that are most meaningful to me: 

O how well do I remember that I doubted day by day,
For I did not know for certain that my sins were washed away.
When the Spirit tried to tell me I would not the truth receive;
I endeavored to be happy and to make myself believe.

Chorus:
But it’s real, it’s real!  O I know it’s real!
Praise God, the doubts are settled for I know it’s real!

So I prayed to God in earnest, and not caring what others said,
I was hungry for God’s salvation; my darkened spirit must be fed.
Then at last by faith I touched Him, and like sparks from smitten steel,
Just so quick salvation reached me.  O bless God I know it’s real!

Chorus again                               (I changed a few of the words in the song)

When a person is born again, sometimes there is a curious and unsettling sensation of new movement somewhere deep within that person, at a depth in their spirit the person didn’t know was within them, of a turning in that person’s mind and spirit toward a new point on some sort of internal lodestone.  In an instant of time, life takes on new meaning, mystery, movement, and direction.  Some areas of darkness inside the person suddenly become flooded with light—the light beginning to drive out the darkness of sin, addictions, hurtful habits, wounded or severed relationships, traumatic memories of the past, and obsessions.  There is a sense of new, meaningful purpose for one’s life, whereas before, one might have just been drifting through life before being born again—trying their best to live a good, decent life by their own efforts, but all too often failing over and over in their attempts.

When some people are born again in their spirits, they feel a great surge of new strength and power to overcome their past–like rushing white water currents and rapids cascading through their bodies and spirits, giving them inner strength and power they never before imagined might be available to deal with all of life in an open and honest manner.

In some mysterious manner, when one is born again by Jesus entering their life when they invite Him in, there is a sense that one is beginning one’s earthly life and mortal journey all over again; Jesus begins to do in, through, and as that person the same things He did when He was here in the flesh 2,000 years ago:  going about doing good and healing all whom He touched.  Reaching out through that person to encourage, comfort, console, and build up others.  There is often a new desire to humbly serve God and others in some manner. One often opens up their life to a new perception that God might be “calling” them to some form of service such as ministry, missions, helping or feeding the poor, and the like.

There is often the strong urge to make amends, to forgive, to reach out to mend broken relationships, to reach out for new, healthier relationships, to bind up old wounds and hurts, to settle old debts, to look up an old friend whom one wounded in the past, to give back something stolen, to make reparations, to confess past sins that have hurt others, an overwhelming sense of being “clean” for the first time in one’s life, and the need to live a new, clean life empowered by Holy Spirit within them.  These—and many other—such phenomena begin to mysteriously occur in one’s life after they experience being born again.  Perhaps for the first time in their life, the newly born again person begins to experience freedom from depression, a turning away from their newly forgiven and forgotten past, a bubbling up of joy from deep within, and rock-solid hope for the future never previously experienced.

When one is born again, one begins to realize that all along there has been a micro-universe inside that person, created by God never to cease to exist.  One begins to slowly realize that God created that person as a living wonder freshly exploded into being when they were born again—an inner micro-universe within a vast, unbounded macro-universe, the newly born again person designed for loving, eternal fellowship with God and with other people throughout all the eons of time to come and in Eternal Realms.  In a sense, the micro-universe within becomes comparatively far “larger” and more vast than the macro-universe all around that person.  The “universe” inside the newly born again person begins to be much larger that the universe outside that person!

Before a person is born again, it’s as if they had been stumbling around in life with their eyes closed.  Then, when one is born again, instantly they are able to see—really see—for the first time.  Blinders are removed and they have a new sense of life in general—of purpose, of destiny.  Something dead inside them begins to come to life—a part of them never before recognized, never named, just waiting to be awakened from deadness, emptiness, and futility.  It’s not merely an increased ability to sense and appreciate one’s world, but a new awareness…of something more, something wonderful just over the horizon beyond what that person has previously known.

When one is born again, something inside that person wakens from a deep sleep.  Like the early morning shadows of dawn that reveal faint images, when one is newly born again, that person begins to have a strange new inner awareness—an inner knowing—of things they had not known before—things they never knew existed.  They begin to see into an inner, holy, Spirit-world beyond the five senses, a vast unbounded world of joy and delight, of peace, of a new reality.  That person realizes they have been transferred from this world of darkness to a new world of light and eternal LIFE.  All colors they see seem enhanced and much more vivid.

The person who is newly born again realizes that inside them now is a tiny, pulsating, bright, piercing intense point of light, a tiny, scintillating sphere in their midsection, in their spirit, at the core of their being.  They realize that two worlds have intersected:  the invisible world of the Eternal Realms outside of and transcending time and space and the visible realm they experience in time and space with their five senses.  They begin to discover that which is incomprehensively vast becomes indescribably small—where infinity becomes finite, the invisible visible, where He Who is Beyond-The-Universe is Self-reduced to a pinpoint of intense light within them as a person newly born again.  They find that the King of all Creation begins to reign as King of their inner kingdom—that God has come to reign on the inner throne of their life.

Some people write the date and time (if they know them) that they were born again—as a reminder to them in years to come.  Some also write in detail about their experience of having been born again, so that they can always go back and “relive” the experience as a reminder to them about when they began their journey With God.  Some continue journaling about their ongoing relationship with God as the years fly by all too swiftly.  In essence, that’s what I did…that ended up being my published autobiography.

As mentioned earlier, you may have experienced all of these phenomena, or some of them, or none of them when you were born again (or when you will be born again).  Also, as mentioned previously, because each of us is a unique creation of God, He always custom-tailors all his experiences with us…so that each experience we have in our relationship with Him is most often different from anyone else’s experience.   Don’t feel badly if you don’t experience some wild, adventuresome experience someone else describes.  Just enjoy whatever distinct relationship you have begun with the Living God by being born again.

I have pretty well run out of words in my limited, finite human language to describe what often happens to a person when they are newly born again.  If any of what I have written “rings a bell” for you, I praise God for that.  At the most basic level, the important point is to invite Jesus into your life.  He will enter your spirit in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit, and much of what I have described will begin to occur inside you at your current level of understanding and present state of awareness:  an experience with the Living God that will begin to change and transform your life for all time and eternity as you realize how deeply He loves you and what He has done to make a vital, intimate, loving relationship with Him possible for you when you are born again.

I want to emphasize that being born again is just the starting point.  What follows is a lifetime journey of following Jesus—for the remainder of your mortal life here…and later in your new, immortal life in Eternal Realms after you die and enter Jesus’ bright Kingdom.  It’s really not the born again person who can be labeled a Christian by virtue of having been born again.  That’s only the beginning of becoming an authentic Christian—of a joy-full and adventuresome journey through life continuing on into Eternal Realms.  It’s the follower of Jesus who “sticks it out,” following and journeying with Jesus through this life and into the next, who is the authentic Christian as described throughout the New Testament.  Yes, being born again is merely the starting point!

Again, speaking of being born again as only the starting point—even though a person may pray to invite Jesus into their life—some do not go on from there to give their entire life totally and unreservedly to God.  Such people give only a piece of themselves—not realizing that being a lifelong Christian demands a foundational necessity of total, sacrificial commitment to God.  Becoming a Christian with a prayer of invitation is only the beginning of the road, not the end of it.  Unfortunately, many people simply walk through the “salvation door,” and then stop.  That beginning step is not some miracle cure…and that’s the end of it.  No! It takes a lifetime to live out one’s salvation after stepping through that door.

For an interesting, true account of what Heaven—the next stage of the journey after this all-too-short life—is really like, I invite you to read my book, Heaven:  Our Home Sweet Homeland, an account of a visit to Heaven I experienced on March 6, 2018, when God invited me to visit that fair land to which we go beyond death and the grave.  My book is available at amazon.com as an e-book, in soft cover, and hardcover. 

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc.
leservices38@yahoo.com
Revised and Updated 2-24-2021

God: Relationship or Religion?

I became a follower of Jesus many years ago by inviting Him to take up permanent residence in my life in his “unbodied form” of Holy Spirit.  I knew at the time that I was establishing a vital relationship with the Living God, not “getting religion.”  It might be more properly stated  that God had reached out to initiate and establish a vital, eternal relationship with me.  Something deep within me at the time knew that I would spend both my mortal life and immortal life in a vital, eternal relationship with Him…not that I had “gotten religion,” or that I would afterwards become religious.    

In this teaching, I’ll attempt explain the differences between having a relationship with God through Jesus and religion.

Before going any further, however, I want to offer a definition that might help to open your eyes just a bit wider about having a vital relationship with God; the definition is about “theology”:  “Studying God’s Person, character, and nature, and the way He works throughout all creation, including his purposes for earth, and especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity.”  If one understands that greater definition of theology (instead of the concept often taught:  “Theology is studying about God”), it opens one up to a “bigger,” more loving, more active God.

What do I mean about having a vital, eternal relationship?   A relationship is a “connection” or “kinship” two or more beings have with one another; in this case, God and humans.  God is the one True and Living God.  By means of the “new birth” (John chapter 3 and elsewhere in the New Testament), a person is born (not adopted) into God’s family.  Thereafter, the relationship between God and humans is a family relationship:  Father with his well-loved children. The relationship between God and his children is enhanced and fostered as with any relationships:  spending time with one another, talking with one another, sharing with one another, serving one another, simply being in one another’s presence, sharing one another’s dreams, visions, hopes, goals, and so on.  In this case, the relationship is not only for a lifetime, but carries on into the ages of time and then in Eternal Realms.

Even a very cursory reading or perusal of the 4 Gospels about Jesus’ life (along with other biblical references), will readily disclose that a great deal of both Jesus’ time and that of his early followers was spent in combating the religious leaders and their dead religion of his day—all the while talking about having a relationship with their Father in heaven, as contrasted with mere religion.   For example, they all taught in the few references in the next two paragraphs that dead religion and its leaders very often seek to substitute and impose religious tradition, dogma, and human-devised rules upon followers of God who have a vital relationship with Him. 

In Matthew 15: 6, Jesus tells some of the religious leaders of his time that they had made the commandments of God of no effect by their [religious] tradition.  In Mark 7: 13, Jesus told the religious leaders that they made the word of God of no effect through their religious tradition which they had handed down.

In Colossians 1: 18, Paul echoes Jesus’ words:  “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the [religious] tradition of humans, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Jesus.”  Finally, in 1 Peter 1: 18, Peter also echoes the words of Jesus:  “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things, like silver or gold, from your aimless [religious] conduct received by tradition from your [fore]fathers.”

Amplified and paraphrased, taken together, those key references (and others) teach that religious traditions imposed upon people render the Word of God null, void, and ineffective.  It causes aimless wanderings of the mind, and esoteric religious and philosophical meanderings, causing people to never arrive at solid answers for their lives.  It causes God’s people pointless confusion, always seeking for answers when answers are there all along in the Word of God, the Bible, God’s written revelation of Himself to all humankind.  

By imposing dead religious tradition upon people, such religious leaders block out God’s Word and, instead, scrawl human-devised rules and whims in its place.  Few things are more lamentable than dead, ossified religious knowledge and fallible human doctrine.

Having written what I did in the previous three paragraphs, the question quite naturally arises:  “Bill are you condemning all religious leaders, all denominations, all churches, all religions worldwide?”  No, no, no…I am not!  Ever since I became a follower of Jesus, I have chosen to attend regularly and be part of various institutional Christian churches, ranging from Baptist, to pentecostal, to Lutheran, to Presbyterian, to Episcopalian. I am not condemning institutional churches, per se.  I have always chosen to be an active and vital part of institutional churches.  At present, my wife, Anne, and I have been active in a local Pentecostal congregation for many years.

Another question often arises:  “Bill, are you on some kind of ‘crusade’ to do away with the institutional, organized church as we know it today?”  No, no, no!  That is not my intent.  I love Jesus’ church, “warts and all.”  Jesus’ church still has many “spots and wrinkles” (“faults and flaws”: Ephesians 5: 27)—including mine!—but it remains Jesus’ church that He dearly loves, provides for, and serves.  So do I!   Upon his return to earth, Jesus’ church will one day be glorious and radiant without any faults and flaws—a glorious bride beautifully adorned for her Heavenly Husband (Revelation 21: 2).

But, I understand that the worldwide Church, the living Body of Jesus, is an organism, not an organization.  Humans have mistakenly imposed organizational models upon an organism; all such attempts are ultimately doomed to failure.  I define Jesus’ Church, his Body, as all people everywhere and everywhen in whom Jesus permanently abides in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit.  Until Jesus summons his church to its Eternal Home and returns to establish his theocratic Kingdom on earth, there will always be faults and flaws in his church, dynamic tension between the organism and the organization!

Yes, the church of Jesus is an organism—a Living Body, He being the Head of his Body—which He is constructing using living building materials:  you, me, us, and millions others of his followers (1 Peter 2: 4 and 5).  He alone fits the living stones perfectly into his Body.  He alone is the Head of the Body.  He alone is in charge of his Body.  He alone..!

Here’s another way to look at what I’m attempting to say.  It is impossible for me or any mortal human to live a godly life.  Only Jesus can live a godly life in me, through me, and as me.  It’s impossible for me to live for Jesus; He must live his own LIFE out of me from within me.  The essence of religion and dead tradition is to feel I can grow spiritually by my own efforts.  Instead, to really grow—to really live—I must die to my self-will and make deliberate daily choices to surrender to God’s will.  Again, it is a vital, eternal relationship, not a religion.

The religious situation becomes even more lamentable when I understand how God is tenaciously, constantly, reaching out to his followers, drawing them to Himself and helping them to think outside their cloistered religiosity.  Furthermore, I am slowly discovering more and more that the Jesus and Holy Spirit with Whom I have had a relationship for many years will not stay locked up in the “box” of an Americanized version of religious Christianity.  God’s “world” of those having a vital, eternal relationship with Him is far larger than dead religious teachings make it out to be.  God’s “worldview” is far more vast and broader in scope than religious traditions make it out to be.

Religion, without a relationship with God through Jesus, always mistakenly feels it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the ordinary believer in Jesus—and that it is doing God’s service, when, in fact, it is violating all God’s principles of simple faith and a relationship with Him.  At its best, religion is a matter of creating an earthly “structure” in which to express the wonder of connecting with God.  At its worst, religion seeks to fit God into a safe and comfortable little box.  On the other hand, one’s relationship with God through Jesus is personal…having infinite potential for growth outside the box.

Now I want to simply share with you a few pithy thoughts (almost proverbial) I have picked up along the way since I first stepped out on my Journey with Jesus—thoughts about religion in general.  I cannot recall where I heard or read these or if I thought of them myself, so I cannot tell you their authorship.

Many people receive just enough of a dosage of religion to inoculate them against having a relationship with God.

Many churches seem to be more museums for plastic saints robotically programmed to practice religion.

It is a weak-willed person who is content to be spoon-fed knowledge and dogma that has been filtered through the canon of dead religions belief, and let others dictate what he or she should or should not learn about God and all He had done for us through Jesus.  [Dogma:  “Any bodies of human teaching or understanding that are authoritatively asserted by someone as being the only correct teaching or understanding.”]

“Humans never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”                                                                                  –Blaise Pascal 

Some have just enough religion to make them hate, but not enough to cause them to love other people.

Like all human organizations, yes, the church of Jesus is flawed and “dead” in some of its ways, but it has given us hospitals, preserved the Bible, founded orphanages, established great institutions of learning, given us some foundations for western civilization, a moral compass for life, Good News for the nations of the world, and hope for the entire human race.

Rigid dogma or any kind, especially religious dogma, is invariably wrong or lacking, because human knowledge is always in a state of growth, change, and transition

When a person casts off religion and enters into a true relationship with God through Jesus, the experience can greatly perplex those who are used to grazing in the usual feedlots of processed theology and artificially-colored beliefs.

Righteousness (right-standing with God) in my relationship with God is not something I achieve by performing religious works and acts.  It is something I receive, freely given to me by God through Jesus.

There is nothing wrong, for example, with making a personal choice not to drink alcohol or not go to R-rated movies.  But for one follower of Jesus to weigh down other followers with religious rules and regulations that are not their own…that is the greatest enemy of having a relationship with God.  It’s what Jesus fought against the most with religious leaders of his time.  And his onslaught against religion is what got Him killed.  Religion is an enemy that often crushes  churches, divides fellowships and friends, turns God from a Person into a manifesto of do’s and don’ts that crush the spirit, and turns Christianity into a program devoid of true, godly power and devoid of God’s love.

Like-minded followers of Jesus tend to gather in like-minded churches, denominations, and religious groups centered on sameness of doctrine and dogma based on human knowledge.  Like-spirited  followers of Jesus tend to gather without borders with like-spirited other followers of Jesus centered on Jesus alone and their vital, eternal relationship with Him and Holy Spirit.

I invite you also to read a companion teaching on this website:  Religious Dogma

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

Apokatastasis Reference Materials

Among hundreds of thousands of people around the world the past few years there is a growing interest in the biblical concept of apokatastasis.  That’s a Greek word found only once in the entire Bible in Acts 3: 21.  It is broadly defined as God’s ultimate purposes to redeem, restore, and reconcile all creation—including all humanity!—to Himself

There are many other words used for the concept:  The Victorious Gospel.  Ultimate Reconciliation, Ultimate Restoration, Christian Universalism, Mercy For All, God: ALL in all, and similar words.

If you are one of those thousands of people around the world interested in the concept of apokatastasis, I am furnishing you the following “reading list” of what I consider to be the best books, teachings, and information currently available.  I also recommend a few websites which are about apokatastasis. Since it’s a “current” list, I will update it periodically to include new materials as they are published and become available.  Visit this website often to see what’s “hot off the press.”

These listings will remain very “fluid” as new materials become available almost daily.

To begin, I’m going to recommend a number of my own teachings on this website.  Many of my teachings have the concept of apokatastasis imbedded in the teaching without that teaching necessarily emphasizing apokatastasis.  But some of my teachings are clearly about apokatastasis. They are:

Apokatastasis
Beyond the Far Shores of Time
Fire
“Good” Good News vs “Bad” Good News
All ten teachings beginning with the word “Hope.”
Judgment and Justice

Books I currently recommend:

Absolute Assurance In Jesus Christ:  Four Views of the Salvation of Our God by Charles Slagle

All in All by A. E. Knoch, published by Concordant Publishing Concern

All Things New by John Eldredge  (Eldredge does not hold the view that God will restore and reconcile everything and everyone to Himself, but his book comes close to teaching that view and gives a positive, encouraging view of redeemed humanity’s new life on the freshly restored and reconciled earth and universe.)

At The End of the Ages by Bob Evely

The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis by Illiria L. E. Ramelli  (This is a very scholarly, 900-page  tome, and expensive to purchase.  I predict this will become almost the standard scholarly authority in the understanding of apokatastasis for years to come.)

The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whithall Smith  (If you purchase this book, be sure to purchase the first edition; later editions had her views about apokatastasis deliberately removed)

Concordant Literal New Testament published by Concordant Publishing Concern

 Confessions of a Tomboy Grandma by Diane Castro  (I believe this book is a superb apologetic book; George Sarris in his book Heaven Doors refers to Castro as “a tremendous source of encouragement.”)    

Days of Vengeance  by David Chilton  [Chilton’s book does not specifically teach that God will restore and reconcile everything and everyone to Himself, but is an amazing verse-by-verse exposition of the biblical Book of Revelation with clear hints of that teaching.)  

Discovering the Character of God by George MacDonald (compiled, arranged, and edited by Michael Phillips.)  

Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  (Alcorn’s book does not teach that God will restore and reconcile everything and everyone to Himself, but does give a very positive view of the practical realities of the afterlife in eternity.)

 Heaven:  Our Home Sweet Homeland by Bill Boylan  (Subtitled “The Remarkable True Account of one Man’s Visit to Heaven” on March 6, 2018.)

Heaven and Beyond by Michael Phillips   (This is part of a fictional trilogy including Hell and Beyond and The Garden at the Edge of Beyond.)

Heaven’s Doors by George Sarris  (Subtitled “Wider Than You Ever Believed!)

Hell’s Illusions by Don Keathley, subtitled “Exposing the Myth of Hell—Healing and Freedom for Anyone Trapped in the Belief That Hell Exists”

Her Gates Shall Never Be Shut by Brad Jersak

Hope Beyond Hell by Gerry Beauchemin

Hope For All by Gerry Beauchemin   (In my opinion, Gerry’s two books are the best available primers about the subject of apokatastasis)

The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbot

Is Hell Eternal or Will God’s Plan Fail? by Charles Pridgeon  (This book was out of print for many years, but has recently become available again at amazon.com)

Judas Iscariot:  Revisited and Restored by Ivan Rogers

Love Wins by Rob Bell  (Bell’s popular book does not directly teach that God will restore and reconcile everything and everyone to Himself, but it does open up the possibility of that view to his multitudes of readers)

MacDonald, George   (Unspoken Sermons, Series I, II, III.   MacDonald also wrote numerous books of fiction about Scotland translated from the heavy Scottish brogue by Michael Phillips; MacDonalds’ books of fiction include many veiled and clear references to the concept of apokatastasis

Raising Hell by Julie Ferwerda

The Shack by William Paul Young  (Young’s New York Times best-seller book is fiction, clearly hinting at apokatastasis)

That All Shall Be Saved by David Bentley Hart

Translation of the New Testament by David Bentley Hart

Translation of the New Testament by Jonathan Mitchell   (Mitchell is currently working on exhaustive commentaries of various books of the Bible that clearly support the view of apokatastasis)

Why The Universe Is The Way It Is by Hugh Ross

The following are the best websites I currently know about.  There are scores (perhaps hundreds) of them on the worldwide web that teach or broach the subject of apokatastasis:

concordant.org
hopeforallfellowship.com
tentmaker.org
donkeathely.com
christianuniversalist.org
mercyonall.org
thesanctuarydowntown.org
jonathanmitchellnewtestament.com

Also, by means of FaceBook, there are many, many individuals and groups that post about apokatastasis almost daily.  I’ve not been able to even come close to knowing about all of them; there are thousands of them.  And, we must not forget that YouTube also has innumerable postings about the subject of apokastastasis.  Finally, a plethora of ZOOM discussion and teachings groups have become available just the last year or so, largely due to the impact of the Corona pandemic.  I host a small ZOOM discussion group every Wednesday evening and am involved in two more, one on Thursday evening, and one on Sunday afternoon.  Please contact me if you’re interested in knowing more about these 3 groups, and perhaps joining them.

If  you know of other teachings, websites, books, ZOOM groups, YouTube postings, etc. that I could add to this listing, please let me know and I’ll check them out. 

For additional information about this subject, I invite you to study a companion teaching on this website titled:  Apokatastasis.

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc.
leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

The USA and God

This teaching is about the United States of America (USA). 

This is not meant to be a history lesson.  If you’re interested in some true and correct history (instead of false “revisionist history”) about our nation’s founding–and history since its founding, I  recommend two books, both being some pretty good reading:  A Patriot’s History of the United States, by Schweikart and Allen and America on Trial:  A defense of the Founding, by Robert R Reilly.  Both can be purchased new or used on amazon.com.  Even if you never liked history in school, I think you’ll like these two books!

I am writing this in early 2021.  These are extremely troublesome times in the USA and around the world.  Perhaps no more troublesome than many past times, the major difference being that due to modern technology, the entire world now has almost instant exposure and awareness about what is occurring throughout the world.  It has not been more than 150 years or so in the past that if a noteworthy event or tragedy occurred somewhere in the world, most people didn’t learn about such an event for days, weeks, or even months.  Now almost everyone on the planet can know about events almost immediately.

For example, in the early 1800’s before the telegraph came into use, when the citizens of the USA elected their President, it might be weeks (sometimes months) before everyone knew who had been elected.  Yes, modern technology now puts such events right in front of us within minutes. Events are not necessarily more troublesome or more prolific now—we just see them sooner while they’re happening!

At this time in our history, multitudes of people in the USA and around the world are greatly worried about the future of the United States of America.  Should they be?  Why are they worried?  Do they feel the USA is in decline?  Is the United States of America becoming a socialist nation?  Are foreign powers slowly taking over the USA?  Is the United States of America slowly losing its sovereignty as an independent Nation?  Are internal conspiracists plotting to take over our government? 

Do those people who worry about such a bleak future for the United States of America believe in the sovereignty of God?  Is God really sovereign over ALL the nations of earth, including the USA?  I hope I can answer some of those types of questions and others in this teaching.

Let’s begin at the beginning. 

The Puritans were a group of people who left Europe for North America (the New World) in the early 1600’s.  On a Sunday morning in 1630, one of their leaders, John Winthrop, delivered a sermon on board one of the ships, Arbella, while enroute to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The title of the sermon was “A Model of Christian Charity.”  Winthrop preached that the eyes of the world would be upon that group of emigrants, who would be as a “city set upon a hill” for all to observe!   In a very real sense, that sermon was the “seed” planted as the origin of the United States of America.

 The concept of a “city set upon a hill” comes from the Bible.  Jesus stated to his early followers in Matthew (the first book of the New Testament), chapter 5, verse 16:  “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”   Both those concepts:  “the light of the world” and “a city that is set on a hill” came to be almost what we might today call “slogans” or credos for the founding of the United States of America.  Many leaders in North America echoed Winthrop’s words time and time again through the ensuing years leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America in the late 1700’s.

It is clear to any honest student of American history that for many years leading up to and long after the founding of the United States of America, most informed people felt that the USA was, indeed, “a city on a hill” and “a light of the world.”  They felt that the real “Founder” of the United States of America was God.  They believed that God founded the USA to proclaim to the rest of the world God’s sovereignty over the nations of the world and to spread the light of the Good News (the Gospel) about Jesus worldwide.

NOTE:  Late-breaking news.  The concept of the USA being a light to illuminate the entire world has never disappeared from the consciousness of many citizens of the USA, even though it’s been almost 500 years since John Winthrop used the term in reference to the New World the Puritans were about to reach.  As a late-breaking example, on January 20, 2021, the new President of the United States of America, Joseph Biden, in his inaugural address stated that the USA is still a beacon (light) to the rest of the world.

Speaking of the biblical basis of the founding of the USA, as a side note, the founding fathers believed that dividing our national government into three branches comes directly from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, chapter 33, verse 22 in which it states:  “For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King” [President]. They felt that God had given them that insight about the three branches of our federal government:  executive, legislative, judicial—with God Himself as the ultimate King over the three branches of government.  Yes, this nation was clearly founded upon various general biblical principles.

Such principles were not necessarily strictly “Christian” principles, but, nevertheless, principles based solidly upon the Bible, God’s written revelation of Himself and his works and ways to all humanity.  The founding of the United States of America was an experiment “under God” attempting to determine for the first time in all of human history if a nation could come into being—and persist—founded upon biblical principles. 

As an aside, the past few years there has been a move afoot for historians and teachers of history to revise facts about our nation’s founding by stating that our nation was really founded on the basis of slavery, not upon biblical principles.  That is categorically not true—and actual documents written by the founding fathers prove it’s not true.  Such attempts to change history are called revisionist history; some revisions are true, some are not.  The matter of this nation being founded upon slavery instead of upon biblical principles is decidedly not true!

In fact, it was felt by many that God had actually established a one-way, biblical-like covenant with the founding fathers of the United States of America.  It is my firm belief that God has never abrogated that one-way covenant in spite of the USA’s lapses into sin and disobedience through the years since its founding.

That brings us to the present-day when many people around the world feel the USA has sunk so deeply into sin and disobedience that God has finally turned his back on the United States of America and has now left its citizens to suffer the consequences of their sin and rebellion.   Not so!  Unfortunately, many American citizens are sunk in deep despair over the fate of our nation and believe that the “end-times” are upon us, the “antichrist” will soon take over the world, things are getting darker and darker, they need to stockpile food, procure weapons and much ammunition, and simply wait for the internal terrorists to take over our “fallen” nation because the end of the USA is very near. 

Here’s the definition of the word “sovereign”:  “Above or superior to all others; supreme in power, rank, or authority.”  I ask:  “Have you forgotten that God is sovereign over ALL his creation, over ALL the earth, over ALL nations of earth—including the United States of America?”

Let us now look at just a few references in the Bible about God’s absolute sovereignty over all the nations of the earth—including the United States of America.  When I use the phrase “God is sovereign,” I mean He is in absolute control of all that exists and all that happens, simply by virtue of the fact that He is Creator of all.  If He’s not, then He’s really not God!  But…if God really is God, then He possesses all the attributes most people generally think about when they think about God:  He possesses all power over everything He created.  He knows everything that can be known.  He exists everywhere and everywhen simultaneously.  He loves his entire creation infinitely.  ad infinitum–

There are numerous references in the Bible to God being sovereign over his entire creation—including the earth and all that exists on the earth.  I’m going to list and comment on just a few of those numerous references; I have not selected isolated “proof texts,” but simply references that are most representative of all the biblical references.  I urge you to check me out and look up and study these references for yourself in your own Bible, whatever version or translation you happen to use.

First, Psalm 2 is widely known to be about God and his sovereign power over all the nations of the earth.  It is about how God the Father has given God the Son, Jesus, all the nations of the earth as Jesus’ legacy, and his domain covers all the nations of earth.  Jesus will ultimately rule over all nations with unlimited authority.  Are these just “pious platitudes” or does Jesus, in fact, rule over the United States of America as being one of the nations of earth?   You decide what you believe!  My own belief is that the President, the Congress, and the judicial branch of our government do not rule over the USA; God the Son, Jesus, does…

Psalm 24: 1 and 2 makes the bold claim that the world is God’s.  Everything and everyone belongs to Him.  Does that or does that not include God’s “ownership” over the United States of America?  You decide!  Look at Psalm 47: 2:  “The LORD God most High is astonishing, awesome beyond words!  He’s the formidable and powerful King over all the earth.”  Do you really believe that statement about God’s sovereignty…or not?  You decide!

Ponder Jeremiah 10: 6 and 7:  “There is nothing that can come close to comparing to you, God.  There is nothing in your entire creation like You.  You are great, and your Name is great and mighty.  What honest person would not stand in awe of You, king of all the nations?  It’s your right as Creator of all.  Among all the wise people of all the nations, there is none like You.”

Almost the entire fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel is about Jesus’ Kingdom on earth—an everlasting Kingdom in which his dominion is from generation to generation.  The chapter goes on to claim that God rules within the kingdoms [nations] of humans, and gives rulership of those nations to whomever He wills.  The king of the nation in which Daniel then lived exclaimed toward the end of chapter 4 that “God’s rule lasts and lasts forever, his Kingdom never declines and falls.  He does according to his will in heaven and among all the inhabitants of earth.   No human can restrain God’s hand [from accomplishing his purposes among humans]…”

Does God exercise  rulership to the United States of America?  Is He always working behind the scenes in American life to exercise his will in the USA?  Does God rule over our elections and other activities in the United States of America—always working out all things according to his ultimate will, even though we may not know at the time what his purposes are?  Is God sovereign…or is He not?  You must answer such questions for yourself in terms of your own relationship with God and what you understand of his Person, character, and nature.

In the New Testament, Timothy, one of Jesus’ early followers, exclaimed:  “…My praises rise to the King of all the universe [including earth, of course] who is indestructible, invisible, and full of glory, the only God who is worthy of the highest honors throughout all time and eternity.”  Toward the end of his book, Timothy exclaims:  “Yes, God will make his appearing in his own timing, for He is the exalted God, the only powerful One, the King over every king [ruler, president, dictator, prime minister], and the Lord of all power.”

Millions of people have prayed (using the so-called Lord’s Prayer) for centuries asking Jesus to return and establish his Kingdom on earth:  “…thy Kingdom come…”  In the Book of Revelation the last book of the Bible, the writer gives his readers a word picture of “The New Jerusalem” Jesus will establish on the renewed and freshly restored earth:  “the city has no need for the sun or moon to shine for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb [Jesus].  People will walk by its light and the kings of the nations of earth will bring their wealth into it.”  Yes, that will happen in the future, but based on other references we have given you, that scenario will simply be an extension of God’s present sovereignty over the earth—including the United States of America.

I have listed only a tiny smattering out of many biblical references about God’s sovereignty over all creation, including earth and all its governments and peoples.  They give ample indication that God truly is sovereign over all the nations of the earth both NOW and in time to come.  Of course, if you don’t believe the Bible’s authority, authenticity and veracity, then such references are nonsense to you.  However, if you do believe them—and you are still worrying and fretting about the fate of the USA—then you must make some changes in your beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and worldview about current events occurring in the world NOW!

I think what bothers me the most—personally—is that so many of God’s followers live in fear and despair about what’s happening in the USA and around the world:  believing in conspiracies, spreading rumors and gossip about what’s happening here and there, believing false prophets and “doomsday deceivers,” teaching falsely about the so-called “end-times,” expecting “bad” things to happen—instead of good things from God who is altogether good, and the like.  Instead of being witnesses about Jesus’ victorious rulership over his creation and his coming Kingdom.

Now I simply want to share with you some logical and reasonable thoughts about what is currently happening in the United States of America and around the world—based on the belief that God is, indeed, sovereign over all the nations of earth including the USA.

The United States of America, however long it lasts as an intact nation, is only a tiny historical blip in the vast, rolling tides of time and eternity.  The USA has been an amazing experiment in human self-government under God based on some of the Bible’s teachings, but it’s doubtful it will last “forever” because at some point in future time Jesus will return to establish his theocratic Kingdom over all the earth; the United States of America will be incorporated into his Kingdom along with all the others nations then existing on earth.

Nations (including the USA) rise and fall according to God’s sovereign will over the affairs of all nations.  There is nothing in the Bible and elsewhere that indicates the United States of America will never fall.  The republican, democratic form of government established in this nation is one of the best forms of government ever devised, but because the USA is governed and led by sinful humans—no matter how well-intended they might be—there just isn’t any guarantee that America could never fall—just as other “kingdoms” have fallen in the past.

God’s will always trumps humanity’s will, whether they be kings, presidents, prime ministers, totalitarian dictators, legislative bodies, or judicial bodies.  God’s will shall stand eternally.  Human will shall not.  Each human must bow their will to God’s will that is motivated by his eternal, unconditional love for all the nations of earth and for each individual human ever born.

In the long scope of history, the government and citizens of the USA are no better or worse than others throughout human history:  all are tainted by sinful self-will and resistance to God’s leadership.

If the USA stands the vagaries and testings of time, she stands.  If she falls, she falls.  God’s will be done!  Should God sovereignly choose that the USA shall remain “the city set on a hill” and the “light to the nations,” it shall remain as such.  Should He not choose that course for the USA, it will not remain as such.  God’s will be done.  My own belief is that the USA is a special nation God established as the pre-cursor nation to usher in the return of Jesus to establish his everlasting Kingdom on earth.  I believe that the United States of America will last as a sovereign nation “under God” until Jesus returns to earth to establish his Kingdom on earth.

When all is said and done—when all the wheels of mortal life shall at last stand still—what will have mattered most is not the nations of earth but the individual people of earth’s teeming masses of humanity.  Nations are simply frail human attempts to make some order out of what might otherwise become anarchy and unbridled chaos.  God’s primary interests on planet earth are individual humans having a loving, personal relationship with Him.  All nation and their governments—including the USA—are secondary.

The only difference in all the past and present nations of the world is that the USA was deliberately founded to be governed by biblical principles:  the only nation in history to have been founded with such deliberation, the reasons for such founding clearly stated in its founding documents, all of which are readily available on the internet and in various museums for people to read and study.  I carry with me at all times for handy reference a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. I daresay that most adult Americans have never even glanced at a copy of either document since their school days!

Upon Jesus’ personal return to earth, there shall be established the coming Kingdom of God that shall be wholly theocratic, ruled directly by God’s authority over each person.  He will be a loving, grace-filled, truly benevolent King directly in charge of all redeemed, restored, and reconciled humanity.

Those followers of Jesus in the USA who are weeping and wailing, moaning and fearful about what might happen to their beloved nation have obviously forgotten what their Bible teaches:  Jesus is LORD of lords and King of kings who rules over the nations of earth…including their beloved USA!   

I wrote the following Manifesto on July 4, 2020.  I believe it with all my heart…based upon the overall teachings of the Bible about God’s sovereignty over ALL the nations of the earth.

“I solemnly proclaim and declare to all who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and understanding to comprehend that the United States of America is unique among all nations throughout human history—created, borne, and sustained by Almighty God through its allotted years.  This nation is not in decline.  On the contrary, it is yet young “In the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God.”  *

At its beginning, God ratified an unbreakable one-way covenant with the founders of this nation that it would be a “city set upon on a hill” (Matthew 5: 14) and a “light to the world” (Luke 2: 30 – 32)—a covenant God has not abrogated because of America’s sins.

The United States of America is God’s unique, precursor nation to proclaim to the world God’s ultimate redemption, restoration, and reconciliation of all humanity to Himself and to usher in the coming, bright Kingdom of God.  This nation shall continue to stand tall on earth—led, guarded, sustained, and protected by vigilant, Almighty God until Jesus returns.

May God continue to greatly bless the United States of America.  Firm may she continue to stand, though by internal and external foes of God and truth surrounded!”

*Words in quotation marks in the first paragraph are by poet, Carl Sandburg, winner of 3 Pulitzer prizes.

God bless the USA…land that I love!

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

Life Lessons Learned Part Two

As of this year (2021), I’ve been a follower of Jesus for 65 years; I hope I’ve learned—really learned!—some basic Life Lessons to live by during those years.  When a person is first presented with a lesson, teaching, or new information of any sort, if that lesson or information doesn’t filter through one’s thought processes and then “drop down” into one’s spirit, resulting in genuine change and transformation…then those lessons haven’t really been learned; they’ve been merely useless information.  That learning process is true of all genuine, lasting learning…

Learning begins with the early formation of our basic belief systems resulting in forming our fundamental thought processes and ways of thinking, then those affect our values, our attitudes, our worldviews, and—finally—our behavior.  All meaningful and lasting learning and change begins inside of us and then works its way out into our transformed behavior; the concept of changing our outward behavior first, resulting in changing us on the inside, has never worked.

Here’s a very basic, five (or six) step word picture of how we learn:  First, we receive new information by our 5 senses.  Second, that information flows into our brain.  Third, our brain processes the information to see if it’s something we want to or need to learn.  Fourth, if we choose to learn it, the new information becomes part of our beliefs, our regular thoughts, our attitudes, and our worldview.  Fifth, the new information is something that begins to help us change our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual behavior because of it.  If that happens, we’ve really learned it—it’s become part of who we are and how we behave. 

Sometimes there’s a sixth step; if it’s “spiritual” information, our mind sends the new information to our spirit, and it become part of our relationship with God through Jesus, and changes or transforms how we relate to God and how we serve God.  I’ve vastly oversimplified our learning processes, but “in a nutshell,” that’s how we learn.

For more information about such learning processes and concepts, I invite you to read and study two other teachings on this website:  Change Your Mind and Whole In One

From very early as a new follower of Jesus, whenever I’ve been given new information, and new teaching and lessons have been introduced to me that I’ve felt might be useful and transformative to me and to others, I’ve written that information on 3 x 5 cards, and then attempted to put that information into practice and share it with others.  If I’ve worked at learning them and they’ve resulted in some sort of positive change in my beliefs, thinking, values, attitudes, worldview, and behavior, I’ve labeled them Life Lessons Learned, and then placed the 3 x 5 cards in a box and reviewed them periodically, usually weekly.  That box now contains over 300 Life Lessons Learned…along with biblical references and other positive principles, for a total of over 700 cards!

They are lessons I’ve learned by life experience, in addition to what God has taught me from the Bible.  Most of the lessons I’ve learned from outside the Bible have, however, been compatible and consistent with what the Bible teaches.  You see, the Bible is God’s final written revelation of Himself to all humankind.  God the Spirit uses the Bible to transform our lives more and more—little by little—into God’s image as best seen in Jesus.

I’ ve now decided to list some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned—really learned!—and share them with you, in two separate teachings on this website titled Life Lessons Learned Part One and Life Lesson Learned Part Two. By all means, feel free to copy them and learn them—really learn them—for yourself…and pass them on to others.  Remember, if they don’t result in real change and transformation in your thinking, values, attitudes, worldview and behavior, then you haven’t really learned them; they’ve merely been useless information or—spiritually—“pious platitudes.”

 Here are approximately 100 of the most important Life Lessons I have learned; approximately 100 more will be found in Life Lessons Learned Part One:

My Basic Theology:  I am a Bible-believing follower of Jesus who has saved me from sin and death and given me his own eternal LIFE.  I hold to the generally accepted beliefs of orthodox, biblical faith—including belief that God is three Persons yet one God, the Trinity:  Father, Son, Spirit.  Also—based solidly on the Bible!—I believe God will redeem, restore, and reconcile all creation—including all humanity!—to Himself, through the completed work of God the Son, Jesus, who boldly promised He will draw ALL  humanity to Himself!  (I define “Theology” as “Studying God’s Person, character, and nature, and the way He works throughout all creation, including his purposes for earth, and especially how He relates to all humanity”)

My Lifetime Teaching Credo:  “Let my teaching be as gentle rain, my words be like nurturing morning dew.  Let it be as spring showers on a garden, as abundant rain in new grass.  For it’s God I’m teaching about.  Praise the greatness of God, our Firm Foundation.  He’s a God you can depend on, a trustworthy God.”  –Deuteronomy 32: 2 – 4

My Overarching Lifetime Credo I try to live by daily:  “God is altogether good, and absolutely everything He does is good.”  –Psalm 119: 68  Therefore, good things are coming toward me all the time, but I must reach out and grab them.  Or, they will whiz right on past me.

Every cell of my body is whole, healthy, and intact, and wards off all disease, sickness, illness, and infirmity.  Every cell of my body is fully alive with God’s LIFE.

Good is always the enemy of the best.

All the good God has in store for me is on the other side of my fears!  Living in God’s love for me casts out my fears.

I can let my future just happen, or I can co-create it with God.

Friends encourage one another and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5: 11.  1 Corinthians 14: 3).

I try not to bring to my memory or dwell on my past unless I’m deliberately trying to use it as a foundation to build a new and better future.  I cannot change my past!  My past can be my “baggage” or my foundation for a new future.

Yes, God opens many doors to bless me and for way for me to serve Him, but I must always remember—and never forget!—that in my best interests, He closes doors, too!

If I go through life without connecting with people and serving those whom I’m able to, how much of a life have I really lived?

Sometimes I fret, moan, and complain about what did or did not happen in my past, and then turn right around and worry about what might or might not happen in my future.  90% of what I worry about never happens.

People will never care what I know unless they know I care!

The Bible doesn’t teach that I should ask God to make me humble.  Instead, the Bible teaches that I need to humble myself “before the mighty hand of God.”  And, I need to understand that to humble myself is not to humiliate myself; God doesn’t want me to do that.

My tasks are to plant seeds in the life of others, watering and cultivating those seeds with prayer.  God’s tasks are to grow and ripen those seeds, harvesting them at the appropriate time.  I try to never confuse whose tasks are whose!  Seeds I store in the barn, don’t grow.  Seeds I plant in good soil are the ones that grow.

I don’t hoard for myself earthly treasures that can be stolen.  Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value.  Instead, I’m learning to “bank” heavenly treasures that cannot be stolen, or will never rust, decay or lose their value.  My heart will always pursue what I truly value as my treasure.

I commit myself to studying God’s Word, the Bible, living it, and teaching God’s people its truth and its ways.”    –Ezra 7: 10, paraphrased  

“I read and teach the Bible distinctly—amplifying, clarifying, paraphrasing, and giving the full sense, so God’s people can understand it.”         –Nehemiah 8: 8, paraphrased

I must always try to do what is right, not necessarily what is easy or convenient.

Repentance is a lifelong process, not a one-time act.  It means I make ongoing quality decisions to change my mind to think more and more like God thinks based on the Bible.  It means I continually make radical shifts in my thinking in order to co-know with God.

Sometimes I have to lose who I think I am in order to find out who I’m meant to be.

My life is so full of swift transitions; nothing here unmoved can stand.  I build my hopes on things eternal; I cling to God’s unchanging hand.

“I make a living by what I get.  I make a life by what I give.”    Winston Churchill

Sometimes my life can change for the better in one moment of grace, like a miracle.  Something or someone can come along and pivot me in a new direction, miraculously changing me forever.

I ask God:  when I’m wrong, help me change.  When I’m right, make me easy to live with.

The one “law” of life that never changes is that everything changes…except God.  All changes in my life simply lead me closer to the heart of God and serve to restore me more and more into the clear image of God as best seen in Jesus.  The “image of God” means I am a visible representation of the invisible God.

At first glance some changes look negative, but it is only God creating space in my life for something new and better, something good.

I am learning to let go, mistakenly thinking I am in control.  To see the beauty in hope and change.  To feel the joy of surrender and faith.  To enjoy life with fewer distractions.  To know silence is essential to my growth.  Above all else, to know God’s love for me is behind all things.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us when we change is a part of ourselves, but we must die to one life before we can enter into another.”    –Anatole France          “Whenever a thing changes and quits its proper limits, the change is at once the death of that which was before.”     –Lucretius      Change is never an end.  It is an unfolding, always the beginning of something new and different, something good, something better.

Until becoming a follower of Jesus at age 18, I grew up with absolutely no confidence in myself or in anything and anyone—including God.  At age 18, the Confidence Builder entered my life at my invitation and in an atomic moment everything began to shift.   (I define Confidence as clearly seeing myself as God sees me, and knowing He is cheering me on at each stage of my journey.)

I am foolish to expect God’s power in my life without prayer.  Additionally, the measure of God’s supernatural power in my life is the measure of my daily surrender to God.

Fear often knocks.

                Faith answers.

                                No one is there.

Almost daily I pray to be far-seeing that day, attempting to see all things in my world as God seems them.  I am all too often short-seeing, not seeing beyond my human limitations of this mortal life.  I ask God to help me see far beyond the horizons of my own limited thoughts and imaginings.  I pray He will give me comprehensive insight into his purposes for my life—that He will give me a sure and certain Kingdomview rather than a far lesser, elusive, transitory worldview.

Things may happen around me, and things may happen to me, but the only things that really  count are the things that happen in me.

I am a unique, magnificent being—body, soul, and spirit—being re-created and restored into your image, God, for your eternal purposes for me.  I choose to live a balanced life today in unity and harmony with your Spirit who abides permanently within me in my spirit.  From within, you guide, inspire, and lead me to fulfill your purposes for me today. 

God works in me through the “Principles of Opposites”:  I must go down to go up.  I must lose my life to gain it.  Light overcomes darkness.  Beauty is ugliness transformed.  Reconstruction follows deconstruction.  I must lose in order to win.  I must be broken in order to be made whole.  I must be blind in order to see.  Surrender brings victory.  I must be emptied in order to be filled.  To lead I must serve.  To triumph I must endure tribulation.

I don’t want any dosage of religion; all it does is inoculate me against having a genuine relationship with God.

God is not the God of a second chance; He is God of as many chances a person needs.  He is not the God of a new beginning; He is the God of as many new beginnings people need.

“If I believe some of the things about God believed by those who say they don’t believe in Him, my God! I wouldn’t believe in Him either.”   –George MacDonald

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”   –Bob Pierce

One can be a teacher without being a leader in Jesus’ Body, the church, but one cannot be a leader without being a teacher.

If I haven’t found something I’m willing to die for, then I haven’t found anything worth living for!

I do not stop doing things because I get older; I get older because I stop doing things.  I don’t mind getting older, I just don’t want to get old.  If I ever lose my enthusiasm for life, then I shall begin to get old.

I don’t fear my last “enemy,” death.  It is not the end, not oblivion.  It is merely a threshold where my true self, my spirit, wrenches free and exits my mortal body, stepping into immortality in Eternal Realms.

Birthdays are good for me and ought to be celebrated.  Research has shown the more I have, the longer I will live.

As a “fisher of men,” my task is to catch the fish.  God’s task is to clean them.  Fish are not cleaned before they are caught.

When it comes time for me to die, the only thing I want to have left to do is die with all my mortal affairs in order.

God is a verb!

According to Ephesians 4, my job is to work myself out of my job by teaching those within the church whom I serve that they are the real ministers, not me.  As a servant-leader, my job is to train and equip others to minister.

What is dying?  I am standing on the seashore.  A ship is sailing away from where I stand.  I watch her until she sails over the horizon.  She is not gone—only from my sight.  At the very moment when the ship seems gone from me, there are others who are watching her coming on another shore.  That is dying.  It is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of my sight.

When I see someone succumb to temptation and subsequently sin, there are 4 things I do not know:

                How hard the person tried not to sin.

                The power of the forces that assailed the person.

                The exact circumstances and events (as perceived by that person) which led to their actions.

                What I would have done in the exact same circumstances.

Therefore, I am never in a position to judge another person when they sin!  I see only what people do, God alone sees why they do it.

Jesus’ church, his living body, is an organism, not an organization.  Jesus is building his church using living building materials:  you, me, us.  [I define “church” as “All people everywhere and everywhen in whom Jesus permanently resides in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit.]

Jesus is the sole head and authority in his church.  He is the only one having authority and power in his church.  He alone!

 Holy Spirit, I don’t own or possess any of your gifts.  They belong to you and are operated by you, manifested by you, and then delivered through me.  They are yours to operate, mine to deliver, not by my feelings but by acts of my will, by my choice to cooperate with you.  Father gives the gifts.  Son administers them.  Holy Spirit operates and delivers them.

The supernatural does not need to be spookynatural!

There is really no conflict between the Bible and true science, only between religious dogma and scientific dogma.  Science answers “how” questions.  The Bible answers the “why” questions.

“I am not fool to give what I cannot keep to gain what I cannot lose.”  –Jim Elliott, missionary martyred in South America in January 1956

Money is like cow manure.  If I pile it up, it stinks.  If I spread it around, it helps things grow.

I was saved from death, the penalty of sin, at 3: 00 p.m., Wednesday, April 12th, 27 A.D., on a barren windswept hill on the outskirts of the city of Jerusalem, Israel.  I was freed from the power of sin exactly 72 hours later at 3: 00 p.m., Saturday, April 15th.  I will be freed from the presence of sin when Jesus returns to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom.

“How much is the wife dearer than the bride.”     –Lord Littleton

The sole meaning of my life is to serve God and others with a life of purpose.

Human history didn’t begin with my birth and won’t end with my death.  I am only a small part of something infinitely bigger and more vast than myself, yes, only a miniscule part, but an absolutely vital, essential, and necessary part.

Referring to God as the farmer in John chapter 15, someone has said:  “All fruit-bearing followers of Jesus must feel the sharp pruning knife.”

God turns my scars into stars, my misery into ministry, my haughtiness into humility, my pain into praise, my failures into faith, my worries into winning, my victimization into victory, being overcome into overcoming, my sin unto salvation, my bitterness into blessing, my depression into delight, my anxiety into abiding in Jesus, my messes into messages, my tests into testimonials, and my tribulations into triumphs.

Gratitude comes from a place inside me that knows things could very well have turned out differently.

In crises I have 2 options:  running from God or running toward God.

I don’t need to be able to walk on water; the important thing is how I “walk” on land.

For every human-contrived philosophy, theory, and opinion, there is an equal and opposite philosophy, theory, and opinion—each cancelling out the other, each no better or worse than the other, each no more true or false than the other, each no more valid or invalid than the other.

To be a servant-leader I must be a reader.

It’s not so much my ability, but my availability God is looking for.  God doesn’t necessarily work through those who are already equipped; He equips those through whom He chooses to work.

Years ago, I made a commitment to God that as long as He equips and empowers me I will make footprints, not buttprints, in the sands of time.

I try to remember everyone I will ever meet knows something I don’t—something helpful to me or others.

“Don’t believe everything I think” is some of the best advice I’ve ever been given!

A hug is a great gift.  One size fits all.  It can be given for almost any occasion, and it’s easy to exchange.

I always expect to be disappointed by others, therefore, I seldom am.  Others disappoint me; I disappoint them.  It’s simply part of our self-centered human condition.

Sometimes I want to tell over-talkative people they have the right to remain silent even if they’re not being arrested!

If I want to feel good about myself and my life, I must not focus on myself.  I must give myself in serving others and focus myself on others.  I must invest myself into the lives of others.  It’s so very simple, but so hard for the vast majority of people—even followers of Jesus—to understand!

It’s wonderful to have so-called mountaintop spiritual experiences, but I must always remember fruit grows in the verdant valleys and in the high, sunlit mountain meadows.

“Our infinite God always gives all of Himself to each of his children.  He does not ‘distribute’ Himself so that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.”     –A. W. Tozer

In terms of church leadership, shepherds lead their sheep; cattle ranchers drive their livestock.

I am not afraid to trust my unknown future to my known God.

Generally, God reveals Himself to me (actually to all humanity) in 5 ways, although I must never limit God in how He chooses to show Himself to me:

                The Bible, God’s written revelation of Himself to all humanity.

                Jesus, the Living Word.

                Both the macro- and micro-creation.

                Jesus’ living Presence in my life.

                The residual spark of light and life in every human (Proverbs 20: 27 and Zechariah 12: 1).

Miracles are coming my way all the time.  First, I must recognize them for what they are; second, I must reach out and grab them or they will whiz right on by me.  [miracles are defined as “God-caused events beyond logic and reason, defying comprehension, expectation, explanation, and experience—sent for God’s overarching purposes of lovingly drawing all people to Himself through Jesus.”]

I try my best never to become involved in rumors and gossip, the bane of humanity.  They do more harm to Jesus’ followers than almost any other “in-house sin.”

I try never to attempt to put God in any religious or theological “box.”  With God, it’s all about a vital relationship with Him, not religion or theology.  God will always break out of any religious or theological box I mistakenly attempt to put Him in.

To know God’s will for my life, I must first say “I will” to God.

The Greek word for “repent” is metanoia, defined as a radical shift in my thinking in order to co-know what God knows and then act upon that knowledge.  Repent does NOT mean to weep, moan, cry, and promise God that I will never do something again.  It means to change my mind, Period!  Once I change my mind, then Holy Spirit living in me empowers me to do what I’ve changed my mind about.

I must not compare my spiritual growth with anyone else’s.  The only person I am “competing” with is who I was yesterday.

Benjamin Franklin wrote:  “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Satan is a defeated foe, and God has given me authority over him.  Each day I remind him and his minions I am placing around me, my loved ones, and those for whom I pray an impenetrable “hedge” of protection and a protective wall of fire (Job 1 and Zechariah 2:  5).  I also surround us with God’s favor as a shield (Psalm 5: 12).  This puts all of us in a position to be more open to the work of God’s Spirit in our lives.  It lessens and minimizes Satan’s nefarious activities in our lives without God’s specific permission.

Everything everyone says, does, or believes makes perfect sense to them, even if what they say, do, and believe isn’t true or correct.

Jesus didn’t come to be right, but to make me right with God.  I do not need to work at being righteous, but simply trust God to make me right.

There is much more to my life than what I experience with my 5 senses.  What I perceive with my senses is nothing more than the tiny tip of an iceberg.  The real part of my life lies unseen, mostly hidden, but gigantic and shining and beautiful in its hiddenness.

It’s not my job to fix people; that’s God’s job.  My job is to love them while they’re broken.

I must always be aware and attentive to the frontiers of my own ignorance.

“Love my neighbor as I love myself” is a horrible command by Jesus if I don’t love myself!

When I wonder whether my glass is half full or half empty, I miss the entire point:  my glass is refillable!

Every baby born is a message that God is not yet finished with humanity.

I try not to ask how I can get out of situations, but what can I get out of situations.

Some people always feel the worst when they feel the best because they believe they’re going to feel worse after they begin feeling their best again.

My mortal journey consists of lifelong daily choices and decisions.  There is one big choice every follower of Jesus must make; it’s actually a two-part, multiple choice test:  1.  God is altogether good and is in absolute control of my life.  2.  He is not.  I chose #1.

There is none so strong as a gentle person; there is none so gentle as a person of strength.

Becoming focused on what God thinks about me is the quickest way to forget what people think about me.   I can’t please most people anyway.

The mistaken, widespread practice of “an eye for an eye” could leave the whole world blind!

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc.
Leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

Life Lessons Learned Part One

As of this year (2021), I’ve been a follower of Jesus for 65 years; I hope I’ve learned—really learned!—some basic Life Lessons to live by during those years.  When a person is first presented with a lesson, teaching, or new information of any sort, if that lesson or information doesn’t filter through one’s thought processes and then “drop down” into one’s spirit, resulting in genuine change and transformation…then those lessons haven’t really been learned; they’ve been merely useless information.  That learning process is true of all genuine, lasting learning…

Learning begins with the early formation of our basic belief systems resulting in forming our fundamental thought processes and ways of thinking, then those affect our values, our attitudes, our worldviews, and—finally—our behavior.  All meaningful and lasting learning and change begins inside of us and then works its way out into our transformed behavior; the concept of changing our outward behavior first, resulting in changing us on the inside, has never worked.

Here’s a very basic, five (or six) step word picture of how we learn:  First, we receive new information by our 5 senses.  Second, that information flows into our brain.  Third, our brain processes the information to see if it’s something we want to or need to learn.  Fourth, if we choose to learn it, the new information becomes part of our beliefs, our regular thoughts, our attitudes, and our worldview.  Fifth, the new information is something that begins to help us change our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual behavior because of it.  If that happens, we’ve really learned it—it’s become part of who we are and how we behave. 

Sometimes there’s a sixth step; if it’s “spiritual” information, our mind sends the new information to our spirit, and it become part of our vital relationship with God through Jesus, and changes or transforms how we relate to God and how we serve God.  I’ve vastly oversimplified our learning processes, but “in a nutshell,” that’s how we learn.

For more information about such learning processes and concepts, I invite you to read and study two other teachings on this website:  Change Your Mind and Whole In One

From very early as a new follower of Jesus, whenever I’ve been given new information, and new teaching and lessons have been introduced to me that I’ve felt might be useful and transformative to me and to others, I’ve written that information on 3 x 5 cards, and then attempted to put that information into practice and share it with others.  If I’ve worked at learning them and they’ve resulted in some sort of positive change in my beliefs, thinking, values, attitudes, worldview, and behavior, I’ve labeled them Life Lessons Learned, and then placed the 3 x 5 cards in a box and reviewed them periodically, usually weekly.  That box now contains over 300 Life Lessons Learned…along with biblical references and other positive principles, for a total of over 700 cards!

They are lessons I’ve learned by life experience, in addition to what God has taught me from the Bible.  Most of the lessons I’ve learned from outside the Bible have, however, been compatible and consistent with what the Bible teaches.  You see, the Bible is God’s final written revelation of Himself to all humankind.  God the Spirit uses the Bible to transform our lives more and more—little by little—into God’s image as best seen in Jesus.

I’ ve now decided to list some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned—really learned!—and share them with you, in two separate teachings on this website titled Life Lessons Learned Part One and Life Lesson Learned Part Two. By all means, feel free to copy them and learn them—really learn them—for yourself…and pass them on to others.  Remember, if they don’t result in real change and transformation in your thinking, values, attitudes, worldview and behavior, then you haven’t really learned them; they’ve merely been useless information or—spiritually—“pious platitudes.”

 Here are approximately 100 of the most important Life Lessons I have learned; approximately 100 more will be found in Life Lessons Learned Part Two:

My Basic Theology:  I am a Bible-believing follower of Jesus who has saved me from sin and death and given me his own eternal LIFE.  I hold to the generally accepted beliefs of orthodox, biblical faith—including belief that God is three Persons yet one God, the Trinity:  Father, Son, Spirit.  Also—based solidly on the Bible!—I believe God will redeem, restore, and reconcile all creation—including all humanity!—to Himself, through the completed work of God the Son, Jesus, who boldly promised He will draw ALL  humanity to Himself!  (I define “Theology” as “Studying God’s Person, character, and nature, and the way He works throughout all creation, including his purposes for earth, and especially how He relates to and works among all humanity”)

My Lifetime Teaching Credo:  “Let my teaching be as gentle rain, my words be like nurturing morning dew.  Let it be as spring showers on a garden, as abundant rain in new grass.  For it’s God I’m teaching about.  Praise the greatness of God, our Firm Foundation.  He’s a God you can depend on, a trustworthy God.”  –Deuteronomy 32: 2 – 4

My Overarching Lifetime Credo I try to live by daily:  “God is altogether good, and absolutely everything He does is good.”  –Psalm 119: 68     Therefore, good things are coming my way all the time.  First, I must recognize them.  Second, I must reach out and grab them…or they will whiz right on by me.

Success is for me to steadily and consistently move toward accomplishing God’s purposes for my life, according to my potential. *    It is a journey, not a destination.

  • Potential consists of  1. My desires.  2. My training and education.  3.  My God-given gifts and skills.  4.  My God-given talents.

Prosperity is for God to provide me enough for my journey.  

Every cell of my body is whole, healthy, and intact, and wards off all disease, sickness, illness, and infirmity.  Every cell of my body is fully alive with God’s LIFE.

“A soft, quiet, gentle answer from me defuses anger and rage in another.”   (Proverbs 15: 1)

It seems there are five principal ways God “speaks” to humans, but I certainly don’t mean to imply these are the only 5 ways He speaks to us:

                From the Bible, God’s written, LIFE-giving, transforming revelation of Himself to all humanity.

                By inserting and imbedding his thoughts and creative ideas into our thoughts.

                By means of visions, images, pictures, our creative imaginations, and dreams “broadcast” on the “viewing screens” of our spirits.

                By means of strong but gentle inner impressions, nudging, and urgings.

                By means of speaking in tongues with the interpretation.

Again I don’t want to limit God speaking to us in only these 5 ways; He cannot be limited to our finite comprehension:  we cannot put God in a box and limit Him in any manner, but He does Self-limit his means of communication with us in order for us who are mortal, finite humans to understand Him.

There are 3 would-be “tyrants” who seek to wrongfully influence my financial giving to God:           1.  Seemingly overwhelming needs.  2.  Urgency.  3.  Emotional appeals.  If I try to give to God based solely on those 3 tyrants, they are seemingly never-ending, and will keep trying to seduce me over and over and over.  On the other hand, there are 3 simple principles to govern my giving:  1.  Ask God.  2.  If He says “No,” that’s it; I can forget about it without any guilt.  However, if God says, “Yes,” I must ask Him “How much?” and 3.  Obey Him.  (Note:  These and many other thoughts about giving money to God are found in my book, LIFEgiving, available at amazon.com)

I want always to give without remembering and receive without forgetting!

It is impossible for me or anyone to live a godly life.  Only Jesus can live a godly life in me, through me, and as me.  It is impossible by my own efforts and in my own strength to live for Jesus; He must live his own life out of me from within me where He lives in his “unbodied form” of Holy Spirit.  The essence of useless religion and dead tradition is to feel I can grow spiritually by my own efforts.  Instead to really grow, to really live I must “die” to my self.

True humility is not to think less of myself, but to think of myself less.  It is to know I am not better than anyone else, and no one else is better than me.  Humility is to “bow the knee” to God as when in days of old knights would bow on one knee before their sovereign’s throne and swear fealty to the sovereign.

God is more interested in who I am than in what I do.  I am a human being, not a human doing.

God’s justice and judgments are not the same as human justice and judgments.  God’s justice and judgments are always “to make all wrong things right:  to lovingly redeem, restore, and reconcile all things to Himself.”

Far too many people spend their entire lives making a living.  Making a life is much better.  The former live in a narrow circle of self.  The latter in a world unlimited in time and eternity.

The longer unforgiveness, anger, hatred, and bitterness stay bottled inside me, the more poisonous they become, until they are a fatally toxic and potent inner elixir.  If forgiveness isn’t instant, it’s unforgiveness.  I must try never to go to bed angry or harboring unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness can grow into what the Bible calls a “root of bitterness” eventually leading to death.

Love myself unconditionally.  Thank God for me!

When I pray “Your will be done,”   it does not mean giving up my personal ability to make choices and decisions.  It simply means I let go of thought patterns, attitudes, worldviews, and ways of living that limit me so God can lead me in better ways.

Worry is simply a misuse of my creative imagination.  If I pray, I don’t worry.  If I worry, I don’t pray.

Most of my hurts come through relationships with other people; so do most of my healings.

Every follower of Jesus has a past; every pre-follower and emerging follower has a bright future.

In any moment of decision, the best thing I can do is the right thing; the next best is the wrong thing; the worst thing is to do nothing.

God will always show me the way even if He doesn’t show me the why.

I am a king in the royal household of God—in training for reigning and schooling for ruling in Jesus’ coming Kingdom.  I am a highly favored, greatly blessed, imperfect but forgiven, royal, righteous child of The Most High God!

Blessed am I if I remain flexible, for I shall never get bent out of shape.

Never ask “How can I get out of this?”   Instead, ask “What can I get out of this?”

To the world, I am only one person, but to one person I may be their world.

God can always turn my messes into messages and my tests into testimonials.

I cannot cross faith-chasms in my life with two or more leaps.  I must take one great leap of faith.

While Jesus is preparing for me a place in his coming Kingdom, He is simultaneously preparing me for that place.

I try to always be careful not to be significantly engaged in that which is not significant.  I try to keep the main things the main things.

People will forget what I say.  They will forget what I do.  But people will never forget how I cause them to feel.

I have no choice but to be myself.  Everyone else is taken.

As a leader in Jesus’ church He is building with living “building materials,” I must always make choices between two conflicting theological propositions; there is no middle ground:  1.  God has saved everyone unless the Bible specifically states He has not.  2.  All are not saved unless the Bible specifically states they are.  I choose to believe #1.

I have read numerous books in my life.  The Bible is the only book that loves me back.

God allows me to be “broken” at my weakest points, so that afterwards He can make me strong at the broken places.

My daily mission is to bring the Kingdom of God to earth:  God to people, people to God, and display and exhibit to others Jesus in his “Bill Boylan” skin.

This is one of my daily prayers:  “God, intensify my hunger for You.  Get me to the place where my deepest passion is for you.  There is no safety anywhere else.  There is nothing of value anywhere else.”

Jesus did not come to “take sides” with any group of people, with any religious or political system, any belief system.  He came to “take over” and establish his eternal, coming Kingdom on earth.

I will always make mistakes with money.  God, help me make mistakes in being generous, not in being stingy.

Everything                         Nothing

-_Jesus                          + Jesus

       = nothing                       = everything

I place all my “end-times” hope in a Person, not in real or imagined apocalyptic events that generally result in fear; rather in faith that God the Son, Jesus, will return to earth to usher in his Kingdom and make all things right.

Here’s the authentic Good News (the Gospel) to share with others in 10 words:  God restores all.  Those who know, tell those who don’t.

Remember to always carry with me some cash in a “Discretionary Fund” so I can give it away on-the-spot as God directs me.

When Jesus finally returns to establish his eternal Kingdom on the freshly restored earth, the power of love will finally replace the love of power.

The passing years of my mortal journey through this life don’t automatically make me smart or wise.  No, simply getting older doesn’t mean much unless I learn wisdom during my journey.  Wisdom is defined as “comprehensive insight into God’s purposes for my life…and making purposeful and meaningful decisions and choices based on that insight.”

Birthdays are good for me.  Research has shown the more I have, the longer I will live.  I don’t resent growing older; many people are denied the privilege. 

When others ask me the secret of my longevity, I reply “I haven’t died!”

Most people feel we are in the land of the living journeying toward the land of the dying.  Not so!  We are in the land of the dying journeying toward the land of the living.

When I forget to be grateful to God and others, I have fallen asleep in life.

I can never go wrong to journey on the road that follows Jesus.  At the very least, it’s much less crowded!

“All that is not eternal is eternally useless.”  –C. S. Lewis

“My life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”  –Soren Kierkegaard

Every year on February 28th, I count my blessings, not my birthdays.

Great people talk about relationships with God, positive and creative ideas, concepts, beliefs, appreciation, praise, values, reasons for living, serving God, etc.  Average people talk about events, money, clothes, “toys,” things, entertainment, self-indulgences, etc.  Small people talk disparagingly about other people, about wine, partying, “the world going to hell in a handbasket,” and food.

“Great tranquility of the heart is for the one who cares for neither praise nor blame.”                                         –Thomas a Kempis

“Don’t negate an apology with an excuse.”  –Benjamin Franklin

“Don’t I ‘destroy’ my enemies by making them my friends?”   –Abraham Lincoln

“Treat people as they are, and they remain that way.  Treat them as though they already are what God purposes them to be, and I help them to be become what God wants them to become.”

                                                                                                 –adapted from Goethe

“The two most important days of my life are the day I was born and the day I found out why.”

                                                                                                            –Mark Twain

I really get bored with people who are negative and whine and complain almost all the time about almost everything.  It’s such a waste of time!

For a moment, I let myself imagine that God began taking from me the many things for which I have failed to be grateful and to give Him thanks.  Which of my limbs and faculties would I have left?   Would I still have my hands and my mind?  And what about my loved ones?  If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not thanked Him, what would I have left?

God often tells me not to be too hard on myself:  I am an imperfect person living in an imperfect world interacting with other imperfect people.

God, keep me free from having a mind like concrete:  thoroughly mixed up and permanently set!

I must be myself just as God created me.  Everyone else is taken.

I try not to make assumptions about others because I don’t like being wrong that much.

It’s entirely possible for me to be doing things right…but not doing the right things!

My hardened heart is the heart of my problems.

Open discussions are exchanges of knowledge.  Arguments are exchanges of ignorance, and create heat, not light, and—generally—arguments are simply people wanting their own way:  the essence of self-centered, self-absorbed sin.

Most people are addicted to a far more powerful “drug” than anything they can smoke, drink, ingest, inject into their veins, or snort.  What drug?  They live for their self and no one else, including God, and don’t realize how it reduces them to a mere shell of a human being.  One wrapped up in oneself makes a very small bundle.

There are only 3 categories of people:  1.  Pre-followers of Jesus.  2.  Emerging followers   3.  Followers of Jesus.  Every pre-follower is at some point on a continuum of being irresistibly and inexorably drawn toward Jesus (John 6: 44 and 12: 32), but are facing away from Him.  Emerging followers are also being drawn toward Jesus, but have crossed an invisible line known only to God where they have turned 180 degrees away from their past and are beginning to move in the direction toward Jesus instead of away from Him.  And, of course, Jesus’ followers are those whom Jesus has fully drawn to Himself and in whom He now abides permanently in his “unbodied form” of Holy Spirit.

I may not be who I think I am, but…who I think…I am!

I try to learn from the mistakes of others, since there is not enough time to make all of them by myself.

There is no such thing as luck (blind chance) as most people perceive it.  Luck occurs when my preparation meets opportunity.  Rather than blind chance, there are God-orchestrated co-incidents in my life, rather than coincidences.

God wants me to build bridges, not walls, between people.

Abandon anger.  Keep bitterness at bay.  Forgive freely.  Grant grace. Jettison judgment.  Be wary of wrath.

Seeing all that’s bad in the world and in people isn’t difficult…or wise…or witty…or insightful…or clever, it’s lazy!

“For we were little Christian children, and had early sampled the joys and delights of ‘forbidden fruit.’”        –Mark Twain

I am going to spend the remainder of my life in my future.  I choose to “co-create” it with God.  I pray:  “Dear past, thank you for your lessons.  Dear future, I’m ready; here I come!”

“The only people who are truly happy are those who seek and find ways to serve God and others.”     –Albert Einstein

It’s my attitude, not my aptitude, that determines my “altitude in life.”  I was not born with attitudes; they were learned.  They can be unlearned and replaced with new ones.

Holy Spirit alone uses the Bible to transform lives.  I cannot transform another person’s life.

I seldom learn anything while I am talking.  And…I cannot be hurt by words I do not speak.

While reading the Bible, I must be careful to believe what I read, not read what I believe.  Reading what I believe leads to authoritarianism, rigid dogma, control, coercion, and manipulation,  My Bible knowledge is like underwear:  it’s useful to have it, but not necessary to show it off.

Always praise in public, criticize in private…always.

God has given me the Bible not merely to inform me, but to transform me; it is LIFE-giving and full of power to totally transform me.  Reading and applying the Bible to my daily life will keep me from sin…or sin will keep me from the Bible.

When it comes to obeying God, if it’s not instant obedience, it’s disobedience.

Whenever I come to crossroads in my life, I always attempt to take the road leading me closest to the cross.

If I am not willing to humble myself and “wash the feet” of others, I am not qualified to be their servant-leader.

When I’m wrong, change.  When I’m right, be easy to live with.

The Bible says of itself it is sharper than any two-edged sword, the sword being it’s two parts:  The Old Testament and the New Testament.  The Old Testament informs the New, and the New Testament fulfills the Old.  The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed.  The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.  Together the two Testaments constitute God’s complete written revelation of Himself to humanity.  And…in some inexplicable manner, every book of the Bible is about Jesus.  The Old Testament is the prologue to the Bible’s main story about Jesus in the four gospels, whereas the remainder of the New Testament is the epilogue without an end.

Not elaborating about the horrors of hell, nor detailing God’s wrath, nor rehearsing his judgments draw people to Him.  Rather, telling people about the love and goodness of God causes them to turn to God.

The essence of sin is living a self-filled, self-absorbed life rather than a God-filled life.  It is to have a delusion of independence from God.

The question is never “When does God speak to me?”  Actually, the real question is a twofold question:  “When is God not speaking to me?” and “Am I listening?”  Another question is never “When should I pray?”  The question is, When is there ever a time or situation when I should not pray?”  Prayer should never be my last resort; it should always be my first response.

Suicide occurs when one decides to give one’s life back to God prematurely by one’s own hand.

We sinful humans naturally disappointment one another.  I disappoint others.  Others disappoint me.  If I expect to be disappointed, I won’t be.  God is the only one who is never disappointed or disillusioned with me because He never had any illusions about me to begin with.

Always, always, always have at least two other people whom I can trust to pray for me daily; have these two people hold me accountable by meeting with them at least once a week and being completely honest with one another.

I’ve learned to listen to others with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.

Have at least two male friends who are just friends, not “prayer partners, not “accountability partners,” just friends.  Guys I can just hang out with.

Never cause people to feel they are failures; failures are events, not people.  People may fail, but they are not failures.  Help them see they are victors, not victims.  They are overcomers, not overcome.

The finest mirror is a good friend.  The heart of a true friend most resembles God.  Every true friend is a glimpse of God.

When I don’t set goals for my life, I am inadvertently planning to fail.  My goals help “pull” me toward the bright future God has in store for me.  I live much of my life moving regularly and consistently toward accomplishing predetermined goals.  When I complete one goal, that is the automatic beginning of another goal.

God’s will shall prevail eternally.  Human will shall not.  God’s will always trumps human will.  My will must bow to God’s will, motivated by his unconditional, eternal love for me.

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc.
Leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

Bible Mysteries Revealed!

No, this will not be like some supermarket tabloid newspaper or magazine displayed near the checkout counter.  It is simply an explanation of how the Bible defines “mystery” and then examines some of the Bible’s main mysteries.  We’re not going to look at mysteries like a detective attempts to solve mysteries.  If you want the tabloid type of mysteries, you’ll have to find those near the checkout counter in your favorite supermarket or grocery store.  I hope you’re clever enough to know that most of those types of mysteries are as phony as a six-dollar bill.

First, depending on which translation of the Bible you read, the word mystery occurs only in the New Testament portion of the Bible:  28 times.  It does not occur in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.  The chief use of the word is found in the writings of Paul in the New Testament.  Paul knew the thought-world of the people of his day—and about their numerous “mystery religions” with all their secrets.   

I deliberately decided to make this teaching less tedious by not citing all the Bible references I have used for this teaching—scores of them, if not hundreds.  Including those would make this teaching very difficult to read and would be very distracting.  I assume that you are capable of looking up for yourself (using any good Bible Concordance) the 28 references to “mystery” in the New Testament. 

Here are the two main definitions of “mystery” in the Bible:  1.  First, it refers to a symbol, allegory, or parable which conceals its meaning from those who look only for the literal meanings.  For example, there is the symbolic “mystery” of Jesus and his church revealed to Paul; a concept not known by anyone but God before He revealed it to Paul.  Jesus used many, many parables in his teachings, using everyday things known by his hearers to illustrate what He was teaching; in fact, in one instance the Bible says He didn’t teach anything without using parables.

2.  The second most common use of mystery is that of a truth once hidden but now revealed by God in the Bible; thus, God’s mysteries are revealed by Him disclosing  them in the Bible.  The Bible has no secret doctrines or teachings as did many of the “mystery religions” of the world at the time the New Testament was written.  Nor does the Bible have any secret rituals or liturgies such as “secret societies” like the Masons or various types of fraternal organizations use.  

The overarching Bible mystery revealed by God is his world-embracing purpose of eventually redeeming, restoring, and reconciling all creation—including all humanity!—to Himself.

The first Bible mystery we will examine is that of God:  his Person, character, nature, works, and purposes.  The Bible teaches that God is a mystery, but that we humans are to learn as much as the Bible teaches about Him, and be good administrators in sharing with others the mystery of Who God is. 

Way back in the beginning of the creation of humanity, God revealed Himself to humanity primarily in two ways:  in the cosmos…and by implanting eternity in the hearts of all humans.  Later, He revealed Himself in a third way:  the Old Testament portion of the Bible.  Still later, He revealed Himself in the person of Jesus and in New Testament writings shortly after the time of Jesus.  So, God has revealed Himself to humanity in creation, by implanting eternity in the heart of every human, through the Bible, and through Jesus.  In a sense, there is a fifth way:  through the church, the living Body of Jesus.

The Person, character, nature, works, and ways of God are no longer a mystery!  God has very clearly and plainly revealed Himself to every human in five ways noted above…if they are open to his revelation of Himself.  Underlying all God is and does is the fact that He is love; that is Who God is at the very core of his Being.  He loves every human equally and simultaneously, and reveals his love personified in and through the Person and nature of Jesus, God the Son.  Everything God does flows from his eternal love for all his creation and for all humanity.

One of the inexplicable, inscrutable, unfathomable  ways God reveals Himself to us in the Bible is that He is One God Who manifests or displays Himself as three separate—yet equal—Persons:   Father, Son, Spirit: commonly called the Trinity.  Do I understand that aspect of God?  No!  Can any human understand that aspect of God?  No.  God has all the characteristics of a sentient Being who claims to be God, the supreme and authoritative Ruler of all He has created:  He is all-power-full, all-seeing, all-knowing, and allwhere simultaneously.  

If God is really God with all the characteristics God should possess, then He is also infinite, having no boundaries and no limitations in time or space; He is outside of and beyond time and space.  Humans are finite, and thus not able to fully comprehend the infinite God.  We can only know God’s Person, character, and nature to the extent He chooses to reveal Himself to us.  Otherwise, He would be unknowable.  Period!

There’s another mystery about God the Bible teaches; it’s about Jesus.  On a number of occasions, Jesus, God the Son, told his listeners that if they truly see Him, then they have seen the Father—that He and the Father are one.  Can anyone understand that?  No.  Do I believe that?  Yes.  Why?  Because I have come to know Jesus personally as one of his followers, and I trust and respect Him as being completely honest.  If He says He and the Father are one, I believe Him.  Jesus did (and still does) whatever the Father tells Him or asks Him to do—all flowing from their eternal love for all creation, including all humanity.  Jesus’ main mission was and is to draw every human being to Himself (thus to the Father) with an unbreakable, threefold cord of eternal love, mercy, and grace.  No human will forever remain beyond the reach of Jesus!

Yes, the Bible clearly teaches that all humans need to invite Jesus into their lives and enjoy a lifelong and eternal relationship with Him.  But in a greater sense—the greater reality:  Jesus has already received us into his eternal LIFE—the exuberant, active, joyful LIFE of the Trinity!

Another mystery from both the Old and New Testaments:  Holy Spirit, one of the three Persons of the tri-une God.  God is Spirit, Spirit is God.  When any human chooses to become a follower of Jesus, Spirit (Jesus in his “unbodied other form”) comes to dwell eternally within the spirit of that person; Spirit and human spirit join, meld, and coalesce together and they become one spirit for all time and eternity.  The Bible promises that Jesus in his Spirit-form will never leave or forsake a person once He comes to dwell in that person.

God is a mystery, but in the Bible He has revealed to humanity enough of his tri-une Person, nature, and character so that any human can invite Him to take up permanent residence in their lives and begin an eternal journey with Him.  Have you begun your journey with Him yet? 

The next mystery we will examine is that of humanity.  The Bible is clear that the first human, Adam, was created by God.  He formed Adam out of dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath (Spirit) of life…and Adam became a living being called “man.”  Later, God fashioned woman, Eve, from components of Adam’s body.  Some feel that God may have created proto-humans before He created Adam and Eve, but that is open to question.  Suffice it to say that God created Adam and Eve, and they became the progenitors of all humanity.  Humanity did not self-create and evolve over millennia of time!

The natural question arises, “Why did God create humanity?”  the Bible really does not answer that question point blank.  Throughout the Bible, there are hints about why God created humanity, but no specific statements to that effect.  Some say that God created humanity because He was lonely and wanted humans to be his friends; the Bible does not teach that.   Some say that God created humanity to love God and glorify Him forever; the Bible does not teach that either…in so many words.  The Bible simply isn’t clear in answering that question, although many theories have been postulated through the centuries of time since humanity was created.

Perhaps it can be simply stated that since God is love…his love requires an object of that love:  something or someone to love.  Humans are three-part beings as God is a three-part Being.  Humans consist of body, soul, and spirit:  three parts, one being.  One being, three parts.  Perhaps God created humanity as someone to love…and to love Him in return throughout all the ages of time and then in the state of being called eternity.  Love calls out to love and be loved…and only love responds fully to being loved.  Love always want to share love.  Perhaps God created humanity simply to share in his eternal love…and then for humans to share his eternal love with other humans.  God’s love is not static; it is fluid, always growing, always expanding, always reaching out to love others and enfold them within the vast, boundless creation.  

However, to speak of the mystery of humanity we cannot overlook the entrance of sin into humanity and its subsequent downward pull away from the love of God.  There are a number of definitions of sin in the Bible.  I have boiled them down to this:   sin is to be self-centered and self-absorbed instead of God-centered.  Sin is to want my own way, not God’s way.  Sin is to rebel against God.  Sin is about “me” instead of about God.  Sin is to reject God’s love. Sin is to reject God from controlling my life.  Sin is me, me, me…

From the very beginning of humanity’s creation, however, God—being God—was fully aware that humanity would succumb to sin for various reasons—and He devised a remedy for sin before humanity was ever created.  God the Son, Jesus, would—when the fullness of time came—become a God-man and sacrifice Himself as a fully efficacious propitiation (complete and full “payment”)  for all the sins of all humanity.  On one occasion, John the Baptizer pointed to Jesus and exclaimed:  “There is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world!”  You must answer for yourself whether or not Jesus did, in fact, do that.  Jesus did all that is necessary for God to redeem, restore, and reconcile all humanity to Himself!

Now let’s just very briefly examine the nature of that full salvation Jesus provided for all humanity.  On April 12, 27 A.D., on a craggy hill on the outskirts of the city of Jerusalem, Israel, Jesus the God-man died at 3: 00 p.m. on a cruel Roman cross, after asking his Father to forgive his murderers and then releasing his spirit to God.  His death paid the penalty for humanity’s sin.  Exactly 72 hours later on Saturday April 15th at 3: 00 p.m., Jesus was brought back from the realm of the dead by the power of God’s Spirit.  That event released humanity from the power of sin and death.  When Jesus returns to earth to establish and usher in his Kingdom, that event will release humanity from the presence of sin.  Sin shall be no more!

The traditional view is that when Jesus was being crucified, God was pouring out upon Jesus his wrath toward all humanity’s sin—so that Jesus’ death would assuage God’s wrath.  No so!  God was pouring out his love through Jesus to a suffering humanity; God was in Jesus redeeming, restoring, and reconciling all humanity to Himself.  The wrath of God is when God turns humanity over to suffer and reap the consequences of their self-centered, self-indulgent sin.

That brings us back to an aspect of the tri-une nature of God.  When Jesus was on the cross, Holy Spirit was fully present in Jesus, as was the Father in accomplishing God’s purposes for humanity.  Since the cross-event, Holy Spirit’s major work has been to inexorably put into effect in every human all Jesus accomplished for them by his birth, life, death, resurrection, and return to heaven.  He will not cease that work until it is completed in every human.  Holy Spirit makes the intentions of Father and Son on the cross a reality among sinful humanity.  He is the important part of the Trinity bringing about and accomplishing whole-person salvation for all humanity.

Almost from its very creation—due to sin—humanity has sought to divide itself into many factions based on skin color, beliefs, religion, creeds, geography, culture, languages, the influence of leaders…and just plain old meanness because we want our own ways and we want to do our own me-centered things in our own ways.  It seems clear that God has simply let that happen, knowing full well the results of such behavior.  He has simply allowed us to go our own self-centered ways so that for his inexplicable reasons we would learn the consequences of such me-centered behavior:  sin and death.

However, there will come a point in time when God will fully restore humanity to one-ness, when all humanity will once again willingly choose to come under God’s full, loving control.

The principal way God is restoring all humanity to oneness and unity is through Jesus’ church through whom He is breaking down walls of division among people as each person enters into a personal relationship with God through Jesus.  The Church is one of the greatest mysteries recorded in the Bible.  It is not an organization; it is an organism:  a living entity Jesus is constructing on earth using living “building materials”:  you, me, millions of people during the past 2,000 years, now, and in the future until the last mortal human is born. As people are drawn by Holy Spirit and fitted by Jesus into the church, the church spreads across time and throughout the world.  I define “church” as “All people, everywhere and everywhen in whom Jesus permanently abides in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit.”

Although the church is a living entity, an organism, humans have attempted to impose an organizational template upon the organization; that has never been successful and never will.  Humans have attempted to be “in charge” of Jesus’ church.  Jesus is the only Person in charge of the church He is building; He has never delegated his responsibility or authority over his church to any one person or group of persons.

It is true that the church for 2,000 years has been scarred by “spots and wrinkles” (as the Bible puts it), and with flaws and failings; nevertheless, Jesus is relentlessly, inexorably, constructing his church with living building materials until at long last the church on earth and the church in heaven will blend into his beautiful bride whom He will wed when He returns to establish his Kingdom on earth.  The ensuing wedding feast will be the most lavish celebration ever seen in the entire universe!   Then…at last all humanity will all be one in Jesus—in his church, his bride, with Him as the undisputed Head of his church and of all creation!

The great mystery of the church, the living Body of Jesus, will no longer befuddle humanity.  The mystery will finally be known by the entire creation.

The next biblical mystery we will examine is that of human suffering.  If Jesus suffered and died on behalf of all suffering humanity, why does humanity suffer?  Why has humanity suffered for eons and centuries through sickness, disease, illness, injuries, wars, natural calamities, pandemics, holocausts…?  Are there answers to such questions?  Yes, I believe God can answer all such questions, but so far He has not done so.  But we can get brief snippets of his answers in various places throughout the Bible.

Rather than duplicate what I have written elsewhere in another teaching on this website, I invite you to read my teaching titled The Killer God.  In that teaching I don’t even pretend to know more than snippets of why humans suffer, but it’s my attempt to make at least a little sense out of  the ages-old mystery of human suffering.  After reading that teaching, if you have any thoughts or additional information about why humans suffer, please send me that information.  If I feel it’s appropriate, I’ll include your information in my updates of that teaching and give you appropriate attribution. 

Another mystery I want to address in this teaching goes something like this:  “If Jesus saves us when we invite Him to take u permanent residence in our lives, why doesn’t He just take us to heaven at that time and save us all the suffering and grief we’ll endure throughout our mortal lifetimes?”   It’s the mystery of why are we here?  What’s our purpose?  What’s our raison d’etre (our reason for living)?

That question (and other similar ones) is very astute, and deserves some type of answer.  I could easily take a few pages to teach what I believe the Bible teaches about God’s purposes for each of our lives, but fortunately two famous authors wrote two books about this very issue about 20 years ago.  God has used those two popular, New York Times best-selling books to transform hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of lives around the world, including my life.  I couldn’t do anything better than to recommend you read and study those two books; if you’ve already read them, re-read them.  Both books can be purchased new or used on amazon.com.  I’ve given away hundreds of copies of both books.  They are The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson.  Also, there is another teaching on this website I invite you to study:  Creating My Future. 

Next to last, I want to teach a little about the mystery of the Kingdom of God (synonymous with the Kingdom of Heaven) that Jesus spoke of a great deal; in fact, Jesus spoke of the mystery of God’s Kingdom just about as much as He spoke about anything.  Again, I could teach about that mystery in a few paragraphs, but, instead, I invite you to read another of my teachings on this website:  The Kingdom of God.

The final Bible mystery I want to address in this teaching is the mystery of the future.  What does the Bible really reveal about the future of humanity?   First, I want to state this very clearly:  I am not afraid to trust my unknown future into the hands of my known God; I choose not to live in fear about the future!

As it is with the purpose for our lives, I have already written some teachings on this website about the future of humanity; you may or may not agree with my findings and conclusions, but I invite you to read and study those three teachings about your own future and the future of all humanity.  The three teachings are:   Beyond The Far Shores of Time, Hope In Death, and Revelation Unveiled.

There are a few other mysteries mentioned in the New Testament that I won’t cover separately in this teaching because I have already incorporated them into this teaching and in other teachings on this website.  Those few other mysteries are:  mystery of the wisdom of God, mystery of death and resurrection, and mystery of the Gospel.

I conclude this teaching about mysteries in the New Testament with two statements.  1.  The Bible teaches that if I should somehow understand all mysteries but don’t love God and others, all my understanding amounts to nothing!  2.  In the Book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, it is stated clearly that all mysteries have been revealed by God; there are no more mysteries per se  yet to be revealed by Him in the future.  Yes, God will continue to reveal new truth and other information throughout the remaining ages of time and in Eternal Realms, but they will not be in the form of biblical mysteries addressed in this teaching.

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc.
leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

Church: Who’s In Charge?

Who is in charge of Jesus’ Church?  That simple question evokes just about as many answers as there are churchgoing people in multitudes of local churches and church denominations around the world.  Is there an answer?  Is there one simple answer?  I believe there is—and I’ll be responding to that question in this teaching.

Definitions

However, I’ll begin by furnishing definitions of one word and one term I’ll be using throughout this teaching.   First, here’s the definition of the word “church” I’ll be using:  All persons everywhere and everywhen in whom Jesus lives forever in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit.”  To sort of “flesh out” that definition, I’m adding the following clarifying information.  That definition includes everyone in past generations in whom Jesus has lived, everyone presently living this mortal life in whom Jesus resides, everyone yet to be born in whom Jesus will live…and those who have died, in whom Jesus forever lives in their immortal state of being in his Kingdom of Heaven.

The words “church” and “churches” occur 118 times throughout the New Testament.  However, Jesus Himself only mentioned his church a couple of times.  The remaining instances of the words church and churches are mentioned by Paul, Peter, John, and other writers of the New Testament.  Essentially, Jesus mentioned only the birth or formation of his church; it seems He left it to his first followers to add more detailed information about his church for approximately the first 30 – 35 years of church history.

What we know as local churches in a given community, locale, or area are simply local “segments” of that “universal,” timeless church being built by Jesus.  I mean by a local church a tiny segment of the worldwide church; for example, a local Baptist church, Methodist church, Roman Catholic church, Lutheran church, and so on.

Our second definition:  Do I really need to define who Jesus is?  Okay, I will try to define the indefinable…  He is the God-man who was born of the virgin Mary—fully God and fully human—and lived a sinless life for 33 years; with God’s foreknowledge, Jesus died a very cruel and painful death to save all humanity from sin and ultimate death;  He was brought back to life from death by the power of God the Spirit, ascended back to Heaven, and is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father’s throne in Heavenly Realms. As He stated very simply on one occasion:  He has ALL authority and power on earth and in Heaven…including in his church.  (Matthew 28: 18 – 20)  He exercises that power through Holy Spirit, Who is in one sense God in action.  No other created being has any power except delegated, derivative power given to that being by Jesus.

Okay, those are the two definitions I’ll be using throughout this teaching. 

Jesus Gives Birth to His Church: A Living Organism, NOT an Organization

Now, let’s begin at the beginning.  Jesus said on one occasion,”…this truth of who I really am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church…”  (Matthew 16:  18)  Let’s briefly examine that simple statement by Jesus.  First, He said He will build his church; it does not state or imply that He will “subcontract” or delegate that building process.  He is personally building his church all by Himself.  Second, He states that the church is his church; Jesus “owns” his church; He has not “sublet” it or delegated it to any other created being.  Jesus’ church does not belong to anyone else.  Those two points are essential to understanding Jesus’ relationship with his church.  Matthew 18:  15 – 17 gives us our first insight into some of the practices in Jesus’ church.  That’s all Jesus ever said about his church while He was here on earth as the God-man.

Approximately 30 years after Jesus said that He would build his church, Peter wrote these words that serve to clarify what Jesus meant.  “So keep coming to [Jesus] who is the Living Stone—though he was rejected and discarded by men but chosen by God and is priceless in God’s sight.  Come and be his ‘living stones’ who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God.”  (1 Peter 2: 4 and 5, paraphrased) Humans are the “living building materials” with which Jesus is building his church.  Jesus’ church is a living organism, NOT an organization!   Jesus alone is building his church, and He alone has the right to define what that should look like or how it should be built and conduct itself.  Other writers of the New Testament give us more information about how Jesus is “constructing” his church.  You can look up those 118 references using any good Bible concordance.

Most businesses, educational, commercial, and other enterprises in the natural world often prominently display organizational charts drawn up in some detail about how authority and “power” flows through that organization; such charts are often shaped like a pyramid with the owner, boss, CEO, Board of Directors, or the like at the top of the pyramid, then a second tier under them showing various assistants or deputies, then another lower level showing managers and supervisors, and so on down to the bottom of the pyramid showing the “worker bees” or all those who are the underlings.

Many churches have composed and drawn such organizational charts, too, with the Priest, Pastor, Elders or church Board (or Vestry) at the top, then the assistants, the secretaries, the leaders of various outreaches (such as Church School Director, Missions Director, Music Director, etc.) below them, and finally the “lay members” at the bottom.  All such church charts are not correct and do a great disservice to Jesus’ worldwide church. 

Although Jesus is the Head of his body, the church, He does not “rule” from the top down.  In a very real sense, He rules his church from the bottom up as its Supreme Servant or, in a manner of speaking, from within his church where He permanently resides…to every person who comprises his church that He alone is constructing.  If there were such a chart, Jesus’ “organizational chart” for his church is pyramid-shaped, too:  but…it’s an upside down pyramid with all the power at the bottom!

True, Jesus, God the Son, the Head of his church, is seated in Heaven at the right hand of the throne of God the Father, but in just as real a sense, Jesus is seated on the “inner throne” of each of our lives, ruling inside each of us from that throne of supreme authority in the Person of God the Spirit.  In a very real sense, Jesus is “bi-locational.”  As we shall consider later in this teaching, Jesus speaks to us from inside us.  That is how He leads, guides, directs, speaks to each of us, and administers his church, his living body on earth.  Jesus is the Servant of all, living inside all his followers, speaking to them from within where He resides in our spirits—not from above, as a natural or worldly organizational chart would indicate.  We must not superimpose natural organizational charts upon a spiritual organism!

Thus far, if you believe what the Bible’s New Testament teaches, would you agree with me that for all practical purposes the present church on earth is thought of by multitudes of people both in and out of the church as an organism that through time has somehow devolved into mostly an organization?  At this point, I’m not saying that’s necessarily wrong; I’m simply asking if you agree that’s how most people perceive the church. If that is true, however, when and how did that change begin to occur for the church historically? 

How did the church go from being considered an organism being constructed by Jesus with living building materials, to being an organization with much delegated human authority and leadership and with specific, designated buildings in which to worship and serve God and one another?  Except for a few instances in the Old Testament, God has never resided in dwellings humans have constructed to house Him (Acts 2: 48 and related references), yet multitudes of human-constructed church buildings have “perpetual lights” always burning in them to show that God is permanently dwelling there.

The Nicolaitans

On two occasions in chapter two of the Book of Revelation, the risen glorified Jesus spoke of a group named “the Nicolaitans” which he detested in his early church—only about 30 years+ after He began to build his church.  Who were the Nicolaitans? 

First, the Bible itself does not define Nicolaitinism, although the Greek language in which the word was written seems to mean “conquering the laity.”  They seemed to be a group within the church claiming some sort of superior status over the rank and file of the church.  That’s really all the Bible seems to say about the Nicolaitans.

For more information about them, we must study some teaching about the Nicolaitans found in various early writings outside the Bible.  There is a lot of controversy about who they were, and I personally have not come to any final conclusion because there is so much controversy.  I’m simply going to give you my studied opinion about them based upon my current level of understanding and present state of awareness…and I could be wrong. 

In brief, it seems to me that most of the historical evidence informs us that the Nicolaitans were a group of people within the early church who promoted separating people in the church between the leaders and the others, placing the leaders in charge, and the remainder of churchgoers “under” the leaders or submissive to their authority and leadership.  This was likely the first attempt at dividing the church into two groups, the clergy and the laity.  Again, there is much controversy about that conclusion.  But, in my opinion, that’s when the church began to devolve and morph from an organism into an organization.

Now I’m going to offer you another conclusion way before I actually conclude this teaching—and then attempt to explain my premature conclusion.  Since the time of the Nicolaitans in the very early church, in every generation there have been attempts to superimpose a “business or leadership organizational model” from the natural world upon the church.  As time passed after Jesus began to build his church, more and more people began to see the church as a natural, worldly organization rather than a spiritual  organism—and began to superimpose manmade organizational models of doing business upon a spiritual organism.  There began to be leaders in charge, and people “under them” who were supposed to submit to their leadership and authority.  They began to feel that the church could only conduct its worship and work primarily in specific “church buildings” built and set aside for the church.

By that, I mean church leaders began to conceive of themselves as “bosses,” CEOs, COOs, supervisors, upper, mid, and lower level management, superiors, boards of directors, stockholders, etc., and translate those into religious terms and models such as popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, pastors, church boards or vestries, elders, overseers, and many similar titles all assuming leadership and authority over the non-leaders.  At various times throughout church history, such authoritative leadership even devolved into inquisitions, witch hunts, church trials, excommunication, church splits, torture, banishment, and even death for those within the church who either questioned or disobeyed the wrongly assumed authority of the leaders.

Even the concept of eternal punishment in an ever-burning hell grew out of such devolved leadership, but that’s another story altogether.  Someone has said that “hell was created by church leadership to keep church members in line through fear.”  Yes, the Bible teaches there is a lake of fire, but that’s yet another story.  If you’re interested in such matters, I invite you to read two others teachings on this website titled FIRE and Hope In Fire.  I also invite you to read a small paperback book titled Hope Beyond Hell by Gerry Beauchemin, available on amazon.com.

In brief, certain people throughout 2,000+ years of church history have propagated the false belief that Jesus alone is not capable of ruling his church, but must have human help within the church to assist Him in ruling the church.  That is a lie.  Jesus alone is perfectly capable of leading, guiding, administering, and ruling his church in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit. He is perfectly capable of speaking to any member of his church—if we are listening.

Jesus’ Model for His Church

Now let’s take a quick look at Jesus’ “model” for leadership in his church.  The best instance of that model is found in chapter 22 of Luke’s Gospel.  “[Jesus said to his disciples], ‘the kings and men of authority in this world rule oppressively over their subjects, claiming they do it for the good of the people.  They are obsessed with how others see them.  But this is not your calling [in my church].  You will lead by a different model.  The greatest one among you will live as one called to serve others without honor.  The greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one who has a servant heart.  The leaders who are served are the most important in your [and the world’s eyes], but in the kingdom [including the church], it is the servants who lead.  Am I not here with you as one who serves?’”  (adapted from the Passion Translation (TPT); brackets are mine )

That was Jesus’ model of servant-leadership then…and most likely it still is his model for leadership in his church on earth today.  Those in church leadership lead by serving others—NOT by authority, not by telling others what to do, not by decrees, not by religious dogma and rules and regulations, but only by serving others.  Jesus is the supreme authority—the only authority—in his church.  He was at his church’s beginning, is now, and ever will be!  He will always be his church’s sole, Servant-leader.  Any other model of church is false.

In this regard, you might want to consider such references in the Bible as Matthew 15: 6, Mark 7: 13, Colossians 2: 8, and 1 Peter 1: 18 and 19.  Taken together, these references (and others) state clearly that the doctrines and traditions of humans (including church models and patterns of leadership and authority) imposed upon the church render the words of God null, void, ineffective, and powerless—resulting in theobabble, pointless philosophical and metaphysical confusion, and aimless wanderings of the mind. 

James 1: 8 adds to this that if people are “double-minded,” they become unstable in all their ways.  Confusion and double-mindedness about who is in charge of Jesus’ church leads to all sorts of problems that have plagued and weakened the church since Jesus first began to build it as an organism. Much healing could occur if we simply allow Jesus alone—only Jesus—to be in charge of his church!

Let’s Examine What The Bible Says

Now I want to examine and comment upon a few of the 118 references about church in the New Testament.  Obviously, we can’t examine all 118 references in this brief teaching, but I hope I’m being honest in examining a few that are most representative of Jesus’ model for his church.  I have tried not to select random “proof texts” to convince you of my own views.  These references were written by Paul, Peter, John, and others whom Jesus used when He began to construct his living church with living building materials.

[As a side note, I want to mention that people often ask me this searching question:  “Bill, how do we know that the living church model you describe in this teaching was a pattern or model for the church on earth for all time?  Could it have been a model just for the early church?”  I honestly can’t answer such questions; God has not yet given me enough knowledge, understanding, insight or revelation.  If and when He does, I’ll add my answer to this teaching.  So…I invite you to visit this teaching from time to time to check on that.]

The first reference is Acts 2: 47:  “Jesus added to his church daily.”  Jesus is the one who adds to his church.  Yes, He uses people within his church, reaching out through them to others and introducing them to Him, but it is Jesus alone who adds to his church as He continues to construct it with living building materials.  Ultimately, humans cannot by their own endeavors and by their own volition add others to Jesus’ church; only Jesus can add to his church…and He has been doing that worldwide in amazing ways since Acts 2: 47.  In John 12: 32, Jesus stated very clearly that if He was lifted up on the cross, He would draw all humanity to Himself.  When Jesus draws any person to Himself, that person immediately becomes part of his church.

The early church first began to spread throughout the Mediterranean area and then to parts of Europe and Asia simply by church people telling other people Good News about what Jesus had done for them.  People were added to the living church by inviting Jesus to take up permanent residence inside them in his unbodied form of Holy Spirit and then most often being baptized (immersed) in water to publicly proclaim to onlookers their new relationship with Jesus.

Acts 14: 23 teaches that elders were ordained (commissioned, set apart) in the early church; sometimes elders came to be called overseers or bishops.  Those two  words simply means that more mature believers in the church were  recognized by other members as being more fit to serve and minister to others within and outside the church by reason of their spiritual maturity.  They were not necessarily older physically.  They were not fulltime professional church workers, and had no authority delegated them by Jesus to rule over the church. They were raised up within the local church, NOT invited in and hired from the outside!

Please read 1 Corinthians 12: 28 and the following verses about certain people in the church who serve others in specific ways.  Note clearly in verse 28 that it is God alone (NOT church leaders) who places them in the church.  Most of Romans chapter 12 and 1 Corinthians chapter 14 are about similar appointments and placements of people by God to humbly serve Him in the church.  Nowhere does it state that people appoint other people except as specifically ordered by God.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus gives four broad “categories” of servant-leadership as gifts to his church.  1.  People-gifts as servant-leaders (Ephesians 4: 12)  2.  Ministry gifts in order to serve and help others in meaningful and compassionate ways (1 Corinthians 14)  3.  Spiritual gifts to serve others supernaturally (Romans 12)  4.  Gifts of artistic workmanship and craftsmanship (Exodus 35:  30 – 36: 1)  I added #4 for reasons of my own; I know that category is questionable because it’s in the Old Testament, but I believe it’s applicable to Jesus’ church. 

God Speaks

On four occasions in the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel in the Bible, Jesus stated that those of us who are his “sheep” (his followers in his church) hear his voice.  God does, indeed, speak to us; He is speaking to us all the time, far more clearly and distinctly than we imagine.  We “hear” his voice within the spirit component of our three-part beings (body, soul, spirit) by means of our inner “faith-sense.”  He generally speaks to us in a quiet, soft whisper within our spirits. 

The question is not, “Does God speak to me?”  Rather, the real question should be, “When is God not speaking to me?”  Do not be surprised at the Good Shepherd’s tender voice constantly whispering into your thoughts . . . from within you where He abides permanently in your spirit.      Keep in mind, however, it’s difficult for us to hear God if we’re doing all the talking!  But God is not limited to communicating with us only in a quiet, soft whisper; He can communicate with us in any manner He chooses.

However, Jesus generally speaks to us from within in five distinct and clear ways:  1.  From the Bible, God’s written, LIFEgiving, transforming Word for all humanity.  2.  By inserting and imbedding his thoughts and creative ideas into our thoughts.  3.  By means of visions, images, pictures, our creative imaginations, and dreams Holy Spirit “broadcasts” to the “viewing screen” of our spirits.  4.  By means of strong but gentle, inner impressions, nudging, and urgings.  5.  By means of speaking in tongues with the interpretation.

I certainly don’t want to limit God speaking to us in only those five ways; He cannot be limited to our finite comprehension; we cannot “put Him in a box” and limit Him in any manner, but He does graciously Self-limit his means of communication in order for us mortal humans to understand Him.

I’m not sure I need to point this out, but I will anyway.  Jesus doesn’t bark out orders to his church as some military drill instructor might do as we often see portrayed in movies and on television.  No, no, no!  Most often He speaks in a still, small voice from within his church, not necessarily giving orders in a strict sense of the word.  Instead, most often He quietly and gently leads us from behind the scenes so that we are given choices to make in given situations, gently nudging us so that we have the opportunity to make the correct choices.  Jesus does not force us to make choices.  The choices are ours to make, and, hopefully our relationship with Him is close enough so that we know his mind and purposes for us and make choices that will honor and glorify Him.  Again, except in emergent or urgent situations, Jesus generally does not issue command-like orders to his church.

Yes, Jesus is in charge of his church and is perfectly capable of exercising leadership over his church—including speaking clearly to every person within his church—without humans attempting to usurp his leadership and authority and attempting to tell others what Jesus is saying and doing—especially in the form of prophecy that foretells by prognostication.  Church prophecy is meant to encourage, build up, encourage, and “forth-tell,” NOT foretell future events!  (See 1 Corinthians 14: 3 and related references)

Let’s continue examining only a few representative references to church in the New Testament.  Paul wrote much about the church to Jesus-believers in the city of Ephesus.  In fact, he used 7 different word pictures to describe Jesus church:  a body, an assembly, God’s divine workmanship, a family, a temple, a bride, and an army.  He began by stating that Jesus is unequivocally the Head of his living body, the church; (also stated in Colossians 1: 18)  Jesus is in charge! (Ephesians 1: 22 and 5: 23)  Paul states that through Jesus’ church, God displays his manifold wisdom to the world-at-large.  (Ephesians 3: 10)  Finally, Paul states that Jesus deeply loves his church and to Him, his church is glorious even with its spots and wrinkles.  (Ephesians 5: 25 and 27)  In Colossians 1: 18 and 24, Paul again affirms that the church is Jesus’ living body—an organism, NOT an organization.

In Ephesians 4: 11 and 12, Paul wrote of various people God gives as people-gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) to the church in order that they may serve the church by nurturing and preparing other believers to do their own works of service and ministry to others in order to grow and build up the body of Jesus.  God alone gives such gifts to the church; they are NOT appointed by humans, nor is there any indication anywhere in the Bible that such people are paid, part-time or fulltime “employees” of the church with specialized religious training from outside the local church.

There are many more of those 118 New Testament references to church we could examine, but I feel the few I have chosen are most representative of what the church of Jesus is and does.  Again, it’s Jesus’ church, and He’s in charge of his church.  Nowhere in the Bible does it claim or assert that Jesus places in the church paid part-time or fulltime employees to be leaders in charge of local churches.  Jesus is perfectly capable of being sole Lord and Master of his living body He continues to build using living building materials.  He speaks to his church.  He leads his church.  He serves his church.  He has never delegated those responsibilities to human leadership.

Jesus simply wants us to follow his lead, and in the power of Holy Spirit serve people inside and outside his church, his living Body, of whom He is the sole Head and sole authority!

[NOTE:  I realize this teaching is radical and “outside the box” of typical teaching about the nature and practice of church.  As of this year, I’ve been teaching the Bible and related subjects for 65 years—whatever God has asked me to teach.  I feel very strongly that God asked me to write this teaching.  I am NOT on a one-man crusade to change Jesus’ church; how foolish that would be.  I’m merely pointing out some facts about Jesus’ church that I see from the Bible and church history. 

If only one local church somewhere in the world changes its practices and turns their local portion of the church completely over to Jesus’ leadership alone…then this teaching will have been worth it.  I also know I’ll receive some very negative responses; oh well…]

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted January 2021

Manifesto For The United States of America

(NOTE: Unlike many contemporary “doomsday deceivers” and false prophets prophesying imminent doom for the USA, I wrote this positive manifesto to give hope and promise for a bright future for this “land that I love…)

I solemnly proclaim and declare to all who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and understanding to comprehend that the United States of America is unique among all nations throughout human history—created, borne, and sustained by Almighty God through its allotted years.  This nation is not in decline.  On the contrary, it is yet young “In the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God.”  *

At its beginning, God ratified an unbreakable one-way covenant with the founders of this nation that it would be a “city on a hill” (Matthew 5: 14) and a “light to the world” (Luke 2: 30 – 32)—a covenant God has not abrogated because of America’s sins.

The United States of America is God’s unique, precursor nation to proclaim to the world God’s ultimate redemption, restoration, and reconciliation of all humanity to Himself and to usher in the coming, bright Kingdom of God.  This nation shall continue to stand tall on earth—led, guarded, sustained, and protected by vigilant, Almighty God until Jesus returns.

May God continue to greatly bless the United States of America.  Firm may she continue to stand, though by internal and external foes of God and truth surrounded!

*Words in quotation marks in the first paragraph are by poet, Carl Sandburg, winner of 3 Pulitzer prizes.

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
leservices38@yahoo.com
Posted December 2020