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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church

 

003white  Section 10A   The Contemporary Church     >       Shepherds or Wolves     >     Laurie Beth Jones Part II

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Laurie-Beth-Jones
 

Laurie Beth Jones... Part II

Carol Brooks

Jesus as a leadership role model is offensive to nobody. It is Jesus as Redeemer that is the stumbling block to a dying world [Ingrid Schlueter]

 PAGE I
An Introduction to Laurie Beth Jones... Best Selling Author, Her "Essence" of Biblical Texts. The Divine Connection... Moses and Jesus... spiritreneurs?, Ezekiel 47... Co-Creating With God, 1998 Business and Consciousness Conference and Labyrinths, 2008 Business and Consciousness Conference... Beginning The Day With Iyengar Yoga

 

ON THIS PAGE
Four Books

Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership...
Jesus' "Leadership Approach"
"I AM"...
Did God's words "I AM that I AM" reflect "all the creative power in the Universe", and Were Jesus' "I Am" statements What He "Became"
Jesus' Mission
Jesus let His Mission Go
He Was Constantly in "a State of Celebration"
He Was Willing to Do an "End Run"
"He Harbored only Goodwill"
A Few Random Quotes

Jesus in Blue Jeans: A Practical Guide to Everyday Spirituality
He Held Himself In Readiness
He Went The Whole Way

JESUS, Career Counselor: How to Find (and Keep) Your Perfect Work in 2010
That Voice Behind You says....?
Twelve Dreams of the Holy Spirit?
Rising Into Your "Giftedness"
Why Jesus "Fired" People

Teach Your Team to Fish
A Team Building Book?
Seeking 'Results' Through Meditation
The Bigger Picture
The Scapegoat

Conclusion
Including
Can We Cast Aside "Doctrine" Or "Refuse To Be Divided By Doctrinal Differences"

Review of Laurie Beth Jones' Four [Pagan] Elements of Success by Bob DeWaay

 


Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership...

[Note: Quotes in this section are from Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership Paperback. Hyperion; 1st Edition edition (May 2, 1996) All Emphasis added]

Laurie Beth Jones says the idea of Jesus as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) came to her twenty years ago when she "was living in the mountains" and decided to write this book to "help turn the tide and to empower people in all layers of leadership to re-view the divine excellence in themselves and those they serve". [Introduction Page 15] Jesus, CEO was written when...

    "she was struck by the notion that Jesus' leadership approach with his staff (disciples) ran counter to many of the management styles and techniques being employed and popularized".  [26]

"Jesus' Leadership Approach"
Jesus CEO has been described as [Emphasis Added]

    "a bold yet sensitive inspirational handbook for leadership success. Following the example of Jesus--a "CEO" who took a disorganized "staff" of 12 and built a thriving enterprise -- the book details a simple, fresh approach to motivating and managing others that is translatable to any business". [25]

Ken Blanchard describes this book as being "A perfect book for leaders looking to model a kind and loving leadership style...." (Front Cover).

The very purpose of the Savior's undertaking on earth has been redefined to provide little more than a role model for every day life and business, with not a hint of His real mission. Well, lets take a look at some aspects of "Jesus' Leadership Approach" that has been conveniently left unmentioned.

    Jesus once told his disciples and everyone else who was around that unless they repented they too would perish like the Galileans, who Pilate had killed. [Luke 13:1-3]. Jesus called scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, "sons of them that slew the prophets" and "offspring of vipers" and asked how they hoped to escape the judgment of hell [Matthew 28-33]. And lets not forget that he told His "staff" that when they had done all the things that were commanded them, they could say no more than they were "unprofitable servants", who had only done that which it was their duty to do. [Luke 17:10]

    And how about Jesus' response to two men He had called to follow him. One asked Him for time to first go and bury his father to which Jesus said... "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God". The second man fared no better. When he told Jesus he would follow Him, but wanted to first bid farewell to them that were in his house, what Jesus told him was "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God". [Luke 9:59-62].

One more example of Jesus' leadership style springs to mind..

    In the parable of the talents, Jesus told the story of a master who gave his servants some money (talents) to use while he was away. Those servants who earned more talents than they had been left with were rewarded with the words.. Well done, good and faithful servant; However, the master told the other servants to cast into the "outer darkness" the unprofitable servant who buried his talent and did not bear fruit.

How's that for leadership approach? ... Or were those passages somehow missed? KB-Laurie-Beth-Jones

And, I presume, Laurie Beth Jones counts the sheer number of people who call themselves "Christians" as the "thriving enterprise" the Jesus is supposed to have built. However, the Savior had a very different view, In His words...

    "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. [Matthew 7:13-14 NASB]

But it gets better.


"I Am"
In the very first chapter (He said "I Am"), Laurie Beth Jones writes..

    "In the Old Testament, when the Jews asked God for a self-description, the only answer they received was "I AM that I AM." The simplicity of this phrase emphasized his power to them. The words I AM therefore reflect all the creative power in the Universe" [Page 5].

The discerning reader should have stopped reading right there. But, unfortunately, there isn't much of that (discernment) going around any more.

Did God's words "I AM that I AM" reflect "all the creative power in the Universe"?

"No" is a perhaps too short an answer... So what did it mean?


I AM that I AM
Although Laurie Beth Jones thinks the phrase is "simplicity itself", God's self description "I AM that I AM" is perhaps one of the deepest statements to be found any where in the Bible... scholars through the ages venturing various explanations that they believe best fits the meaning. So what did God's words to Moses convey, if not "all the creative power in the Universe". An examination of the Hebrew word used, and the setting in which it was used, sheds much light on the subject.

The context is the scene at the burning bush when God commissioned Moses to rescue the Israelites from Egypt.

    Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM (Heb. hyh) WHO I AM (Heb. hyh) "; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM (Heb. hyh) has sent me to you.'" [Exodus 3:13-14 NASB]

The Hebrew word hyh, translated I Am, means to exist. There is little question that God saying "I Am" stresses the fact that He is the self-existent, eternal God.  However, in the next verse, God elaborated on the first statement.

    God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.

God's words not only had deep theological significance, but was a call to faith. The God who had promised to be with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was sending Moses to them. He had not forgotten them but His promises were constant and unchanging [Also See Isaiah 46:8-10].


New Thought... A Well Traveled Path
LBJ's claim that God's words ""I Am Who I Am" reflects "all the creative power in the Universe" is cunningly leading the reader down an old path, one well traveled by New Agers, with some "modern" Christians following hard on their heels...

Reduced it to it's essentials, New Thought very simply believes that your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience. Although most Christians do not use the term New Thought, it is the cornerstone for most of the formulas for happy and successful living and espoused by virtually all of the success and motivational gurus.

Norman Vincent Peale's Positive Thinking, Clement Stone's Positive Mental Attitude, Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Robert Schuller's Possibility Thinking, Charles Capps' Positive Confession, and Oral Roberts' seed-faith principles are all examples of New Thought. Those who claim to be Christian (Word Faith groups) have to "Christianize" the concepts and somehow add God into the mixture. It take but half an eye to see the similarities between the two doctrines which all stem from the same source. [See Roots of Evil]

Laurie Beth Jones very subtly tries to convince her readers that Jesus Himself used visualization and positive affirmation (both New Thought staples) to become who He was. Lets examine the path she endeavors to take her reader down. She writes...

    "... What if Jesus did not instantly know who he was? Or what his gifts were? What if it dawned on him only gradually, as it dawns on each of us? ".. I believe Jesus had to go into the wilderness to find out who he was- that a wilderness experience was as much a part of his shaping and destiny as it is of yours and mine. [Page 3].

    Jesus met the temptation to use his gifts selfishly, and he overcame them. It is no coincidence that only after the wilderness experience did Jesus begin to use the words "I am" when describing himself..." [Page 5].

If, as LBJ says, "Jesus had to go into the wilderness to find out who he was" something had to be very wrong with Him, simply because almost immediately before this He was baptized by John. But this was no ordinary baptism where someone is dunked under water. Jesus' baptism was accompanied by some impressive and awe-inspiring signs.

    After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." [Matthew 3:16-17 NASB]

Apparently the heavens opening and "the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him" and "a voice out of the heavens" stating that He (Jesus) was God's beloved son was not enough for Jesus to know who He was. It seems to me that a mere, even half witted, mortal would realize that something quite extraordinary was going on. Yet LBJ would have us believe that even after a voice from a parted heaven told Him who He was, Jesus still didn't 'get it'.

The question does arise that, if Jesus already knew who He was, why did He have to go through the temptation in the wilderness? The Scriptures themselves give us several reasons for the temptations.

1) In some sense Jesus learned obedience through temptation.

    "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation"  [Hebrews 5:8-9 NASB]

2) The temptations showed His humanity and helped Him to, not only sympathize with us when we are tempted, but also come to our aid.

    "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" [Hebrews 4:15 NASB]

    "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted". [Hebrews 2:18 NASB]

3) How Jesus handled the temptations is an example to us as to how to respond when we are tempted

    "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked". [1 John 2:6 NASB]


Jesus' "I Am" statements Are What He Became
Continuing down the same path, LBJ seeks to prove (in chapter two entitled "His I Am" statements Are What He Became), that Jesus became who He was because He "regularly visualized the success of his efforts" [Page 7]. In her words...

    Jesus did not look back on the events of his life and say, "Hmmm.. I must have been the Son of God." He declared himself to be the Son of God and the proof followed. Jesus regularly visualized the success of his efforts. "I declare a thing done and it is done for me. My word accomplishes that which I sent it out to do."

    Probably many people would describe Jesus as one of the most humble beings who ever walked the earth. Yet consider what he said about himself in the Bible. Absolutely everything he said about himself was positive. "I always do what pleases God. "God always answers my prayers." Was this conceit? Or was it enlightened creativity and self-knowledge. If you look at the Old Testament, you will read some of it's most beautiful verses later recited by Jesus about himself. For example, his mission statement regarding bringing good news to others is taken from the prophet Isaiah. He internalized beauty and claimed it as his own....

    Words have power. And Jesus always spoke loving, powerful, and confident words about himself.... People who succeed speak well of themselves to themselves. Nowhere in the Gospel does Jesus put himself down. Jesus was full of self-knowledge and self-love. His "I am" statements were what he became. [Pages. 7- 8]

In other words, according to LBJ, Jesus using God's words "I Am" which, supposedly, reflects "all the creative power in the Universe" means that He actually became the "I Am".

This is well refuted by the Savior Himself.

Jesus' words to the Pharisees ... "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." [John 8:58 NASB] When Jesus echoed the words of YHWH Himself, He was stating who He was, the eternal God, which no one can become.. the very word eternal precluding the possibility. This also means He was the same "I AM" who spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

Jesus' claim to be God was so clear and unmistakable that the Jews, who considered His assertion blasphemous, tried to stone Him to death [John 8:59] in accordance with the instruction of Leviticus 24.

[See The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar, Or Lunatic?]

But let us also not forget His warning in the same chapter... "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." [John 8:24 NASB]. [Note: The word "He" is not in the original Greek text, but inserted into English versions].


Affirmations for Leaders
So LBJ's advice to the reader to "List in detail each of your own 'I ams." [Page 6],and to ask themselves the question "Whom do you tell yourself that you are on a daily basis?" [Page 8] is nothing but yet another angle on New Thought philosophy. She is telling her readers that they, by using the words "I AM", have all the creative power in the universe. (Hey! If Jesus did it... so can you).. Here are some of Laurie Beth Jones' "Affirmations for Leaders" [Pgs. 295-301]

    I proudly say I AM, knowing clearly my strengths and God-given talents. I repeat my strengths to myself often, knowing my words are my wardrobe.

    I shape my own destiny. What I believe, I become

    What I say and ask for is accomplishes for me in amazing ways and with amazing speed.

    I keep in constant contact with my Higher Power, knowing that I need added insight to see the road up ahead

    I do not need or seek others' approval. I am internally connected to my Higher Power and listen to the still, small voice that alone knows my best path.

    I release and forgive others, knowing that what is loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven. I aim to soar. I release others so that I myself can fly.

And perhaps most amazingly of all

    My word goes out and accomplishes that which I send it to do.


Nathanael:
To further her viewpoint that Jesus became what he was, Laurie adds to the Scriptures, saying [Emphasis Added]

    "Jesus was not exactly what the people had in mind for a leader. Nathanael, a potential disciple, said, "Examine the Scriptures yourself and see. Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"" [Page 103]

I do not know if this is her idea of conveying the "essence of the message', but her version of what Nathanael said is only half true.. He said nothing about 'examining the Scriptures'. merely "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" [John 1:46]. However she makes it seem that Nathanael knew from the Scriptures that the Messiah could not come from Nazareth.

While we do not know exactly what Nathanael meant by the question "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" it is a fact that, at the time, Nazareth was a small and relatively isolated village, and it is possible that Nathanael did not believe that a hole in the wall could produce the Messiah. The page on Nazareth on the site in israel.com says

    "While the site was settled during the period 600-900 BCE, it was too small to be included in the list of settlements of the tribe of Zebulon (Joshua 19:10-16), which mentions twelve towns and six villages. Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of the Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus, and her name is missing from the 63 towns in Galilee mentioned in the Talmud." [27]

However, the tone of Nathanael's question seems to lean more towards the nature of the citizens, rather than the small size of the town. Support for this is found in the fact that the Gospels portray the citizens of Nazareth in a negative light. For example, the Gospel of Mark states that not only was Jesus unwelcome in His hometown, but the Nazarenes actually tried to kill Him. Mark records Jesus as saying He got no honour in Nazareth

    And He said, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. ... and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:26, 29 NASB]

    Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching. [Mark 6:4-6 NASB]


Jesus' Mission
Jones also states that [Emphasis Added]

    Jesus knew his mission statement, and he did not deviate from it. He declared that his mission was, in essence, to teach people about a better way of life. He saw himself as a teacher and a healer." [Page 13]

If Jesus declared in so many words (or even implied) that His mission was "in essence, to teach people about a better way of life" I would like to know where in the Scriptures this is to be found. However, the serious student of the Bible will find that a succinct summary of Jesus' mission is to be found in the first description of His ministry in the Gospel of Mark [Emphasis Added]

    "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news'" (Mark 1:14-15).

He very clearly stated that He was sent to earth to proclaim the good news of the kingdom [Emphasis Added]

    "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose" (Luke 4:43)".

Therefore, it is hardly surprising that, throughout His ministry, Jesus constantly talked about the Kingdom. Many of his parables explain something about this kingdom... He compared it to a mustard seed, a treasure, a merchant looking for pearls, and a king who gave a banquet (Matthew 13:44-47). Strikingly, the phrase "kingdom of God" which appears 53 times in the Gospels, and the synonymous phrase, "kingdom of heaven," which appears 32 times in the Gospel of Matthew are almost always Jesus' words.

Anyone who says that Jesus' mission was to "teach people about a better way of life", is doing little but bending over backwards to make His words and teachings fit preconceived notions.

See more about the "Kingdom of Heaven


Jesus let His Mission Go:
On page 157 of the book Laurie Beth Jones claims that Jesus looked at his mission from the cross and then "let it go"...

    "Perhaps Jesus' ultimate act of faith was not so much in coming to earth as in leaving it. After a lifetime of preparation and only three years of implementation and training, he has to look at his mission and then let it go. "It is finished," he said in his dying breath. An then he let it go.

    When you have done everything humanly possible, with a project, with a business, with a relationship- then the only thing left is to let it go".

The implication here is that Jesus failed at His mission since He was unable to complete it, apparently having done everything possible to complete it... which goes to show how little this woman knows about, or is willing to twist, the central event of the Bible. The Son of God's words "It is finished" marked the fulfillment or completion of His mission which was to ultimately die on the cross.


He Was Constantly in "a State of Celebration"
Another example of her inane interpretations of the birth and life of Jesus is seen in her words...

    "Perhaps Jesus loved celebrations so much because he was born at a party. I believe any event that has a heavenly light show, and a host of angels singing and giving directions is a celebration of major proportions. It must have made an impact on him.... The night before he was arrested he gathered his staff together to sing songs and dine...."

The birth of Jesus was a celebration of a kind that has completely escaped Laurie Beth Jones... as it has escaped millions of people who routinely celebrate Christmas. It was no party. The Heavenly host was celebrating a momentous event... man's salvation had come and God and sinner were now on their way to being reconciled. And as far as Jesus gathering his staff together to sing songs and dine the night before he was arrested... What Bible did that come from?

    "He came from a very happy place and he knew he was returning to a very happy place. When he said, "wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them," perhaps he saw a party coming on. Indeed, his invitations read "I go to prepare a place [setting] for you." I think he is telling us to lighten up. [Pages 30-31].

The word translated 'place' is the Greek topos ... a spot (generally in space, but limited by occupancy). "The figure here is taken from one who is on a journey, who goes before his companions to provide a place to lodge in, and to make the necessary preparations for their entertainment. It evidently means that he, by the work he was yet to perform in heaven, would secure their admission there, and obtain for them the blessings of eternal life. That work would consist mainly in his intercession". (Barnes). No party place setting here Laurie.

    A ten-year-old once asked me if I knew what Jesus' first words were after he came out of the tomb. "No," I replied. "What were they?" He spread his arms, jumped forward with a grin, and said, "Ta-dah!" [Page 32]

While a youngster saying and doing something like this would certainly make me smile, to include it in a chapter that says Jesus was always celebrating, is subtly presenting the reader with the idea that it could very well have been possible. This is extremely devious and extremely clever.

[See Section on Christmas, including some surprising facts about Santa Claus]


He Was Willing to Do an "End Run"
This following quote only further illustrates Laurie Beth Jones' shallow understanding of the Scriptures and God's "game plan"

    As quarterback, Jesus knew his game plan could not be to take the truth up the middle. Perhaps he would have preferred to have his message delivered through the Levites and Pharisees. They already had their distribution mechanisms in place. That was blocked, however so Jesus did an end run. He hired fishermen. Leaders often must use innovative means to deliver a message or accomplish a goal. [Page 118].

In football, an "end run" is "a play in which the ball carrier attempts to run around one end of the defensive line". [28] Summing up this very short chapter, Laurie Beth Jones says

    "If you believe you have a just cause, an important message, or a key contribution to make, you will be just as innovative as a college freshman desperate to see his girlfriend six hundred miles away. You will get there any-way you can. Jesus was willing to do an end run." [Page 120].

In other words, because the Pharisees, by developing their own system of righteousness (they added their own customs and opinions to God's law) and then expecting adherence to it, blocked Jesus' message, He was forced to deliver His message by any means possible. The problem is that this is simply untrue. As Paul said God chose to have His message conveyed through fishermen and tax collectors [Emphasis Added]

    but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are [1 Corinthians 1:27-28 NASB]

Why? The next verse gives us the reason...

    so that no man may boast before God. [1 Corinthians 1:29 NASB]

Jesus was not "willing to do an end run".. He did not adapt to suit the circumstance, He came to earth with a plan already in place.

Also see Jesus and The Law


"He Harbored only Goodwill"
Similarly, in the chapter entitled "He Harbored only Goodwill", LBJ says

    Jesus presumed the best about people ... even when they nailed him to the cross.

    He called us lambs and children - never sinning worms. I walked out of a church once because the preacher kept saying that we were sinning worms. Now I ask you, how does a worm sin? Besides I think I was made in the image of God. Who was that preacher to tell me I am unworthy of God's love?

    Jesus presumed the best in us. He saw us as future kings and queens and was quick to excuse and forgive our lesser acts, knowing we were capable of so much more. "Yes, Peter You denied me. But you will be my Rock. Yes, Mary, you've had men who weren't your husband. But you are capable of great love."

    ...Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do." This statement is like a blanket of mercy thrown over our most fearful deeds. He said we were not the best to him, but he believed we wanted to be. he said so with his dying breath. That is why he was such a great negotiator on our behalf. He believed that ultimately we could make the angels sing and God truly proud. [Pgs 268-269]

Father, Forgive Them.. Who??
Jesus' words on the cross Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do." [Luke 23:34] were not like a blanket of mercy thrown over our most fearful deeds. He was praying for those who put Him to death (the Jews, the Roman soldiers or both). It fulfilled a prophecy made by Isaiah.

    Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. [Isaiah 53:12 NASB]

In other words, Jesus, by dying on the cross bore the sin of many, but He specifically interceded for the transgressors. As said by Bob Deffinbaugh in his study on Luke

     I think Jesus' prayer spared the lives of these people and delayed the wrath of God until after His resurrection, and after the gospel was preached to them so that they would no longer be ignorant of His identity, and so that they might repent and be saved from the destruction of their own generation. The prayer of our Lord was thus answered in the salvation of many (e.g. Pentecost, Acts 2) and in the delay of God's wrath for the rest, so that they had ample opportunity to repent and be saved. [29]

He also noted the change in the attitude of many of those who had witnessed the crucifixion

    The change is evident in the responses of many of those who observed the death of the Son of God. The soldiers, who had little regard for Jesus (certainly for His suffering) at first, and who later joined in mocking him, had a change of heart (as reported by Matthew 27:54). The centurion, according to Luke, declared the innocence and the righteousness of Jesus (23:47), while in Matthew and Mark His deity is also affirmed (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39). These hardened soldiers had a very distinct and unusual change of heart toward Jesus.

    The crowd, too, went away different from the way that they came, and even from the way they had been midway through the crucifixion. While they stood by passively at first (Luke 23:35), they later seemed to get into the reviling themselves (Matthew 27:39-40; Mark 15:29-30). But when the whole event was over, the crowd left, silent, sobered, and deeply disturbed beating their breasts (Luke 23:48).  [30]


Who did Jesus Call Lambs And Children?
Children
Let's examine who God calls His "children" in the New Testament?. Verse after verse tells us that we are only children of God through faith in Christ

    But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, [John 1:12 NASB]

    For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:26 NASB]

    nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "Through Isaac your descendants will be named." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. [Romans 9:7-8 NASB]

And that those who have received, and are led by, the Spirit of God are God's children. In fact, the word "adoption" implies that we previously weren't His children, but were "children of wrath".

    For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. [Romans 8:14-17 NASB]

    so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 4:5-7 NASB]

    Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. [Ephesians 2:3 NASB]

Those who practice righteousness and allow themselves to be disciplined by the Lord are "children"

    If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. [1 John 2:29- 3:2 NASB]

    It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. [Hebrews 12:7-8 NASB]

Those who do not practice righteousness are "children of the devil"

    By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. [1 John 3:10 NASB]

Lambs
Similarly although the analogy of Jesus as the Shepherd is a common one (read John 10) and Jesus thrice asked Peter to demonstrate his love for the savior by faithfully caring for His sheep [John 21:15-17], the question is who are Jesus' lambs or sheep. As Jesus Himself said

    "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. [John 10:27-28 NASB]

A flock follows its shepherd to pastures and streams, They yield themselves to his guidance, and seek to be led by him. In Revelation 14:4 they are described as "they that follow the Lamb."

Image of God
In Genesis God said

    Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1:26-27 NASB]

    "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. [Genesis 9:6 NASB]

The term Image of God has been the subject of much debate among theologians who have wrestled long and hard with this question simply because it is a difficult expression to precisely understand. However, to create something in the image or likeness of someone, does not necessarily mean that the created object is the exact duplicate of the model. God is Spirit and does not have a physical body (John 4), so "image of God" can not mean humans are tiny "carbon copies" of God.

The Hebrew word (tselem) translated "image" in both quotes from Genesis above, means a phantom, a resemblance; a representative figure, especially an idol, supported by the Old Testament's use of the word.  It is very likely that Image of God means the created object somehow represents, or pictures, the original, and possibly refers to other characteristics unique to mankind... qualities which were shared by God with man alone. For example only man has the capacity for rational thinking, only man has the ability to choose for himself, only man is morally aware and can comprehend good and evil, only man is capable of being loving and self sacrificing, only man has the ability to be creative and so on. But perhaps, above all, it is only man that aware of his God, and capable of worshipping his creator.

Being made in the The term Image of God does not mean we are somehow "worthy" of God's love. The Bible is very clear that we are all sinners and, unless we accept God's free gift of salvation, we will be the target of His wrath, destined to die, not live in His kingdom. 

    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [Romans 3:23 NASB]

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23 NASB]

And just as a 'by the way'.. Not only did David once call himself a worm, but the Lord similarly addressed the nation of Israel.

    But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. [Psalms 22:6 NASB]

    "Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you," declares the LORD, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. [Isaiah 41:14 NASB]

    And no! worms do not sin, unless there is something about their moral character that I am totally unaware of. The preacher was using a figure of speech.


Random Quotes
"He stated many times that he did not come to judge but that he came to help.  He did not spend 1 minute on the demolition crew. He spent his energy on creation and restoration" [page 37].

    Jesus never said a word about "coming to help". He said He came to save.

    "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. [John 3:17 NASB]

    "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. [John 12:47-48 NASB]

"I believe that is why Jesus came - to create new ways of thinking.  To give us the new testament. He was not content to sit around and reminisce about what used to be. In fact, once he started teaching, he did not fail to create a word picture or two or three a day....  Even in death, Jesus had his hands stretched out as far as they could go. People literally had to nail him down to keep him from doing more". [Pages 85 to 86]

    This quote.... the last part in particular is perhaps the most asinine in the book. I have nothing to say.

"Using money as the only unit of measurement seems a sure fire way to decadence. Jesus said something specifically to this effect: "Using money as the only unit of measurement is the root of all evil..." [Page 144]

    As far as I know, Paul was the only one who talked about money being the root of all evil, and he did not say using money as a "unit of measurement" was the root of all evil, but the love of money was. In his words "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs". [1 Timothy 6:10 NASB]

"By contrast, Jesus as CEO was eager and intent on hiring people he felt could replace him." Greater things than I have done shall you do," he promised. Jesus did not hoard or guard the power of his office. He kept teaching and sharing and demonstrating it so team members would learn that they, too, have the power to do what he had done. In order for him to be so generous with his power, Jesus obviously had to have been extremely secure. He repeatedly affirmed and clearly understood his standing with "the Chairman of the Board." He never doubted that, when it was all over, he would be sitting at the Head Table". [page 151]

    [Greater works? What could Jesus have meant since no one since that time has replicated, much less exceeded the quantity or quality of miracles He performed].

Also see The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar, Or Lunatic?

And let's not forget the reference to new ager Bernie Siegel (Page 48) whose practice of medicine was completely changed by guided visualization, and contact with a spirit guide (Rick Warren also references him on page 31 of The Purpose Driven Life). [More about Siegel]


Jesus in Blue Jeans: A Practical Guide to Everyday Spirituality
Note: Quotes in this section are from Laurie Beth Jones. Jesus In Blue Jeans: A Practical Guide To Everyday Spirituality Hyperion; First Edition edition (September 2, 1998)

Jesus In Blue Jeans is touted as a book that illuminates examples from the scriptures to demonstrate how Jesus can serve as a model for daily life. But there is just one problem.. none of the examples I read actually correlate with the traits LBJ is trying to teach. Take for example the chapter entitled...


He Held Himself In Readiness:
In this chapter LBJ give several example of people who, apparently, held themselves in readiness. This includes the ten bridesmaids in one of Jesus' parables, King David, and Gideon.

The Ten Bridesmaids
writes that, in Matthew 25...

    Jesus spoke about the ten bridesmaids, five of whom were not ready when the Bridegroom appeared. The five who were ready went with him to the wedding hall, and the door was closed behind them. When the other bridesmaids arrived later, they cried, "Lord, Lord, open the door for us." But he replied, "I do not know you." Matthew 25:1-13. [Pg. 42]

While there is much to commend being prepared for various contingencies at all times, pay attention to the fact that the parable starts with the words "The kingdom of heaven is comparable to ten virgins" [Vs.1]. The whole point of the parable is being prepared for Jesus' return and His establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven. The relation of God, and especially of the Messiah, to the church, is often in the Scriptures represented under the image of marriage. See, for example, Isaiah 54:4-6, Hosea 2:19-20, 2 Corinthians 11:2 , Ephesians 5:23-33, and Revelation 19:7-9.

When the Son of man shall come, those who "are ready" (repented of their sins; truly believe in the Lord Jesus; live a holy life; and wait for his coming) will gain entrance into the kingdom of God.  After the door is shut, it is too late for preparation and no one will be received into the kingdom.


King David

Jones then goes on to give the example of tennis players who are trained to be on the balls of their feet, "when a shot comes flying over the net...." She then proceeds to quote one of the Psalms, in order to make the point..

    "King David wrote, "I lift my eyes to you...like the eyes of a servant girl is fixed on the hand of her mistress." -Psalm 123:1-2 . He wanted to be ready for God's instructions." [Page 43-44]

While one can be pretty certain that King David did wait for the Lord's instructions, it cannot be proved by this verse. This very short psalm is entitled simply "Song of Degrees", and is upward glance of waiting faith to Yahweh under tyrannical oppression. Both verses two and three speak of waiting until the Lord is "gracious" to His people (The Hebrew word used is chnan, which means to have pity or mercy upon

    [1] To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!  [2] Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He is gracious (Heb. chnan) to us.  [3] Be gracious (Heb. chnan) to us, O LORD, be gracious (Heb. chnan) to us, For we are greatly filled with contempt.  [4] Our soul is greatly filled With the scoffing of those who are at ease, And with the contempt of the proud. [Psalms 123:1-4 NASB]

David was looking for mercy, not instructions.. And the comparison with the servant girl conveys the idea that they were looking to God just as the servant girl looks to her mistress... with deference and respect.

Jones then says

    "When we are admonished in Psalm 46:10 to "Be still, and know that I am God," we are being told to hold ourselves in readiness. [Page 44]

Alfred Barnes explains Psalm 46:10 well...

    The word used here rphh- means properly to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue. ...The mind was to be calm, in view of the fact that God had interposed, and had shown that he was able to defend his people when surrounded by dangers. [Barnes]

She then goes on to cite the example of Psalm 5:3

    King David wrote: "Yahweh, at dawn, I hold myself in readiness for you" Psalm 5:3 [Page 44]

The King James and NASB render this verse as follows

    In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. [Psalms 5:3 NASB]

    My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. [Psalms 5:3 KJV]

A reading of the entire psalm makes it very clear that, although he does not specify whom he referring to, at the time of writing David was beset by enemies. Knowing that his God was not a God that has pleasure in wickedness, not did He tolerate "workers of iniquity" [Vs. 4-5], David was praying for Him to destroy these enemies [Vs. 10] There is absolutely nothing in this Psalm about David 'holding himself in readiness'..

Gideon
As a final example, LBJ talks about Gideon who, with three hundred soldiers defeated the vast armies of the Midianites and the Amalekites whose camels alone were without number. She says

    Ten thousand men were willing to fight in Gideon's army, but Gideon was instructed to select only those three hundred soldiers who kept their eye on the horizon while they drank. In this case, many were called, but few were chosen. God chose not the people who were willing, but the ones who were ready. Judges 7:5

which makes it seem that the whole point of the exercise was to weed out the men who were 'not ready'. However, this is far from the case. The account itself tells us why God put Gideon into battle with so few unarmed men. Verse 2 says [Emphasis Added]

    The Lord said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, 'My own power has delivered me.' [Judges 7:2 NASB]

No one in their right mind, who fought that battle, would be able to claim the victory was their own doing, but had to give God the credit.


He Went The Whole Way
In the chapter called He Went The Whole Way Jones says

    "Follow the whole way that God has laid out for you; Deuteronomy 5:33. In the book of Jeremiah the people are also exhorted to "Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you." Jeremiah 7:23. Evidently God's people had a reputation for making great starts but not completing the course". [Pg. 64. Emphasis in original]

While it is certainly true that both the ancient Israelis [like many modern day Christians] did not complete the course, verse 23 in Jeremiah does not say "Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you.". Read it in conjunction with the next verse.

    but this thing I commanded them, saying, Hearken unto my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and walk ye in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. [Emphasis added. Jeremiah 7:23-24]

The verse means 'walk according to everything God has commanded'... The emphasis being on obedience to every one of His precepts. And as the next verse shows, the Israelites did not listen, but "walked in their own counsel".

She then gives two other examples

    Revelation 2:26 states, "Those that endure to the end will be saved." We get no points for having begun something if we do not complete it. Paul said, "I am racing for the finish line." Philippians 3:14

In her book Jesus CEO, Laurie Beth Jones stated [See Introduction above] that she wished to convey the "essence" of the message of Bible passages. However, this is not the case. She has so completely misquoted Bible verses that their meaning is completely different. Besides which quoting half a passage, or taking it completely out of context does not accurately convey the essence of the message.

    Revelation 2:26 does not say "Those that endure to the end will be saved." It says "He who overcomes (Gk. nikao) , and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations" Revelation 2:26 NASB]

    The Greek word nikao literally means to conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.

    Paul did not say "I am racing for the finish line". He said "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus". [Philippians 3:14 NASB]

Neither passage has anything to do with going the whole way in our day to day lives and careers, but strictly refer to believers who through faith and obedience, overcome conflicts in their Christian life, keeping themselves separate, and therefore undefiled by the world until the end of their lives or His return (whichever comes first). Overcomers, or those that keep the faith until the end, are rewarded for their obedience to the commands of the Lord.


JESUS, Career Counselor: How to Find (and Keep) Your Perfect Work in 2010
(Quotes from this book have been taken from Laurie Beth Jones. JESUS, Career Counselor: How to Find (and Keep) Your Perfect Work in 2010. Howard Books; 1st Edition edition (May 4, 2010))

Laurie Beth Jones' latest endeavor... is supposed to help readers find their ideal careers. This book has also been endorsed by Ken Blanchard, who describes it thus.. [Emphasis Added]

    Whenever your career is in transition or you simply find your work life less than fulfilling, Jesus Career Counselor will coach, counsel, and empower you to reach out for the career you really want. This book is more than an inspiration; it's a godsend. [Back Cover]

That Voice Behind You says....?
On page 6 Laurie Beth Jones quotes Isaiah 30:21, saying...

    You, too, may be on a career path that is winding and dipping and climbing-rather than plodding ahead on level ground. But as we discover more about yourself and the gifts God placed in you, you will see the wisdom in the journey. Hear God's words for you: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way: walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21)

The historical context of this chapter was Hezekiah's reign, during which the Jews were tempted to trust Egypt and look to them for help. The Jews were tempted to make an alliance with the Egyptians against a common enemy...The Assyrians. Isaiah denounced them for seeking Egypt's aid, and warned them that Egypt would be unable to help. This iniquity was portrayed as a wall that would fall on, and destroy them. [Vs. 13-14]. The prophet goes on to tell the nation that God had indicated to them the path of safety, but they chose not to follow it, and refused to put confidence in Him, instead of seeking the alliance with Egypt [Vs. 15-17]

But the Lord would still be gracious to them and answer them when they cried for help [Vs. 18-19]. He, as their teacher would not hide Himself from them but their ears would hear His instructions from behind them... "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. [Vs. 21] And they would destroy their idols and graven images [Vs. 22]

In short, this was a message to the Jews of a particular time, in a particular situation, and has absolutely nothing to do with a career path. But then, why concern ourselves with such small inaccuracies when people need to make inspired career decisions.


Twelve Dreams of the Holy Spirit?
On page 9 Laurie Beth Jones says that one day she asked herself "What might the Holy Spirit dream for us? She says she then got out a paper and pen and the words that flowed were

    "to rise, risk, roar, reflect, renew, restore, remain, return, regenerate, revive, release, rejoice. Just like that. Twelve of them. Dreams. Glimmering with mystery and promise."

She later began calling these "The Twelve Dreams of the Holy Spirit" And as she began to research and explore she "found that these twelve dreams flow through the pages of Scripture" and eventually "Those dreams became the framework for this book about careers." She goes on to say that she is convinced that

    Jesus doesn't dream for us a job description. Jesus dreams for us a way of living and being fruitful in the world. He wants us to rise and risk and roar, like the Fire he came to bring. He wants us to reflect, renew and restore, like the living Water he is. He wants us to remain, return and regenerate, like the Earth from which we are formed. And he also wants us to revive, release, and rejoice, like the Wind of the Holy Spirit. [Page 9]

I am not at all sure how to begin to answer this absolute crock. But, in the interests of brevity, all of the above is nothing but the results of an overactive imagination harnessed to draw in those that have absolutely no knowledge of the Scriptures and the purpose of Jesus' mission.

Laurie Beth Jones (and apparently Ken Blanchard) has missed the whole point of Jesus' mission to earth and that is to PROTECT YOU FROM THE WRATH OF GOD. When God demands your blood as punishment for YOUR sins you can tell Him (in a manner of speaking) that blood has already been spilled for those sins... Jesus' blood. [See The Wrath of God and Salvation]

Jesus' idea of being fruitful in the world is a little different from Laurie Beth Jones'. He, as the one shining light in the darkness of a fallen world, came to make the way for men to wend their way back to God. All who do believe in Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior are given the right to become children of God.

The Bible also makes it clear that the saved will also receive rewards in Heaven over and above forgiveness and eternal life, and that the level of reward will be based on works done here on earth. Apparently there are those that will make it to heaven, but who have earned little or no additional rewards. Some of the good works mentioned in Scripture which will be rewarded include

    perseverance under persecution (Luke 6:22-23),
    caring for the needy (Matthew 25:34-36),
    treating enemies kindly (Luke 6:35),
    prayer (Matthew 6:6),
    fasting (Matthew 6:18), and
    generous giving (Matthew 19:21).

Not surprisingly the Bible says nothing about a fulfilling successful career.

[See What and Where is Heaven? which includes The Judgment Seat of Christ and Rewards in Heaven


Rising Into Your "Giftedness"
Incidentally Jones says the word rise, which "is used more than 164 times in the Bible", is "the foundational premise of Christianity" and the "essence of everything Jesus, says, teaches, and does." However she equates this with rising into your "giftedness" as oppose to "trudging along in your career unable even to make eye contact with your boss..." or laboring in an uninspiring job, thinking that your lot in life is just to make enough to get by". [Pages 28-29]

There are about 100, very normal, occurrences of the word "rise" in the Old Testament, used in a great variety of senses. A mist rose from the earth [Genesis 2:6], prayers that the Lord would rise up and scatter His enemies [Numbers 10:35], getting out of bed in the morning [Deuteronomy 6:7], people rose up against other people [Psalm 44:5], The Lord rising upon people illuminated by the gospel, when darkness covers the rest of the earth [Isaiah 60:2] etc. etc. etc.

However, when we turn to the NT, the word "rise", used about 25 times, is usually translated from the Greek anistemi which, literally or figuratively, means to stand up, or arise. Of the 25 uses, a full 15 refer either to the resurrection of Christ or the resurrection of believers. [See List]

In other words, while it is true that rise is "the foundational premise of Christianity" as LBJ says, it has a very narrow application in the majority of cases ... Christ's resurrection or rising from the grave which, as anyone who has done more than go to the Bible to prove preconceived theories knows, is the hope of the Christian. Jesus was the first to be raised from the grave.. the first fruits. [See The Seven Feasts of Israel].

He will eventually be followed by all those that believe in Him and are His disciples. They will inherit eternal life safe from The Wrath of God

    and if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain. [1Corinthians 15:14]

    But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. [1Corinthians 15:20-22]


Why Jesus "Fired" People
As a final example of the sheer applesauce in this book, Jones writes on page 167

    While contemplating this book, it occurred to me that God only fired a few people. King Saul. Selfish shepherds. Scribes and Pharisees. Stiff necked people. Those are the ones who got the heavenly boot. And why? They refused to regenerate themselves into God-pleasing people. They refused to become new again in their hearts.

    They became neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and got spit right out (see Revelation 3:16)

    They lost their passion and became useless.

Saul, son of Kish, Israel's first king, was a case study in how not to behave. His rule was marked by four major steps in spiritual degeneration. In short (The following has been condensed from an article by Wayne Jackson of ChristianCourier.com

    1) Unauthorized Worship... After he anointed Saul as king, Samuel instructed the young ruler to travel to Gilgal; there he was to wait (seven days) for the prophet's arrival and the subsequent offering of sacrifices. Saul partially obeyed; he went to the appointed place, but he grew impatient when Samuel had not arrived on the seventh day. He thus offered the sacrifices himself (1 Samuel 13:8ff), and then proceeded to justify his transgression when the prophet presently arrived. In rejecting Samuel's charge, Saul had, in point of fact, disobeyed God (13:13)

    2) Failure to Destroy Amalek.. The Amalekites were long-standing enemies of Ixsrael, being distantly related by their ancestry in Esau (Genesis 36:12). They attacked Israel shortly after the exodus of the nation from Egypt, and their eventual destruction was foretold by Moses (Exodus 17:8-16). Saul was commanded to "utterly destroy" these heathen people, along with their livestock, but spared the king, Agag and the best of the livestock, causing Samuel to utter the famous words: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22).

    3) Obsessed by Jealousy.. After David achieved his heroic victory against Goliath, his fame spread throughout the territory. The women of Israel composed lyrics that cast Saul into the shadow of the shepherd lad. "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." The king was infuriated and "from that day and forward" he "eyed David" (1 Samuel 18:9). Later on, we are told that Saul became insane with jealousy. On several occasions, he sought to kill the young man directly (18:11; 19:10); at other times, his method was more devious (cf. 18:21,25). Finally, David was forced into a life of flight and hiding.

    4) Consulting the Necromancer... The crowning act of Saul's insolence was his consultation of the woman of Endor. Under Old Testament law, attempts to communicate with the dead were prohibited (Deuteronomy 18:10-11), and Saul had eradicated the land of most of these charlatans (1 Samuel 28:3). At the zenith of his apostasy, however, when God would no longer speak to him (v. 6), he travelled to Endor to consult with a "witch" (KJV) who reputedly had access to a "familiar spirit" (a medium). [31]

The reasons for going into such detail is to show that Saul was not replaced as king because he was one of those that "refused to regenerate themselves into God-pleasing people" and "refused to become new again in their hearts". Three of the four transgressions listed above were sins of disobedience.

Also, no one could accuse the Pharisees of being "neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm" and losing their passion. On the contrary at one time they were the most rigid defenders of Jewish traditions, even suffering martyrdom during the persecutions of Antiochus. [See Jesus and The Law]

But, of course, the 'Christian' Ken Blanchard, who speaks to thousands of other Christians in a 'teaching capacity' does not know any of this, or somehow missed this, and other, sections of the book.


Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork
Note: Quotes in this section have been taken from Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork. Three Rivers Press (June 22, 2004)

A Team Building Book?
The foreword was written by Ken Blanchard, in which he calls it "one of the best team building books" he has ever read. He goes on to say...

    "Reading this book will prepare you to be a team leader that excites, grounds, transforms, and releases your people to perform at higher levels than you or they ever dreamed possible. Thanks, Laurie Beth, for proving once again that Jesus is the greatest leader of all time, and wants to be our teacher. May we always remember, "if God be for us, who can be against us?".

Bob Buford wrote

    "Think of it. Whoever built a higher performing team than Jesus! Now Laurie Beth Jones makes this ancient wisdom accessible and useful to twenty-first-century leaders. Learn from the Master.Bob Buford, author of Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance and Stuck in Halftime: Reinvesting Your One and Only Life

Associating Jesus' life with our success as "team leaders" trivializes the Son of God's mission to humanity. It reduces the greatest act that of all time, to that of a common model for good business techniques.

I reiterate what I said earlier... the whole point of Jesus' mission to earth and that is to PROTECT YOU FROM THE WRATH OF GOD. When God demands your blood as punishment for YOUR sins you can tell Him (in a manner of speaking) that blood has already been spilled for those sins... Jesus' blood. [See The Wrath of God

He came to save your life, NOT to ensure you are a great team leader. [See Salvation]

Oh Yes! And let us please remember that the statement Paul made in Romans 8:31.. "If God is for us, who is against us?" is part of the culmination of a chapter that speaks of the confidence and assurance that Christians, who no longer have to fear judgment and condemnation, can have in Christ.


Meditation:
Laurie Beth Jones also endorses meditation. She says

    "I have always been challenged by the concept of meditation. After studying it and realizing that so much of my prayer is a one-way dialogue of directive conversation, I decided recently to accept the invitation of a friend to experience the sheer silence of meditation-undirected prayer. As I went below my "Hello, God," "Thank you, God" and "please, God" I found myself being able to be at peace, of peace. Without trying to go anywhere with it, or get anything out of it, I felt that my heart was beating at the same rate as God's.

    And I realized just a taste of what the saints and mystics and certainly Jesus must have experienced. I realized in those moments that I already had all the "results" I was seeking - the sense of unity with God."

    Goodness becomes the natural order of things when we go deep in Christ, when we enter the Holy of Holiness that is prayer. [32]

In the first place, God has never ever said, or even indicated, that we will achieve any kind of union with Him. Adoption as children... yes! Union ... No!

But it is interesting to note what Yogis see as the final stage of Yoga. Perhaps you will remember, "Patanjali" was mentioned in the section on Iyengar Yoga in Part I of this article. He (if we are even certain he was a person) expounded on the traditional eight limbs of yoga in his Yoga Sutras, which constitute the foundational text of Yoga. Note how Patanjali describes the eighth and final stage of ashtanga, which literally means "eight limbs". He called this stage samadhi or a state of ecstasy, and goes on to say [Emphasis Added]

    "At this stage, the meditator merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection to the Divine, an interconnectedness with all living things. With this realization comes the "peace that passeth all understanding"; the experience of bliss and being at one with the Universe" [33]

So if practitioners of yoga can achieve "a profound connection to the Divine", we are wasting our time with all this sin, repentance, Jesus dying on the cross stuff. We don't need to confess our sins, endeavor to live a righteous life, nor bother to wait for His second advent. All we have to do is pull out our little mats, learn how to meditate, and bingo! We have a much simpler path to union with God.

It seems to me that even someone with only half a brain would realize that it doesn't add up.

Although most westerners are under the impression that the sole purpose of Hatha Yoga, the form of yoga most commonly taught in the west, is to build a strong and flexible body. However, what we should never forget is that the sole purpose of yoga was to experience spiritual enlightenment... the bodily poses (asanas) simply " intended to be a preparation of the body for physical purification so that higher meditation could be performed". In fact Hatha Yoga is the first step to an awakened Kundalini. [See More About Kundalini on THIS Page

 

While Contemplative Prayer is widely accepted as Christian, Eastern religions such Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism and Occult/New Age devotees have long practiced an almost identical form of 'prayer' However, what they experience does not mean the same thing to every person, since what is considered sacred varies from group to group. The experience is therefore interpreted according to the beliefs and practices of the practitioner. Hindus believe they have union with the Hindu deities, or simply "the divine", the American Indian thinks he has contacted the Great Spirit, Muslim mystics perceive they have experienced some kind of ecstatic union with God, non-religious mystics believe they have become 'one with the "divine principle" (whatever the hell that is), and the Christian mystic believes he is receiving revelation from, or being united with, God.

The stumbling block here is that they cannot all be correct".

What is interesting is that there is no doubt that all these mystics, "Christian" or otherwise, share very similar experiences. Initially, the mystics were certainly not taken very seriously.. that is until science began conducting experiments of their own on what the psychic/ occult world had been saying for centuries... with some very interesting results. [See Contemplating The Alternative]


The Bigger Picture:
This chapter is about how "people function better in their specific tasks when they know the big picture of which they are part",  and how "one of the main reasons people under perform in their jobs is that they don't know "why" they are doing them in the first place". [Pages 3-5]

A concept that makes a great deal of sense.

However, LBJ seeks to bolster this idea by describing how Jesus saw the brothers Simon (Peter) and Andrew fishing and called them to follow Him with the promise that He would make them fishers of men. After they put their nets down and began to follow Him, Jones says Jesus "put his arms around them and began to show them the Big Picture, one day at a time". She adds ...

    Teambuilders inspire people to look up. Jesus did this with Simon Peter and his broth Andrew, as well as with all his other disciples and followers. By revealing the Bigger Picture, he turned work into cause." [Page 5]

Again, this is a serious misconception of what actually happened. The account of Jesus meeting Simon Peter and Andrew is found in the Gospels in Matthew 4:18-21 and Mark 1:16-19, both of which say the brothers "left their nets and followed Him". This is immediately followed by Jesus going a little further and extending the same invitation to another set of brothers.. James and John.

There is absolutely nothing in the accounts about Jesus showing anyone "the big picture".

In fact, even after the resurrection the disciples still believed that Jesus was about to set up His kingdom on earth. [They asked Jesus in Acts 1:6 whether He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time, which meant they did not realize the sheer breadth of His mission and that a long period of time would elapse before He returned. It wasn't until after the Holy Spirit came down on them at Pentecost that the disciples started getting the "big picture". However it took Peter's vision on the roof top in Joppa (related in Acts 10:9-16) for them to realized that God was going to extend salvation to the Gentiles as well as Jews.... the biggest picture of all.


The Scapegoat
I will close with one final example...

    Because the early Jews believed so strongly that the presence of unseen sin could affect the entire community in a negative way, they developed the concept of the scapegoat. ...Attractive as this approach may have seemed, it did not do the job. [Page 76]

Some believe that Azazel was the name given to the goat which was taken away into the wilderness on the day of Atonement since z means a she goat, and zal means to go away, hence to disappear. Others believe that the word "scapegoat" is a mistranslation and that Azazel was a demon or "angry god". While we cannot know for sure, what we do know is that the entire concept of a scapegoat was not "developed" by the early Jews, but were very explicit instructions given by God. Read Leviticus 16:1-10.

[Also See The Seven Feasts of Israel which celebrate a historical event in Israel's past, but are also a prophecy of future events, four of which have already come to pass].


Conclusion
Unfortunately, unbiblical, trivial, misleading, and dangerous books seem to be written on almost a daily basis, making it an impossible task to review even a small percentage of them.

Since time and space preclude an in-depth critique of Laurie Beth Jones' books, I can but hope I have thrown up enough red flags to cause the discerning reader to take a long hard look at Jones' belief system and her extraordinary knack for skewing the Scriptures to suit her own ends. The following comment, made by a reader (chilemery) from Santiago, Chile, on Amazon.com about Jones' 2010 book called Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork, certainly perfectly fits all three of them.. [All Emphasis Added]

    it seems to me that Jones first made the list of leadership qualities and practices that she wanted to write about and then bent over backwards to find an example from Jesus' life or teaching to fit the items on her list. Many of her examples are such a stretch or taken so far out of context so as to be an insult to the reader's intelligence.

    The author trivializes Jesus' profound teachings and exploits his servant example in order to write the book she wants, not necessarily to faithfully reflect on the kind of leader Jesus was or would endorse. [34]

The Gospel is the greatest story ever told, about the greatest person who has ever lived, who is making to men and women the greatest offer that has ever been made yet, as said above, the author trivializes and exploits mankind's only hope, and to what end? Her own skewed ideas of success. To say nothing of the money she has probably made from these books and numerous speaking engagements.
Yet thousands of Christians from all over the world wax enthusiastic about her books, either oblivious to, or completely unconcerned that, on page after page, they blatantly espouse a mixture of skewed Christianity and New Age spirituality. Jones' books, while claiming to be based on Jesus' leadership approach, are a study in misconceptions, misinterpretation and sheer baloney. In fact in bending over backwards to find examples from Jesus' life and teachings that fit the leadership qualities and practices that she wanted to write about, Jones has twisted the Scriptures out of all recognition.

Sadly even those who should know better... don't. For example a pastor from City of Grace church in Scottsdale, AZ gave Laurie Beth Jones the following glowing review.

    Judith and I spent six hours yesterday learning from one of the world's leading business consultants, Laurie Beth Jones and I can't begin to describe the energy that is flowing through my brain this morning! It's an amazing experience to see life through a new framework of understanding... and I think it's going to have a significant impact on our team building skills on every level at City of Grace. It was brilliant! And I've become her biggest fan. If you haven't read one of her books, buy one before sundown, and get with the program. Better yet, sign up for her next seminar on The Path Elements Profile. I'm presently immersed in The Four Elements of Success it and it's changing my outlook on leadership and life." (Pastor, Scottsdale, AZ) [35]

For anyone to take the Scriptures and bastardize them to the extent that this woman has done is sad. For a so called "Christian" to endorse this trivia is very distressing. But to know that hundreds of Christians are going to swallow this swill, hook, line and sinker, some after a recommendation from a pastor, is a tragedy of epic proportions.


Finally...Can We Cast Aside "Doctrine"
A blog dedicated to mission statements says the following "Laurie Beth Jones is author and founder of the Jesus, CEO Foundation. This is the foundation's mission statement". Part of this mission statement, which obviously came from Laurie Beth Jones' site, reads

    Members of the Jesus CEO Foundation embrace and support compassionate Christianity, which emphasizes relationship over religion. We refuse to be divided by doctrinal differences, and respect each individual's unique connection to God, which may or may not yet be fully realized. [36]

Which is pretty much what her site used to say

    "First, we must remember what unites us rather than what divides us, and cast aside doctrines and tribal beliefs the we're-better-than-you-stuff. We don't need to lose our traditions but we do need to gain the understanding that Jesus did not come to set up a new religion, but to teach us about the individual connections we each have with God." [37]

It is sad how clue-less people recommend casting aside "doctrine", thus gaining the support of those equally misinformed who have, somehow, come to the conclusion that the word 'doctrine" means suffocating laws intended to control every aspect of a person's life.

This is far from the truth. The word "doctrine" comes from from the Latin doctrina, which simply means instruction or teaching. In short, doctrine is that which is believed and taught. Biblical doctrine is what the Bible teaches, while church doctrine is what the church teaches (The two not being necessarily synonymous). The one thing we cannot do is cast aside what the Bible teaches. Nor can we afford to

See Theology and Doctrine
In part, thanks to apostate, so called "Christian" leaders, all too many Christians seem to be under the impression that "theology" and "doctrine" are of minimal importance. They are not only widely misunderstood, but brushed aside by Christians, some of whom believe that theology and doctrine have little relevance to their religious life and practice. Other seem to think that these five dollar words are best left to those who have spent years poring over dusty tomes, or spent at least a year or two in in the halls of academia, and have a string of letters after their names. Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains. The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith


Or "Refuse To Be Divided By Doctrinal Differences"
Laurie Beth Jones, and others like her, in this post modern age profess  "tolerance" that rejects all religious absolutes. However, the Bible is the Word of a less than politically correct God. Whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not... the Bible's instructions on how to deal with those who teach and practice false doctrine in the church are very explicit. It is a two step process. The heresy has to be actively confronted and, if not repented of, has to be shunned.

Christians are commanded to separate themselves from those who teach and practice false doctrine. Don't believe me? You have read this verse haven't you?

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

And there are many more like it. In fact, read for yourself what the Bible has to say and do not let any "best selling author" tell you any different. Fraternizing With The Enemy

 

Review of Laurie Beth Jones' Four [Pagan] Elements of Success
By Bob DeWaay

Please Note: Each coloured link within the article will lead you to a related topic on a different page of this site. However while the text is part of the original article, the links are not. The author of this article may or may not agree with the views expressed on those pages, or necessarily anything else on this site..

Modern evangelicalism has a voracious appetite for self-discovery. Various approaches to discovering one's temperament have played a prominent role in this. In the 70's and 80's the ancient Greek terminology of Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy, were used to describe temperaments in a series of popular Christian books. When I was in seminary, Gary Smalley was brought in to present his version of temperaments: Otter, Lion, Golden Retriever, and Beaver. Recently, Rick Warren introduced his S.H.A.P.E. program for self-discovery which uses the Myers Briggs indicator for the "P" part of the program. If these approaches are not enough to satisfy our urges for self-discovery, there are always D.E.S.A, DiSC, and even Charlie Brown characters.

Now, Laurie Beth Jones enters the market promoting yet another version of temperament study: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. Using these ancient pagan categories, she has developed her Path Elements Profile (PEP) and sells the program to businesses. She claims, "Insights surrounding PEP have helped save marriages, unite families, discern career directions, and select everything from jobs to spouses." (from her book The Four Elements of Success). Starting from the assumption that the pagan idea of the four elements (shared by ancient Chinese philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Astrology) can accurately describe one's temperament, she promises, "Understanding and utilizing this personality profile tool will revolutionize your understanding of who you are and help you clarify why you do the things you do." What is the outcome if this type of self-discovery? "With your new knowledge of the four elements, you will also have keen insights into the needs and values of others and thus be more persuasive when it comes to getting your own needs met."

Jones claims to have invented this system, not because the others were not valid, but that they were too hard to remember. She says, "Recognizing the importance of self-image, I decided to use the four elements of earth, water, wind, and fire to help people in their self-identity process." It seems that there is an insatiable hunger for more self-identity that fuels the sales of ever multiplying temperament theories and indicators. This is not surprising in the world since the worldly minded, because of the sin nature, are obsessed with SELF. But didn't Jesus tell His disciples to deny self?

Jones does provide a Biblical basis for her approach: "Jesus referred to Himself as 'living water.' In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is described as being 'wind' or 'fire.' Adam literally means 'made from clay.'" So there you have it, water, wind, fire and earth are all found in the Bible, used to describe God and man. Of course there is the problem of authorial intent. Actually Jesus offered to give "living water" and did not technically call Himself that. But laying that aside, this type of interpretation is nothing more than random association. Jones' claim is that there are four personality types or temperaments, and that these can be accurately described by four "elements." That Adam means "earth" because God gave him that name (because of where he came from) has no relationship to a modern personality theory. Likewise, that fire is used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit has no relationship to distinctive human personalities or temperaments. If we take her use of Scripture to be valid, then any theory whatsoever could be "proved" by merely finding a word in the Bible that matches a word that describes our own man-made theory.

But, to further gain credibility, she adduces other religions: Native American religion, Chinese feng shui, and Hinduism are cited as evidence that the four elements (by the way, these are not really "elements" other than in pagan superstition) are significant. Jones even cites ideas from the mystical Kabbalah: "The Kabbalahl, a form of Jewish mysticism, reveals that the four symbols representing the Hebrew YHWH, or Yahweh, actually are a tetragrammaton that stands for the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire." No the Kabbalah does not "reveal" the meaning of God's name because it does not contain God's revelation, it contains false religious ideas of men. Finally she cites occultist Carl Jung as the modern source of temperament theory (which he is).

Jones admits that some Christian friends told her that her ideas sounded New Age, and that others pointed out that these elements are related to astrological signs. She simply says that for the purpose of her book the elements have nothing to do with astrology. She offers this disclaimer:

    "I remain firmly rooted in my Christian faith and tradition, and I believe that the elements are fascinating reflections of the different characteristics of God, the Creator, yet have no separate divine power in and of themselves."

The rest of the book consists of processes to discover one's element (or more accurately combination of elements) and then gain tools to use these to become successful. It includes personal "meditations" for the benefit of readers who have now discovered their element. For example: "I am Earth. I give soil and substance to support those around me. I support and protect all living things. . . I am sure. I am steady. I am Firm." It is not shocking that the world loves this material. But clearly it is not Christian. Yet TBN recently (July 6th, 2006) interviewed Jones and told the audience about her other book Jesus CEO and how to get her books. There is nothing wrong with businesses doing studies on people's differences and personalities if they think it will help their business. But why is the church importing this material, especially a version of it that has such pagan roots?

Her theory and others like it have no relationship to the gospel or sanctification. At the best they are a huge side-track for churches that adopt them because they engage people in studying self rather than denying self and serving Christ. At the worst they are pagan and opposed to the gospel. Since Jones herself admits the pagan roots of her system, it is not hard to discern that her process is not Biblical.

We do not need to discover self; we need to serve God and others by His grace. Peter wrote: "Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God" (1 Peter 1:22). For those who have been born of God, obedience to the truth changes lives. God has revealed the means of grace whereby Christians grow in sanctification.

Pagan element theories have no power to conform us to the image of Christ. Paul said,

    "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?" (Galatians 4:9)

Paul gives further reason to not waste our time studying "self" in hopes of achieving success:

    "He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh" (2Corinthians 5:15, 16a).

Jones' elements theory is not compatible with serving the resurrected Christ in newness of life.

 

Footnote III

1. [Matthew 27:63 NASB]  and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.'

2. [Mark 8:31 NASB]  And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

3. [Mark 9:31 NASB]  For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later."

4. [Mark 10:34 NASB] "They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again."

5. [Mark 12:23 NASB] "In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her."

6. [Mark 12:25 NASB] "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

7. [Mark 12:26 NASB] "But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob'?

8. [Luke 18:33 NASB] and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again."

9. [Luke 24:7 NASB]  saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."

10. [Luke 24:46 NASB]  and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,

11. [John 11:23 NASB]  Jesus *said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

12. [John 11:24 NASB]  Martha *said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."

13. [John 20:9 NASB] For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

14. [Acts 17:3 NASB] explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."

15. [1 Thessalonians 4:16 NASB]  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. [PLACE IN TEXT]


End Notes

[25] http://www.eastbook.com/JesusCEO.html Link is now obsolete

[26] Jesus, CEO. http://www.lauriebethjones.com/store/Jesus-CEO.htm

[27] History of Nazareth. http://www.inisrael.com/news/?p=841

[28] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/end+run

[29] Bob Deffinbaugh. The Rejection of Israel's Messiah - Part III (Luke 23:26-49)
https://bible.org/seriespage/rejection-israels-messiah-part-iii-luke-2326-49

[30] Bob Deffinbaugh. The Rejection of Israel's Messiah - Part IV (Luke 23:26-49)
https://bible.org/seriespage/rejection-israels-messiah-part-iv-luke-2326-49

[31] Wayne Jackson. King Saul A Case Study in Apostasy.
http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/921-king-saul-a-case-study-in-apostasy

[32] Laurie Beth Jones, Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork, Three Rivers Press (June 22, 2004) Page 142-143

[33] Mara Carrico. The Eight Limbs Patanjali's eight-fold path offers guidelines for a meaningful and purposeful life.
http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/158

[34] http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Team-Fish-Inspired/product-reviews/1400053110/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0

[35] http://www.lauriebethjones.com/store/product.php?productid=16170&cat=266&page=1

[36] http://manonamission.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_archive.html

[37] Laurie Beth Jones Biography, Q & A with Laurie Beth Jones, under What do you see as the major challenges to the Christian faith?. [http://www.jesusceo.com/profile/index.html. URL is now obsolete

666-2-Back

Laurie Beth Jones Part I

www.inplainsite.org