NO LONGER BLOGGING

Letting you know that I am no longer blogging.  This site will remain dormant but available until it expires.

I am posting weekly in my new Facebook Group, “SENIOR CHURCH LEADERS.”  I encourage you to join.  If you are not a part of Facebook, you must begin by joining Facebook.  But, once you are a member, you can then ask to join our Group, and do nothing else on FB if that is your choice.

Here is a link to our Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/187631288306928/

DON ATKIN - 2016

 

CONSTITUTION, CULTURE AND CHURCH

(This is an Appendix to “WARFARE IN THE FIRST HEAVEN,” coming in August.)

Constitution: The system of beliefs and laws by which a country, state, or organization is governed

Culture:  The beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time; a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc; a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)

TILT!  To set off the tilt/motion detection device(s) in a pinball machine. Nudging the machine (within the limits of the detectors) in addition to using the flippers is a big part of the game (if you’re any good), hence the sensitivity of the tilt sensors have quite a big impact on the game. Causing a tilt results (usually, but almost universally) in the loss of the current ball and any bonus points built up during the current ball (these are otherwise awarded when the ball is lost). It has no effect on other players playing at the same time, and is hence considered perfectly socially acceptable. Causing a Slam Tilt (by hitting or attacking the door to the coin vault or other *very* violent behavior towards the machine) immediately ends the current game for you and anyone else currently playing and is hence considered very rude.

The Constitution of the United States of America is the fundamental or organic law of the U.S., framed  in 1787 by the  Constitutional Convention.  It went into effect March 4, 1789.

The radical changes in the culture of the United States in more than two hundred years are causing radical reactions concerning the Constitution, thereby causing the system to “tilt.”

The Constitution was formed to serve a largely agricultural and patriarchal culture.  Neither characteristic is prominent in today’s culture.  Consequently, conflict is normal.

The U. S. Constitution does not represent the present-day constituency of the nation.  It is no wonder that the system made up of the legislative, administrative and judicial branches of government is stuck on “tilt.”

It is also no wonder that so many church members—“evangelicals”—are strict constitutionalists!  Many of the values defining the culture at the time of the writing of the Constitution are consistent with biblical values.

While provisions have been made for the separation of church and state, many church members do not want the state interfering with the church, but do want the church to interfere with the state.

This indicates that many are U. S. citizens first, and then church members after that.  They are intellectually and emotionally immersed in the political agenda and process of a fallen culture, and, at the same time, ignorant and uninvolved with God’s agenda, His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

It really doesn’t matter what nation or culture we live in, our agenda should be God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus, speaking to those who are concerned with basic necessities, said,

“Do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.”

In this same conversation, Jesus gives the disciples (1) our first priority for prayer: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and (2) our first priority in life: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

This is the proper political acumen for Jesus’ disciples in any age, nation or culture.

Go and do likewise.

BOOK-CHURCH-KINGDOM-HERE-NOW-312X500

https://www.amazon.com/Church-Kingdom-Here-Now-ebook/dp/B00GA2T71A?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

SELF-MARGINALIZED BY OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING

My grandfather worked for New York Central Railroad.  The tower was visible from his house.  I remember hunting along the tracks one day, and finding the body of a homeless man who had been living in a box car parked on a siding track.  He had apparently gotten out of the box car to relieve himself, fallen down the hill, and—lacking the strength to get up, he froze to death.

This is a true story.  But it is also a parable of so many church members.

They are spiritually homeless.  Although they are church members, they have really never found their very special personal place in the household of God—the place that has been especially prepared for them.  They are side-tracked, and are not seeking first the kingdom of God.  They haven’t been discipled or equipped to find and function in the work that God has for them.

Many church members, including leaders, are side-tracked, self-marginalized by their own intellectual conclusions, or by traditions that are rooted in the conclusions of those who came before them.  They are marginalized by their own distinctives.  Some leader-types find marketable topics, and play to those audiences.  Some others unknowingly make peace with the devil, simply by failing to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Satan is satisfied if our lives are without spiritual purpose and power.

Perhaps it’s time to consider some challenging words spoken by Jesus.  Please realize that He is the Word, and is clearly defining authentic Christianity in these quotes:

  • “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
  • Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
  • “None of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
  • “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they maysee your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
  • “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
  • “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and”
  • “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Let’s close with this wise counsel:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

 BOOK-AwakenToReality-320X468

https://www.amazon.com/Awaken-Reality-Don-Atkin-ebook/dp/B00GA2T0IA?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

 

AUTONOMY IS BLASPHEMY

Acts and attitudes of individual, congregational and denominational autonomy defy God’s sovereignty and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

AGREEMENT COVER Copy_Page_1

https://www.amazon.com/Agreement-Don-Atkin-ebook/dp/B00GA2QHSG?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

ARE YOU A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?

Are you totally convinced that you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness with your entire being, that nothing has a higher priority in your life than seeing His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven?

Are you willingly and eagerly and fully following Jesus as a disciple, loving and serving Him with everything in you and all that is yours . . . that you love Him more than all family members, you embrace your own cross daily, and are willing to give up all you have?

Are you really walking in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, and being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?

How, in practical terms, are you being diligent in this?  Perhaps others can learn from your example and experience.

Do you really believe that there is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all?

Do you really believe that Jesus’ prayer concerning our oneness is important?  He was about to be arrested and subsequently crucified.  These concerns were uppermost in His mind as He faced the cross.

Is it really important for the world to believe that the Father sent Him, and loves them as He loved Him?

What about the glory that Jesus gave to the disciples, that they may walk out this oneness in functional and visible ways?  Are we looking for the glory of God upon one another?  Or are we looking for some human form of conformity?

We were all flawed lumps of clay when God chose to adopt us as sons and to mold us into a new creation. We all are in process; none of us has arrived.

LIKE-FATHER-LIKE-SON-2ND-ED-240X357

https://www.amazon.com/Like-Father-Son-Disciple-Sons/dp/1505229898?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN ANY PART THEREOF

(This is an excerpt from the Introduction to “Missional Church –A Transgenerational and Global Vision, Plan and Strategy.”)

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This photo was taken some years ago, on the island of Mallorca, Spain, with the Mediterranean Sea in the background. I have been honored to embrace God’s people in fifteen nations, and have concluded that people are definitely God’s treasures, the highest accomplishment of all creation.  Surely, we who have been created in His image and likeness can celebrate Him as a lifestyle filled with His Spirit!  We can—we must also—rightly honor one another.

Anyone willing to read this book deserves a bare-naked heart from me!  I promise you candor.  I’m eighty-one.  I’m not building anything.  I am not asking for money.  I have nothing for you to join.  Personal ambition is long gone, and I am joyously living my latter days sharing this gospel of the kingdom. I am on a quest, seeking first the kingdom of God. Those who have read any of my books already know that. My passion is to introduce the church to the kingdom.  My fervent desire is to see the restoration of the church to its kingdom mandate.

My heart is extended out to all of my brothers and sisters who are presently living out your faith in such a vast variety of expressions—brands of Christianity.  If Jesus is living in you, then this includes you.

Love enables us to embrace one another, even though we do not completely agree on everything.  That’s okay.  Like it or not, we must learn to live and function together, if we are to be God’s instruments for the fulfilling of His purpose on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus did not say that God loves only people. He greatly loves and dearly prizes all of creation.  His plan of redemption encompasses the holistic restoration of all that He created—not only to its pristine condition, but also to its eternal purpose.

Creation was prepared as a suitable environment to sustain life for those who would be God’s sons and daughters.  We see this divine intention when He placed Adam in the garden to tend it.  But, then, the creation was thrust into corruption along with its “tender.”  Everything changed.  Weeds, drought, uncontrolled storms, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, flies, mosquitoes, ticks . . .

 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].

For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

Creation is waiting for this new creation, this holy nation—a royal priesthood purchased by the blood of Christ from every tribe and language and people and nation. Creation’s destiny is to be restored, tended and administrated by God’s sons. You (Jesus) have made them (us) a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they (we) shall reign [as kings] over the earth!

OUR VISION

“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.”

Let us carefully and prayerfully read the following, taken from various Scriptures that—woven together—provide a biblical foundation for our faith and our lives of obedience.  This is our vision (Chapter 10, MISSIONAL CHURCH).

The [singular] company [made up of and including all who believe, who are together a new creation, residing in one city or region] with one heart and mind (who adhere to and trust in and rely upon Jesus Christ) united, and having everything in common.  We steadfastly persevere, devoting ourselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers.

We eagerly and earnestly guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace, acknowledging that [there is] one body and one Spirit—just as there is one hope [that belongs to the calling] they receive.  [There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all.

God does not attach Himself to our desires and ambitions.  He attaches us to Himself in baptism. We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God, at the direction of and in the power of His abiding Spirit].

 We have been crucified with Christ [in Him we have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer we who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in us; and the life we now live in the body we live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself up for us.  [Therefore, we do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; we do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him].  Above all things, having intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].”

Jesus prayed:

“Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching.”

[This clarification reassures us that Jesus is praying for us.  We are included in His passion.  And we should be equally passionate for Him and His mission on earth.]

“That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.  I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.”

Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away.  For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty, how shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]?  For, it was declared at first by the Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak].  [Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers] according to His own will.

“While love is a non-negotiable so equally is orthodox belief, not an either/or option. Christianity is the revelation of God’s mind through propositional statements. The apostolic writings are intensely committed to the absoluteness of truth.”

The church in Jerusalem continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching. For that is the foundation upon which prophets and teachers are to build:

 Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

  1. Apostles build by wisdom
  2. Prophets establish by understanding
  3. Teachers furnish by knowledge

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.  And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.   [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!

 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].  For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.  For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.

For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things—that you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight,  acquaintance, and recognition].

[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.

Seven points that summarize the vision:

  1. Individuals who are walking in the work that God prepared for them
  2. God’s own people equipped for works of service
  3. Mature believers fitting together as one new man according to God’s order
  4. A royal priesthood filling the earth with the glory of God
  5. A visible holy nation loving one another and glorifying God
  6. The body of Christ in every city or region constituted and functioning as one
  7. The kingdom of God fully realized on earth as it is in heaven

“God wants to purify our minds until we can bear all things, believe all
things, hope all things and endure all things.
God dwells in you, but you cannot have this divine power until you live and walk in the Holy Ghost, until the power of the new life is greater than the old life.”

MISSIONAL CHURCH - HIGH RES

https://www.amazon.com/Missional-Church-Transgenerational-Global-Strategy-ebook/dp/B01GQEL7W8?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

ABBA’S WAY OF FATHERING FATHERS

It is a good thing to have one day a year to specifically focus upon and celebrate our fathers.  It would be an even better thing to do so daily.   Here is the Introduction for a book that I am working on:

Patriarchy may need more than a healing.  Resurrection may be required to bring back God’s preferred and intentional order for families, cities and nations.  I do realize that some may prefer a king.  But, let me ask,

“How is that working for you?

Not only patriarchy, but matriarchy has also suffered death-dealing blows from the Feminist Movement (which really began at the base of a beautiful fruit tree in the midst of a glorious garden of abundance).  Women just cannot excel in men’s shoes, any more than David could battle Goliath in Saul’s armor!

I am honored to be a voice crying out in the wilderness of role confusion and the stench of moral decay.  I am grateful for my godly wife of sixty-two years.  Those who know Barbara will confirm that our “spin” on this topic must not be too radical.  She is highly honored and widely respected. Those who know our daughters will tell you that they are not doormats.

ABBA is an Aramaic word for father, used by Jesus and Paul to address God in a relation of personal intimacy; and is also a title of reverence for bishops and patriarchs.”

There are those who still follow the order of God.  For us, His order in familial relationships has survived through several generations.

“ABBA, the Affirmation of Patriarchy,” will bring assurance of God’s grace upon every member of your household and your sphere of influence.  Peter Austin, one of our twelve grandchildren, wrote the following.

“As I rock a sick baby tonight, I can’t help but think how blessed I am to be a daddy to my two wonderful boys. It is a tough job, for sure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It reminds me of my dad, Lyle Austin, and all the fun times and hard times we’ve had together–all the laughter and the tears; the countless rounds of golf; the college debate; the numerous calls for help over the years; introducing him to his two grandsons and seeing the twinkle in his eye; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I think about my step-dad, Jeff Douglas, and the love and support he’s given me over the past 13+ years; helping with moves and cars and babies and cigars; graciously hosting a family of four on trips back home; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I think about my father-in-law, Bill Giles, and am so thankful for the fatherly love he has shown for Adrienne Rose Austin and Michelle Rose; it is truly special knowing a man can bring two girls under his wing and treat them as his own. He is an amazing father-in-law and Grandpa; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“And how could I forget my Grandpa, Don Atkin. He is the one who started all of this: he raised four (4!!!!!!) girls, who spawned 12 grandchildren, who have now given him 18 (???) great-grandchildren. And through all of the years and cheers and tears, he has given all of himself to God and his family.

“These are the men I have had the blessing and pleasure of calling (grand) father (in-law); the men I model myself after; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” – Peter Austin

(Just recently, Peter and his really cool wife, Adrianne, announced that our 19th great-grandchild is on the way!)

Only those who are brave enough to consider creation’s purpose and history’s example, realizing that radical change is in order, will be ready to unearth such pearls of great price.

We should remember that patriarchy was Love’s idea!

God is love.  He is our loving Father who only wants the absolute best for the bride of Christ.  In like manner, He leads husbands to love their wives, wanting His highest and best for them—even as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for us.

“ABBA, the Affirmation of Patriarchy,”  is still several months out.  But, in the meantime, you might want to explore Jesus’ strategy for discipling others. When He commissioned us to disciple the nations, this is what He meant:

LIKE-FATHER-LIKE-SON-2ND-ED-240X357

https://www.amazon.com/Like-Father-Son-Disciple-Sons/dp/1505229898?ie=UTF8&qid=1466260177&ref_=la_B001K8NDN2_1_8&s=books&sr=1-8

ATTENTION: APOSTLES & SR. PASTORS

COMING TOGETHER FOR DIALOG                            

This is a request and an invitation to all senior ministers.

A divided household cannot stand.  The church is to be functionally one in every geopolitical sphere.  Only when this oneness is demonstrated will the world believe and the kingdom on earth become a real possibility.

Here is our commonality, the basis for our practical unity:

  • We are A New Creation
  • Jesus is Lord
  • He has given us the Ministry of Reconciliation
  • There isone body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 At 81, personal ambition has been long gone.  I am not selling anything.  I have nothing for you to join.  I am not asking for money.

I am asking you to read a short book, “Missional Church,” and then prayerfully consider joining with me for a round table dialog.  The book is available on Amazon.com at the lowest prices they allow – $0.99 for Kindle, and $5.38 for Paperback.

I look forward to hearing from you.

DonAtkin@yahoo.com

MISSIONAL CHURCH - HIGH RES

http://www.amazon.com/Don-Atkin/e/B001K8NDN2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1427977800&sr=1-2-ent