What if: Ye are gods?

10 Mar

Someone asked me this question:

If someone in explaining our co-heir status with Christ and children of God used the term “little gods”, but qualified it by stating that apart from Jesus we are nothing, would you say it was okay?  If not, can you explain?

Good question…  let’s take a stab at it.

For the easy part of the question “apart from Jesus we are nothing”… the answer is, Yes!   Jesus said, “I can do nothing apart from my Father.” – John 5:30 and other similar verses.  We have “no good thing” (Romans 7:18) in us apart from Christ.  And “the wages of sin is death”.  So I’m toast without Him.

Now the rest is going to be a wild ride and potentially messy… and there is sure to be kickback from this subject.  But let’s dive in, anyway.  🙂

Mormons believe that after we die we become gods and procreate other gods… eventually ruling over other worlds, etc.  (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-23 and Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.48)   That’s a stretch for me.

Even though I don’t intend to validate the Mormon persuasion, there are some verses in the Bible that give some latitude in that direction.  For instance Paul says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” –  I Cor 6:3   (I just wish there was even a morsel more to help us understand this!!)

So let’s start with some Scripture to stir things up!  Does the Bible say anything about us being gods?  In the beginning… remember, we were made in the likeness and image of God.  

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule…” – Gen 1:26

In the Old Covenant, Adam’s sin robbed us of our ability to see our true identity.  We “fell” a long way.  But then in the New Covenant, our original identity is revealed and offered to us, through the righteousness of Jesus.  We’re asked to believe, by faith, that we were “raised” back up to our original place of being seated with Christ.

“For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.” – Rms 8:20

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – II Cor 3:18

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Rms 12:2

So how do we get there……..?????  Our minds have to be renewed!

And Daniel says, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.” – Dan 7:27

Looks like we end up having a great deal of authority and rulership… even “sovereignty” over angels and kingdoms, etc.

Wow!  This is heady stuff.  Something that most religious saintlets are not capable of handling wisely… because we’re either  1)  too insecure in our own identity and position of favor in God to even acknowledge it… so we just choose to ignore it… or worse yet, disbelieve it.  Or we’re  2) too arrogant, self-centered and shallow in our relationship with God and so we grasp for authority and power which ends up shipwrecking us.

Neither of those options is good.  But at the same time, neither of those responses negate the truth of the previous verses.

But here’s the kicker when it comes to your specific question regarding ‘little gods’… the Holy Bible actually calls us gods.

“I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” – Psa 82:6

Did we hear that correctly?  Did the Psalmist just call us gods?  Yes!!  But it gets even more ‘troublesome’ when Jesus quotes this same verse to the Pharisees:

The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?  “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? – John 10:34-36

As we can see, this causes a lot of consternation to the religious mind.   None of us wants to call ourselves gods.  But Jesus called us gods!  And he even used it as a ‘courtroom’ tactic to rebuttal the religious theologians of His day.  He quoted their own theology back to them.  And notice, He says, “Scripture cannot be broken”… in other words when the Psalmist said we are gods, then it’s true!

I am confident that our status in God is SO MUCH MORE than we can even come close to comprehending right now.  Our sin consciousness has compromised our ability to think and see clearly.  God sees us as sovereign rulers over all the kingdoms under all the heavens (Dan 7).  He sees us as capable… or at least destined… to judge angels (I Cor 6).  He calls us gods… not so we will get a big head or arrogant… or start wars with it.  He wants us to feel the invitation into freedom from our earth-bound and sin-conscious false identity… He wants us to come into our true identity… this true identity which will satisfy Creation’s groan.

“All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are.” – Rms 8:19

New Century Version (NCV) says it this way; “Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.”  Sadly, Creation knows more about us than we do.  Creation can hardly wait until we’ve discovered that we are the rightful authorities to adjudicate righteousness in the earth.  Creation will breathe so much easier when we exercise our righteous sovereignty over all the earth.  And it can hardly wait for God to unveil our stunning glory to us and to the world.

Then Jesus further ‘compounds our problems’ of trying to come to terms with this ‘god-likeness’ subject, when he said,

“May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.  I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.” – John 17:21-22

Whoa, Jesus!!!  You want us to be homogenized into oneness with You just as You and Father are homogenized as one??  That’s HUGE!!!  And You say that You’ve given us the same glory that Father gave You?  Wow!!!  You must really see something in us that we can’t see with our current religious lens!!

Now listen to Paul in II Cor 6:13, “Be not unequally yoked.”   Now if humans are supposed to only marry equals, then wouldn’t it be a matter of God’s integrity that He would require Jesus to only marry someone who is equal to Him?  Hmmm… think on that.

Then Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, states in Eph 1 and 3 that he wants us to “be filled with ALL the fullness of God”.  O my!!!  That just about blows a fuse in my brain!!

“… now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” – I John 3:2

This sounds like Col 3:4, “When (as often as) Christ who is our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with Him in (that same) glory.”  (parenthesis mine)  The revealing of Christ has the overwhelming power to transform the beholder into His same glory… each time we behold.

It just gets ‘messier’ (or awesome-er, depending on your perspective) the more we look into this subject.

A few years ago, I heard someone say that when they were pondering this issue they heard Jesus say, “You and I are one.  I am you and you are me… the only difference is, I am God.”  In light of our previous conversation, this insight begins to make sense for me.  Of course we’ll never believe that we replace God, nor compromise His Divinity or Diety… but doggonit, there are just too many pregnant Scriptures to simply write-off this ‘gods’ idea.  I know I don’t feel like it in my soul man and natural thinking… but we must remember that the only way we get anywhere in the Spirit realm, is by FAITH… by just believing what He says!

Listen to what Jesus’ best friend John, said in I John 4:17, We are as He is in this world.”

They say that true humility isn’t trying to be ‘super humble’ by self-effacement, self-abasement or belittling the grand-ness of what God says about us.  Rather, it’s saying, “God you know me better than I know me… So I believe and agree with You.”  That’s humility.

Most of the body of Christ is not ready to handle the magnitude of this.  We’re too fallen in our perspective of ourselves.  And since we’re admonished to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3), when asked this question, I would probably try to dodge and skirt the issue right now unless I’m talking to people who are genuinely interested.  Jesus was good about dodging the brunt of a question, by asking another question, at times.  He knew there were truths that the audience couldn’t handle yet (John 3:12; John 16:12).

Knowing that Jesus can’t tell us certain things yet, truly saddens me.  And of course it saddens Him… “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem….  How I would have gathered you unto me… but you wouldn’t” (Matt 23:27).

So we’re in a very awkward in-between stage in history.  We’re not happily ignorant saintlets any longer.  We’ve been partially enlightened enough to know that there is more.   But we’re not fully enlightened yet… and most of Christianity is not even as far as we are.   So it’s not likely that we can enjoy the widespread celebration of these exciting revelations for quite some time.

I guess that means we’re going to have to be careful so that we don’t “cast our pearls before swine” and we’ll have to be “be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves.”

I’m sorry this is not as clean and tidy as one might have hoped.  But we’re carrying many other revelations that haven’t come fully ‘of age’ yet, so you’ll know how to carry this one too.  That’s part of what’s unique about pioneers, they see things… and carry things from the future that are ‘before their time’.  Pioneers must walk carefully before God and man until these things can be fully revealed and released ‘wholesale’.  In the meantime we pray into them and share these revelations as the Lord gives us opportunity.

More grace to you!


SP True Stories: Bill rings up Zero!

4 Mar

(From a friend)

Two nights ago I picked up a ministry friend from the airport and gave him a ride home as a way of sowing into the Kingdom of God.17021960_10212306243030561_9160676042903237505_n

Afterwards I stopped at Denny’s restaurant for some hot tea and an English muffin.  When I went to pay my bill, the cashier kept ringing it up and even though the items were listed here, it kept coming up with a Zero balance.

She said, “Well, God must to want to bless you because this has never happened before.” I say, “Yay God! YOU ARE GOOD ALL THE TIME!”  🙂 

It was ‘one of those signs’, as Bill Johnson says, ‘that makes you wonder!!’

It wasn’t the amount that was important to me.. it was that it even happened at all!!



A couple ‘Grand’ announcements…

12 Feb

Dear Friends

We have a ‘Grand’ announcement to make: We’re grandparents again… and again!!!

The grandbabies are popping like rabbits…

This last month we experienced a significant expansion of our tribe… two more healthy males to carry on the Hendrickson name.  For Debbie and I, that makes a total of 7 grandchildren, 4 years old and under… the more the merrier… and they’re a ton of fun.


Samuel Isaac
January 6, 2017
8lbs 15oz – 21”
Markus and Allison’s second child


16387157_10154846207170761_1061228170996636491_nAsher Mark
January 16, 2017
8lbs – 19”
John and Cheryl’s fourth child

Everyone is healthy; mommies, babies and daddies.

Join us in a toast to many more Hendricksons. Hoorah!!!

Lotsa love
Mark & Debbie


Beyond the Map – Now that’s living!

23 Jan

Here’s a little insight into what makes me ‘tick’… and why this blog is named “Beyond the Map”.

Years ago, I watched an IMAX documentary of Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition up the Missouri River, to the Pacific Ocean and back.  I was struck to my core with what seemed a very innocuous quote from Lewis and Clark’s journal.  It reverberated so loudly inside me, that I’ve never forgotten it. 

In the early part of their expedition, they had followed the crude maps of the frontier fur traders.  But about half way up the Missouri, their continuing exploration took them beyond the maps.  On that day Lewis’ journal reads:

“We were now about to penetrate a country… in which the foot of civilized man had never trodden… the good or evil it had in store for us was yet to determine… I could esteem this moment of my departure among the most happy of my life.” – (Lewis & Clark expedition – 1805)

Strangely, upon hearing that quote, I could hardly compose myself.  I recognized that his sentiment rang synonymous with the basic drive at the core of my being.  And it is:

I must go where I’ve never been… discover what I’ve never seen.  I’m a pioneer!

The only way I can stay truly alive is to push beyond the familiar.  In fact, for several years I’ve publicly declared that each time I’m ‘in the saddle’ with God (whether privately or in public) I purpose to do something I’ve never done before.  I’ve resolved to explore what I haven’t seen and experienced before.  Furthermore, if there is a sense that others are dependant upon my discoveries in this new territory, then my motivation is fueled in a most fulfilling and empowering way.  Of course, this is the basic drive of a pioneer… a frontiersman.  (I write further about pioneers, here.)

Somewhere in my 40s I began to identify some of this unique definition of ‘me’.  It would have been great to know it sooner, but by-and-large our society doesn’t educate us on how to find ourselves.  I think that’s largely because most people are consumed with the age-old quest of trying to stay alive and survive.  As a result, our real identity doesn’t get highlighted and thus we don’t thrive.  And maybe because of being fraught with insecurities we just try to awkwardly blend in with the cookie-cutter crowd mentality… not ‘rocking the boat’.  So, I think it’s safe to say that most people never discover who they are… and how to be effective, passionate and ‘comfortable in their own skin’.  What a travesty!  Here are a couple sad commentaries about average mankind:

“Man.  Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – The 14th Dalai Lama

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”  ― J.K. Rowling

Twenty-eight months after setting out and risking life and limb, Lewis and Clark arrived back at St. Louis, ending an 8,000-mile odyssey.  They were acclaimed as national heroes…the first U.S. citizens to cross the continent.  Lewis had described at least 178 plants and 122 animals new to science.  Clark had drawn new and accurate maps that would guide the next generation of pioneers.  This is what pioneers do!  Their God-given core motivation was activated and engaged to the full extent… even to the ragged edge.  Even when knowing the life-endangering rigors of the journey before them, they had passionately said “Yes!” to the mission, because their personal DNA was addressed and called upon.

This ‘awakened living’ is part of the outworking of Jesus’ words, “I have come to give you life and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  When men and women discover who they were meant to be, they excel… and they do it gladly and passionately.  They discover what it means to truly live.


Of course there’s a potential fear factor.  But fear disappears when two things occur.  1) First we must know that God is good!  And He only has good plans for us.  2) Second, we must know that we have definitively heard His will.  It is impossible to have true Biblical faith if we haven’t HEARD (Rms 10:17).  Without hearing, fear rules.

Another pioneering explorer Columbus, sailed the ocean blue in 1492 when it was commonly thought that the earth was flat.  This whimsical depiction of the flat world sorely challenged the average boatman in his day.  But obviously, Columbus’ deep pioneer motivations drove him past his fears… and on to make historical discoveries that have changed mankind forever.  SO CAN WE!

Here are questions I ask myself: What fears attempt to keep me imprisoned in my ‘safe’ world?  What discoveries wait beyond the map?  Whose hearts need my discoveries?  What great things have happened each time I’ve decided to really live?

So now you know; in order for me to stay alive… and thrive, I’m committed and impassioned to go, “Beyond the Map”.


Where do I feed my heart?

16 Jan

“Guard over your heart with all diligence for from it flow all the issues of life.” – Prov 4:23

If Prov 4:23 is vital, then how do I take care of my heart… how do I feed it?  How do I keep it full?

Feeding my heart requires more than just ingesting knowledge.  Simply acquiring Bible knowledge bybrain-being-filled-with-stuff-learning reading the Bible, isn’t sufficient to nourish my heart.  My brain is an amazing cognitive processor of knowledge and the place where the data is stored.  Knowledge is food for my brain.  But while knowledge may help me make rational and sound decisions, it’s still just an ‘earth-type’ commodity that my mind insatiably never gets enough of.

So what is heart food?

“Man can’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)  

We’ve talked about how our hearts need to hear our Father’s voice.  When we hear Father’s voice, His voice gives us spirit food… real food that satisfies our basic essence.  It’s an ethereal infusion so deep that it may not even register in our brain… but our heart knows quite well that something substantive and eternal just happened.  We’re washed, freed, envisioned, secured, empowered, emboldened when we hear His voice.  There is no mistaking the occasion, something significant changes when we hear His voice.

Now the way in which we hear will be somewhat different for every person.

For most people, our hearts get tender when we encounter our Maker/Father.  When we recognize the sound of His voice… or the gentleness of His touch… something begins to melt inside of us.  That ‘melting’ is our heart/spirit-man saying, “Abba/Daddy”.  There is a sensing of, “all is well with my soul”.  There is an, “ahhhh, life is better now”.  And many times there are accompanying tears.  They’re not mandatory or even necessary, but His voice/touch is so totally fulfilling and life-giving, that our spirit-man ‘leaps’ into life and has to spill over somewhere… more often than not, it’s through our eyes.  I write more about the importance and significance of tears, here.download

So how do I feed my heart and keep it full?  This is one of my ways: I have created a 50-60 song special playlist.  They’re only the songs that ‘make me cry’.  And I don’t mind saying, I have some of my best times with my playlist.  I burn these handpicked songs on CDs and play them over and over in my car.  I almost never listen to radio… even Christian radio… my heart’s well-being is too important!  These songs speak my heart language and draw me into unhindered encounter.  This gives me much time to practice His presence and refuel my heart.

So, I offer you a few songs from my current list, in hopes that your spirit-man will leap into life… and maybe ‘spill over’.  Grab a Kleenex and just be careful if you drive.

Mark’s Latest Heart Therapy Songs

1.  I Love You – Misty Edwards (IHOP-KC)

2.  Not on My Time – David Brymer

3.  Father – Alberto & Kimberly Rivera

4.  Heaven’s Blessing – Alberto & Kimberly Rivera

5.  My Garden – Alberto & Kimberly Rivera

6. Spirit Move – WorshipMob


Testimony: Vial of oil refills

14 Jan

Vials of oil from Bible

(From a pastor friend, Earl Ackley.)

Before leaving for a ministry trip to South Africa, I felt the Lord prompt me to take a vial of oil given to me by Mark Hendrickson.  He had heard that Pastor Cesar Nieto had a Bible that constantly leaked oil.  Mark and other leaders visited with Cesar, examined the Bible and confirmed that the manifestation was genuine.  The bible continually leaked oil without damaging the pages. 

While in South Africa, Greg Odell, a leader in the church had a birthday and we all prayed and prophesied over him.  I felt like the Lord said, “Pour the oil on Greg’s feet.”  I anointed his feet with half of the oil in the vial.  Afterward I handed the half full vial to Greg and said this was for his wife.  He handed it back to me and said he wanted me to anoint her.  When we came to the church for ministry, Greg’s wife asked if I had the oil with me to anoint her feet as well.  When I pulled it out of my pocket we were all amazed that the vial was full to the top!  So, after anointing her feet with most of the oil in the vial, I set it on the floor.  As soon as I did, Greg picked it up and exclaimed, “Look, it has just filled to half full again!”  I gave some of the oil to the pastor, some to Greg and anointed 10 more people with the rest of the oil.


Oil from the Bible


Every page glistened with oil

Sounds a lot like the Old Testament story of a similar miracle (I Kings 17:16).  Thank you, Lord!