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Category Archives: Friends on Fire

Friends of Tuesdays Torch who are on fire for the Lord

Blog from March 6, 2016

By: Cindy Lundhagen

09/24/18

(A continuation from 5 March) So there I was sometime in the summer of 2014 linked into a church via the internet…sporadically listening into a random podcast…and I was finding myself engrossed in the story. Then I started listening in from the beginning of what they called a “series”. That summer, I don’t recall what the specific topic was supposed to be, but it was all about history in distant lands and I remember being so frustrated that I couldn’t see the maps the pastor kept referencing. And I went back to all the archived podcasts and I began listening to them too…until I was caught up with everything out there. And I found myself patiently…and then not so patiently…waiting for the next Sunday’s sermon to be posted. I wasn’t able to connect all the dots or always completely follow the story line…but the message was clear. The Jesus (or God) being discussed was the same one I recognized and was beginning to know more fully…a loving, merciful, almighty God. If I knew anything at all about God at this point, Psalm 59:10 described it – “In His unfailing love, my God, will stand with me”.

But it seemed God didn’t want me standing still. I got this overwhelming feeling that listening to podcasts, reading His story and praying were good…but they weren’t enough. God wanted more. But I didn’t. Like I said I can be an incredible rebel (I almost like the way that sounds) and I flat out did not want to go to this church or any church. All I can say is that God would not let me off that easily and an internal battle was being waged. In the end, it was again my sense of owing God my everything that finally propelled me. By this time it was nearing Christmas 2014. I decided I would go once…for God…but I would wait until after the Christmas season. If I was going to experience this church in person I wanted to do it on “any given Sunday” not when things would be garnished up for Christmas. So I waited until the first Sunday in January 2015.

This is going to sound crazy…but going to church that day was one of the most courageous things I’ve ever done. I was doing something I absolutely did not want to do and something that I did not have to do…but I did it because of my love for the God that I knew loved me. And there was no doubt in my mind that he was pointing me in that direction. So part of the puzzle seemed to be solved…”The Lord is my shepherd”…I was to follow His lead. But that did not make it easy. I sat in my car in the parking lot of the church…frozen and scared. I was scared that I wouldn’t know what to do when I got in there…especially if there were rules or rituals I knew nothing about. I was scared that it wouldn’t be what I so very much wanted it to be. But mostly I was scared that somehow I would be wrong about what God wanted. That would be the worst. I could not be wrong about God…I NEEDED desperately to trust in Him because I was going forward purely on faith…and my faith could not fail me now.

So I mustered up all I had left and asked God to go with me and then we moved.

Until the next continuation…

Cindy Lundhagen — Summerville, SC

 
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Posted by on 09/24/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

II: THE IDENTIFICATION OF CHRIST WITH US

SEVEN FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CROSS

TWO: THE WORK OF THE CROSS

II: THE IDENTIFICATION OF CHRIST WITH US

By: Brother Cliff

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary in fulfillment of the Edenic prophecy: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed….” Though Joseph was entrusted with raising up Jesus as his child, God was His Father. Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the Holy Seed: Christ the Living Word. Though Mary clothed the Word with human flesh, the Blood formed in the developing Christ-child in the womb was from the Seed of the Father.

The body of Jesus Christ was fully human; as concerning His flesh. It was no different than the flesh of any man or woman ever descended from Adam and Eve. And yet, the Blood flowing within the veins of His body, was and ever is, the very Blood of God!

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

 

 
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Posted by on 09/07/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

Blog from March 5, 2016

09/03/18

By: Cindy Lundhagen

(A continuation from 3 March) So here I was left wondering why God was reaching out to me. Wondering what, if anything, I was to make of “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. I had no clue so I asked God to show me. It wasn’t like I was asking Him to prove Himself to me (He already had). I was simply asking Him to help me figure it out. Knowing myself, as the idiot I mostly am, I might have it all right there in front of me and still miss it. So I asked Him to make it obvious. If there was something God wanted from me, I just needed clarity and I would do it… Then I went back to my normal life routine but with a new willingness to be open to possibilities. And I continued with my commitment of reading God’s story…though now I was hungry for more…and sometimes read two chapters per day.

Approximately six months later, I was driving my daughter and her friends to Ashley Ridge High School in the morning as usual…when I noticed a billboard. The billboard simply read “Ashley Ridge Church” and pretty much nothing else…at least that I can recall. It was a simple message and I’m all about simplicity. For the next several weeks as I drove the kids to school I felt like I was being pulled towards this billboard. It just would not leave me alone…and frankly it was becoming annoying. Maybe, just maybe, this was supposed to be something. If so, God didn’t just give me a sign…He made it big and simple (for the idiot)…and apparently with magnetism…so I wouldn’t, couldn’t miss it. Looking back, I know now that my God (and yours) has a great sense of humor. Or maybe He just knew that I truly am such an idiot that a billboard was deemed necessary…whichever and whatever…it really matters not…at this point.

Anyway, I finally couldn’t take it anymore so I decided to look up this Ashley Ridge Church on the internet in an attempt to put it all behind me (to find closure with the darn billboard so I could drive past it in peace). As I am sure I alluded to before, I had absolutely no desire or interest in going to a church. I hadn’t been inside a church for anything other than official events (weddings, funerals, etc) since before my parents got divorced…when I was pretty young…and now I was pretty old. I thought there is no way I am going to get all dressed up on Sunday mornings to go sit with a bunch of church people who probably won’t accept someone like me…with my track record and issues. I didn’t want to listen to some preacher lecture me on the wrong doings of my life and my need “to get right with God” and my likely destination of the fiery abyss. My older sister joined a convent (for a time) and became a nun after leaving home. In my mind she simply left one form of prison for another. I could not discern where church might be of any value. I wanted NOTHING to do with church.

But I owed an immense debt of gratitude to God, so on the off-chance that He was trying to show me something, I would at least investigate. And I was surprised by my initial findings. The website said the church was relatively new and the service was currently being held in the high school. It said “come as you are”. The things conveyed as their vision and core values did not offend me but rather resonated with me: (1) We need God (2) We need each other (3) The world needs us…and life is just done BetterTogether (though I think this piece actually came about a little later). And then I found the podcasts of the sermons. I randomly clicked on one and listened. I was captivated…and eventually moved (remember I am stubborn and rebellious by nature)…

More to come with the next continuation…

Cindy Lundhagen — Summerville, SC

 
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Posted by on 09/03/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

ATONEMENT – at/one/ment [EXCHANGE]

SEVEN FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CROSS

TWO: THE WORK OF THE CROSS

I: ATONEMENT – at/one/ment [EXCHANGE]

By: Brother Cliff

Every sinner is both responsible and accountable before God for their sin. All are guilty. All are condemned to die; as God in righteous judgment has decreed. A condemned man cannot die in the place of another condemned man so that the other sinner may go free. Each must suffer the Divine penalty for their own sin. Only a sinless man could ever take the place of another and die as the penalty for their sin, that the guilty one might go free. But all from Adam have sinned. And all are selfish. So, who could qualify to save the sinner? And if there ever was a sinless one who could die as a an acceptable substitute before God; why would they die bearing the eternal punishment due the sin of others?

Only God, Who is Holy, could.

Only God, Who is Love, would. And did!

Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

For it is the blood that maketh atonement… 

There are two major themes of the Atonement of Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race. They are the identification of Jesus Christ with fallen mankind, and the substitution of Jesus Christ for fallen mankind. In order to take our place and die our death, He must be one of us; yet, without sin. He was. He did. 

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Brother Cliff — Fort Mill, SC

 
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Posted by on 08/24/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

Blog from March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

08/20/18

By: Cindy Lundhagen

(A continuation from 25 Feb) So I had made a conscious decision to really try to get to know God…by starting with reading His story. But first I needed to get a Bible. Little did I know…there appeared to be all sorts of Bibles. What the heck? So I just picked the first one…the King James Version (in hindsight…if you’ve never read the Bible before…heed my advice and don’t pick the KJV on your first go of it). But I was invested…so I began. It was a bit of a slug fest at first…getting used to the language style and the genealogy (I mean…really…who is this guy Methuselah who gets to live 969 years…apparently our life expectancy has really shrunk…or they measured differently…but I digress). The story got intriguing very quickly, I was enthralled and I stayed with it…one chapter a day.

Then on the night of August 12, 2013 I started having severe abdominal pain that got progressively worse. It became nearly unbearable so I told Corey we were going to the Emergency room. It was diagnosed as a ruptured appendix and I was told I needed emergency surgery as soon as they could get the “on call” surgeon on site. I didn’t have much time to think…just got busy trying to make arrangements for someone to come get Corey in the middle of the night. Then my immediate instinct was to pray. Once again I turned to God. I first pleaded for Him to take care of me because my daughter still needed her mom and she was my everything. But then I changed my request to one of surrender to God’s will and that I trusted Corey in His care no matter what. She was His before she was ever mine after all. An incredible sense of calm and peace washed over me. I went into the operating room with absolutely no fear and no worry.

As I was coming awake from the anesthesia, something very strange happened. I had these words running through my head: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. They were words that didn’t mean anything to me at the time but they kept a running loop going on in my head…sorta like when you get a song stuck in your head that you can’t get out. I finally pushed it to the back of my mind and tried to forget it. Many months later I was told these words were the first verse of Psalm 23…which I had read approximately one week before surgery.

I went home from the hospital the next day and went to resume my daily Bible reading. Where I had left off was Psalm 30 which contains this as verse 2: “Lord, my God, I called to you for help and you healed me”. I was stunned. This was exactly what had just happened. I had cried out to Him and He had gotten me through the surgery to remove what the doctor called a life threatening, very necrotic ruptured appendix. I could not simply reconcile this as chance or coincidence. I was on page 525 of the Bible and had, to date, read 507 chapters (yes I counted them) and literally thousands of verses involving all kinds of things. What were the odds that I would read this particular verse right then? If I were a gambler, I wouldn’t take that bet. I am convinced to this day that I had just gotten a direct message from God (before you say it…I started to think I was a little crazy too…but it gets even better and I am so convicted that this was an under-rated miracle).

So then that took me back to the verse running through my head at the hospital…the whole “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” thing. Was that supposed to mean something to me as well? You will see in the next continuation…

Cindy Lundhagen — Summerville

 
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Posted by on 08/20/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

Blog from February 25, 2016

February 25, 2016

07/30/18

By: Cindy Lundhagen

(A continuation from Monday) – I’ve decided to go ahead of the normal broadcast schedule since I’ve gotten most of the hardest stuff out there and I’m emotionally ready. First, I want to say thanks for all the comments of support. But, above all else, I want to make sure you didn’t miss the point. I had no strength and resiliency left. I couldn’t do it on my own. It was only in my weakness that I turned to God. It was only His strength, His love, His mercy and His grace that allowed me to keep battling.

1 John 4:16 – “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them”. Looking back, I cling to this verse as an explanation as to what God had just done in my life. He had given me new life…literally and figuratively. He gave me a second chance with my own life simply because of the love He had for me and He gave me a new life with whom I could experience the beauty and joy of unconditional love for the first time. My daughter, Corey, is WITHOUT DOUBT, an absolute gift from God.

So my life changed…almost overnight. I asked God’s forgiveness for all I had done and hadn’t done. And sheerly through undeserved grace, I felt I could lift my head just a little. I quit all my previous behaviors and started to live life solely dedicated to loving and providing for the extraordinary baby girl whom God blessed me … And I was so, so, so, so, so, so very grateful. Words cannot express… God, now, more than ever before fully had my heart.

So my daughter and I lived a life with the “to be expected” struggles that come to a single parent…but also with incredible love and happiness. Then in the summer of 2012, my younger sister and her husband at the time came to visit. At the end of their stay, they wanted to have a “talk” with Corey and I. They proceeded to tell us that they had found religion and church, that they were worried about us…that if we didn’t hurry and “get right” with God that we wouldn’t be going to heaven but rather to hell. I got very angry and shut down the conversation because (1) they knew nothing about my faith and experience with God (2) in my mind, I was already “right with” God, (3) they should never have forced this talk in front of my 13 year old daughter and (4) only God is in the business of deciding… I put my trust in Him.

My daughter was the cooler head at the time and the wiser of the two of us. She said I shouldn’t have gotten so angry…we could have politely listened. Some great role model I was… But her words made me pause. It made me stop and really think for the first time about some very serious things. Being brutally honest, how was my relationship with God? I realized it had mostly been one-sided…with me always turning to God in my need…asking for His help, His love, His forgiveness. Always asking, asking, asking…for something. What had I put into the relationship? How well did I even know God? So I committed then and there that I wanted this to be a two-way relationship…and I had a lot of catching up to do. I decided I would start by reading God’s story.

So I began to read the Bible every morning…a chapter a day with my morning coffee…just like medicine. And the story was captivating… Next time I’ll share some of the under-rated miracles that began to happen in my life. You will be amazed!

Cindy Lundhagen — Summerville, SC

 
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Posted by on 07/30/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

The Problem of Eternity

SEVEN FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CROSS

ONE: THE NECESSITY OF THE CROSS

IV: The Problem of Eternity: Forgiveness!

By: Brother Cliff

God, Who is Holy, must deal righteously with that which is unholy: sin and its fruit, at its source which is mankind. The Holy God must put away sin and its fruit; both of which are unholy, by cutting off and putting away their source. Therefore, He must cut off and put away through death, mankind. In this lay the crisis of Eternity for God, because God Who is Holy is also God Who is Love.

In the measured wrath of righteous judgment, His Holiness demanded death to sinful mankind. In the passionate mercy of His Fatherly heart, His love demanded an acceptable, sacrificial Substitute!

Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 

Only the eternally pure, sinless, and Holy Lamb; once and forever for all mankind, would be accepted by the Father and then sacrificed in substitutional identification as the sin of the world.

The wrath of His righteous judgment toward both sin and sinner was satisfied, in that is was fully poured out upon His Son. All that mankind might be before Him in Love, Holy, and unblamable in His sight; accepted in the Beloved.

Behold! The Holy One of Israel, given by the Father for: the propitiation of our sin, our redemption from sin, our justification before Him, and our reconciliation to Him; all and forever only, through the Atonement of the Cross.

II Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Brother Cliff — Fort Mill, SC

 
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Posted by on 07/25/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

Blog from February 22, 2016

February 22, 2016

07/16/18

By: Cindy Lundhagen

(A continuation from Monday) – warning…this covers a period of separation (from God that is) and you probably won’t like me much after reading this one (I’ll have to accept that risk and if necessary pay that price). It will be worth it if, in the end, you understand that this period illustrates that God never leaves. He is patient. He is faithful. And He is full of all-consuming love, mercy and amazing grace.

After graduating high school, I found my ticket out with an Air Force ROTC scholarship to Louisiana Tech University. I thought I could simply run away from my past and everyone in it. But I brought along a ton of baggage…more than I could carry. The way I survived my childhood was all about self preservation…fight when possible, flight when necessary and avoidance at all costs. The costs were devastating to both my sisters. My older sister endured some horrific things; my guilt lies in not saying or doing anything to save her. I left home when my younger sister was only 13 knowing full well the fate that could await her. They are both deeply troubled today. Psychologists would call it “Survivor’s Guilt”; I call it a personal hell you carry in your soul.

Don’t let anyone tell you that physical and emotional scars don’t hurt. Scars are surface repairs that simply try to bind; the healing has to occur down below the surface where the actual wound (aka pain) is found. If you don’t heal there…the scars will hurt. My scars were still hurting. I began to struggle with PTSD…nightmares and fits of pure rage over minor incidents most people would blow off. I confided in and loved someone for the first time…only to be devastated when I couldn’t be what that person wanted me to be. The relationship fizzled and eventually died. I vowed to never allow myself to be hurt again…by anything. I built a fortress to protect…from all things.

Graduated college and got assigned to Charleston Air Force Base. Finally freedom and money. But my issues followed me once more. Managed my life in ship tight compartments (or so I thought)…doing extremely well professionally and not so great personally. I didn’t know how to love and trust…so I didn’t. I got involved in lots of relationships where love and trust were not requirements. I discovered I could get physical satisfaction without emotional attachment…with virtually anyone I wanted whenever I wanted…so I did. I broke hearts and I broke marriages. Eventually…it all broke me. It was like I was emotionally vulnerable and emotionally dead at the same time. The turning point was when a man left his young child home alone to come see me. Potential harm to a child was a line I dared not cross. The thing was I didn’t know how to get out of my mess. I wanted to kill myself but I didn’t want to die. Yet again I had no where else to turn…except back to God. I begged him to either help me to end my life or to save it. I poured my heart out to Him that night; completely surrendered everything and left it all in His hands. At the end of the night I was still there and had reconnected with God in such an incredibly intense and powerful way. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant. And I thanked God for saving us both…

The good stuff starts next Monday.

Cindy Lundhagen — Summerville, SC

 
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Posted by on 07/16/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

Blog from February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016

04/09/18

By: Cindy Lundhagen

As forewarned or promised…stepping forward boldly or doing something perceived as incredibly stupid…here I go. You see I don’t believe Jesus wants me to be silent about the glorious things He has done for me, what He is currently doing within me or how He wants to use me now or in the future. I think He wants me to sing out His praises…so that is what I intend to do. Sharing my story strengthens my faith and I hope it will yours as well or perhaps lead you or someone you know in His direction again…or for the first time. Jesus has helped heal deep wounds, has brought me peace and a promise of eternal salvation…which is the crux of my end message to you. I have no secrets anymore… Know that I am willing to talk to anyone at anytime about anything if it could help you.

So let’s begin. I started out in a “normal” family until 2nd grade…father, mother, older sister (2 yrs) and younger sister (5 yrs). We went off and on to a Catholic church of which I remember very little; I had a basic concept of God and prayer and that’s it. My mom began an affair, parents got divorced, and my mom remarried with custody of us kids. It didn’t take long to realize my world had been upended. Through the rest of my childhood, I experienced periods of poverty, sexual and physical abuse, and neglect. I was exposed to violence, alcoholism, abandonment and isolation, the death and destruction of things I loved, the attempted suicide of my mom and a host of other “really bad stuff” not imaginable to most kids. Though for me, the worst was feeling unwanted and unloved.

But let me tell you about God during this period. He was always, always there. He was a constant reassuring presence in the midst of a storm of chaos. He got me through many lonely days and terrifying nights. And I learned to pray…really just to talk to God when I had no one else.

Since I’ve read the Bible in the last few years, I often turn to John 6:16-21 when facing fear and circumstances outside of my control. In it Jesus walked on water in a stormy sea and his disciples were “terrified”. His answer to their terror is subtly profound, and important to grasp — he doesn’t explain himself; he simply reveals himself. “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”. Our assurance that everything will be OK has everything to do with the presence of Jesus in the midst of our fear. And more than quelling our fear, He invites us to walk directly into the fear, knowing that He is always with us, we are never alone and we are loved beyond belief by a mighty, mighty power that NOTHING can overcome.

Hang in there with me for a little more of my history…you’ll see the depths He has pulled me from and the lengths He went to…and then things will get interesting. Until next Monday…

Cindy Lundhagen – Summerville, SC

 
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Posted by on 07/09/2018 in Friends on Fire

 

THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF FALLEN MAN

SEVEN FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CROSS

ONE: THE NECESSITY OF THE CROSS

III. THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF FALLEN MAN

By: Brother Cliff

The nature and character of fallen man: the horror and depravity of sin.

Sin: deceived, selfish, lust, rebellious, pride, fear, guilt and shame.

Death: darkness, chaos, lies, anger, abortion, theft, war, disease.

Fallen man is deceived by sin. He is selfishly rebellious, prideful in lust, and driven by fear, anger, guilt and shame. He dwells in confusion and chaos; ever bound by lies. Sinful man is the prisoner of Satan.

Hopelessly captive; the servant of sin fuels and promotes death and the kingdom of darkness every day of their life.

1Jn 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Fallen man:

deceived/wicked

selfish/lust

prideful/rebellious

fearful/guilty

shame/darkness

chaos

lies

anger

abortion

death

theft

war

disease

Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Nature of God                        vs                     Nature of Fallen Man

Holy/Love                                                       deceived/wicked

Different/Self-giving                                      selfish/lust

Good/Severe                                                   prideful/rebellious

Righteous                                                        fearful/guilty

Wisdom                                                           shame/darkness

Just                                                                  chaos

Jealous                                                             lies

Fire/Light                                                        anger

Way/Truth/Life                                               abortion

Mercy                                                              death

Grace                                                               war

Patient/Kind                                                    disease

Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Brother Cliff — Fort Mill, SC

 
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Posted by on 07/05/2018 in Friends on Fire