Excerpt for Lost In The Maze by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


LOST IN THE MAZE


AUTHOR - BILL TAYLOR

COPYRIGHT 2017 - BILL TAYLOR

PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT SMASHWORDS



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*Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration*



Kool - Aid

Jim Jones ( Jonestown ) was an infamous cult leader of the not too distant past. He initially presented himself as a kind and caring soul to the needy, downtrodden, and disenfranchised. Once he had secured his followers trust the real “delusional” Jim Jones was introduced but by then it was too late to avoid the end result. His word had become gospel to the brainwashed and any who dared to challenge him were seen as treasonous demons of satin and turned on by Jim’s constituents.

His cultish insanity would lead to an exodus from the U.S. to Africa where he and the faithful settled in a place they named Jonestown. It wouldn’t be long before stories of flagrant abuse found their way back to family and friends in America which prompted an investigation. That led to a visit from the U.S. authorities to their fortified compound.

Upon hearing of the soon to be encounter, Jim concocted a “Kool - Aid” type drink which was laced with poison and “knowingly” all his followers drank it and died. Mother’s feed it to their babies under Jim’s instruction! Many of whom he fathered. To this day we still use the phrase that was coined by that tragic event: “Don’t Drink The Kool - Aid”.

Jim Jones had a “Messiah Complex” but lacked the sophistication to pull it off without everyone ending up dead. He was extremely clumsy and reckless. He flew by the seat of his pants making it up as he went along. When his day of reckoning finally caught up to him, his preferred choice was death “for all”, over the answering for his behavior, with the promise of eternal life for all.

That true story has always amazed me in the worst of ways. I ask myself: At what point in the process did people turn into brainless zombies who were capable of killing themselves and their own children? I think I know the answer. The moment they took their eyes off their Creator and fixed them on the created! Jim jones had managed, through emotional manipulation, to make himself a replacement for God. An idol for his followers viewing to satisfy their fleshly need for a visual to worship. With the Creator removed from the equation, the rest was simply a matter of time. The “cult template” had been established and their lives were now surrendered to the whims of Jim Jones! They drank the “Kool - Aid”, long before they actually swallowed it.

There have been others like David Koresh in Waco Texas to name just one of prominence. I ask myself: That happened “after” the Jonestown massacre? Those who died in Waco would have known of Jim Jones. Everyone did! How could they not see the shocking similarities and run for the exits? The same reason as Jonestown, is the answer. Different names and different people with different leaders at different times but with the identical result!

I’ve said it before and believe it with all my heart: I’d much rather see a person worshipping no one, than choosing to worship a human. There is only ONE who is truly worthy of our adoration without the need for cautionary restraint and His name is JESUS! He can be found crystal clear in the Bible with no need for additions or subtractions!

Both Jones and Koresh had the same alluring spirit of a “Messiah Complex”. A diabolical spirit that will always avoid scripture in its entirety in order to tell you what you “want” to hear, as long as IT gets what IT “wants”: You and your allegiance with no questions asked!



Back In The Day - Thank You Mom

I was raised by an amazing lady who went home to be with her Lord almost thirty years ago. He was the love of her life through thick and thin and there was a lot of thin! I most shamefully was a contributor to the thin. I remember my Mom vividly as quietly and graciously courageous! My Dad had the volume while my Mom had the content. Old school I guess.

“Saint” Catherine Taylor ( my well experienced opinion ), and her wonderful Lord are the only reasons I’m here today to be perfectly honest. My Mother prayed me into the kingdom on her knees every day while I was spending twenty seven years involved in all manner of directionally opposite craziness and here I am today loving the same Savior. She believed that God was much bigger than me. She was right!

My Mother was never, for a single second in her whole life wealthy in the slightest, but always considered herself “rich” in Christ! She bought her clothes from the least expensive stores with joy and thankfulness for God’s provision.

Her unwavering and faithful commitment to “contentment” in “what she had” permeated the souls and hearts of our entire family on a constant and consistent basis with its sense of peace and security.

It would be only “after” my Mom had gone to heaven, and I at the age of forty, would find out this reality: We actually had serious financial problems at times. I wasn’t at all aware. You see, my Mother never highlighted them but rather chose to sing this “refrain of faith” throughout her daily chores at home for my hearing as a child: “If His eye is on the sparrow then I know He watches me”! That’s all I knew, therefore I also thought we were “rich” in my young mind!

My Mother never complained. Never! She had a husband, my Dad, who in his mid-fifties had a brain aneurism and nearly died. He didn’t and lived another thirty years with almost zero sight and had to be watched constantly. He came out of the surgery with no memory and was shaky on his feet at best. I watched “saintly grace” in action as my Mother would take my Dad’s hand and say: “Bill would you help me up the stairs”, while all along it was her helping him. She saw no need to remove what dignity he had left. I don’t think Dad ever figured it out. Mom was an amazing grace dispenser!

Up until and including her final days on planet earth Mom’s only concern was others and their well-being. She had no thought for her own. Mom would be found in her hospital room, while dying herself from stomach cancer, ministering to the frightened lady next to her who was in the same predicament. Perhaps an accurate and lovely reflection of Jesus, who while hanging on His cross, ministered to the one beside him to calm his fears.

Folks, that’s what Christ likeness used to look like back then. It was rare but it wasn’t confusing. The standard was “us” being transformed into “His” image, not He being transformed into ours.



The Maze

Those who tampered with, altered, and manipulated the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ to suit themselves and their seemingly never ending need for more money to roll in, were few and far between. Oh they were there, but back in the day common sense tended to prevail most often and the perpetrators were dismissed for the most part as delusional snake oil salesmen. Due to the invent of cable T.V. and the Internet, they are now everywhere selling their “cure all” self-thought spiritual formulas to the public.

Thus the “maze” of talking heads, all of whom clamor incessantly for our undivided attention to pay heed to their latest revelation! Therefore, the very real potential of getting LOST in it exists! The deluge of voices for our hearing, are never ending to the point where a sheep can, through utter exhaustion, be beaten into submission.

I am cognisant that “all” doesn’t and never should apply when it comes to our responsibility of sifting through “the maze” to find “the quality”. The “quality” very much deserves our support, so no painting everyone with the same brush.

Folks, here’s my heart felt concern and it’s for the sheep. The guilty are no small number and almost forty percent of Christians have either knowingly or not, contributed financially in one way or another to the “Never Deny Yourself - It’s All About You” gospel. Those who are at the top of these “big business for profit gospels”, once having dug very deeply into the cookie jar for themselves and their families, then proceed to throw a token gesture at a charity to give their constituents something of substance to defend them with.

That’s called pre-meditated and diabolical but in a business sense it’s called simply smart! Their teaching is sizzle with no substance, so there needs to be something tangible to dangle in front of their folks to distract them from the “real deal” that’s going on behind the scenes! As I see it they’re not all that good at being distractive with their arrogance being portrayed for all to see! I guess they feel so impenetrable that disguises are no longer necessary to achieve their desired result.

Those competing for your dollar are well professionalized, organized and highly skilled at doing so. Apart from the word of God and an extreme reliance on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you and I are no match.

True followers of Jesus are a prime and fertile demographic to pursue for unlimited profit. We already have generous hearts to be easily taken advantage of with the appropriate prompting. Therefore we are likely the most gullible sector of society in the world today. Let’s face it folks we are sheep which in itself is fine, but never to be forgotten or even misplaced, we have only ONE Shepherd who we derive our spiritual substance from and He is sitting at the right hand of our Father in heaven desiring to be our “red flag” when we are in need of one.



Taste And See

Here’s a good taste test for the foods we have placed on our plates daily to ingest and one that should not bother any teacher unless there’s something to justify that can’t be justified: When you look at the ministry you have attached yourself to, can you or can’t you imagine Jesus being “fine” with it all as ”fine” is described in the bible. We aren’t demanding perfection, just “fine”. Just reasonable, within the biblical context of our directive to live like Christ as his followers as we give ourselves away for his glory. We aren’t calling for poverty stricken penniless leaders.

So, what are we looking for in the “maze” that clarifies the reality? What is the internal query that can define our conclusions fairly? We want to be fair but not at the cost of being complicit.

Well, do we see a leader whose lifestyle even remotely resembles them having an awareness that many of the dollars that they have at their disposal, have come out of people’s wallets who may well be having toast and tea for dinner tonight and perhaps the luxury of a slice of cheese between the bread if they are overwhelmed by the decadent desire to splurge. Simple people who thank God with sincere appreciative hearts for His provision. People on fixed incomes. The retired. The widower. The widow. The minimum wage employee who is doing their very best to makes ends meet and maintain their “thankfulness in all things” mindset.

Is that what we see or do we see this. A leader who refuses to wear anything that’s off the rack and isn’t tailor made. A person who will only drive the finest of vehicles and live in the finest of houses. A tantrum thrower who insists those who don’t bow a knee to their spiritually superior status are deemed un-enlightened and summarily discarded as such. A person who flaunts their wealth unapologetically in the faces of those previously spoken of in the last paragraph, making them feel like the biggest spiritual losers on earth. Be honest, you know that’s exactly what we are seeing far too often.

Finally, and here’s a little something for you to entertain in your mind, but please never actually attempt do this, unless you have a spiritual death wish!

If you have a favorite “prosperity teacher”, that you’ve been contributing to, what do you think the likely hood would be of them reversing the rolls at your request if you desperately needed money this month for rent or food. Do you think there is even the slightest chance they would dip into their four to forty million dollar plus net worth status and cut you a check as a gift to help you out? A net worth by the way, that you’ve contributed to? What do you think?

You see within the game you have a well-defined purpose as do they. You are the depositor not the withdrawer. They are the withdrawer not the depositor. Sarcasm? Not really! It’s true. You supply them with steak and lobster while you nibble on your cheese sandwich! That’s the cost of “belonging” to the “in crowd” who gather at the “place to be”!



So, Who Is Responsible?

Are we responsible in any way or simply innocent victimized sheep who have no alternatives at our disposal. There is always the bible that stands ready to help in times of needed clarity! The real question is: Do we want clarity? It would be rather disingenuous to blame the profiteers if we continue to play our part in their profits.

If we choose to there are reasons, that are as old as time itself. You may think you are far too mature for this one to be your reality but this issue has no age limitations: “Peer Pressure”! It looks and sounds like this: “Everyone thinks “she” is amazing but scripture and my heart tells me the exact opposite is true. If I say something as a caution, my popularity could take a hit so I’ll just shut up and quietly believe what I believe. I’m sure the others will eventually figure it out for themselves”. All said, as another sheep falls off the edge of the cliff landing on the rocks below!

Reason two: We all love to be where the action is and will bridle our consciences for the reward of belonging there. Well, to belong you have to agree with pretty well everything. “The place to be” is too often the place that provides the most sizzle and that’s an attractive component but the spiritual cost to our integrity can be massive for the fleshly privilege of inclusion.

To stay connected with the “in crowd” tends to come with a very high price. The need to bury our heads in the sand like Ostridge’s, and pretend we don’t see and hear what we do see and hear. The alternative? Face the reality and start, as members of the body of Christ, to remove ourselves from the “maze” but with a sense of carefulness. As earlier stated: “Not All” and for those who don’t fit the bill, my sincere regrets for having to constantly trip over those who do.



Why Include Jones And Koresh

Well, I don’t believe anyone is going to die physically, by chasing the latest flavor of the month prosperity gospel teacher. On a spiritual and emotional level, which are connected, I’m not so sure. Once reality sets in, the cult thinking crash can be devastating. Only God knows how may went under in their relationship with Him because of the P.T.L. ministry fiasco. That was most definitely the place to be back in the day, complete with a multi-million dollar amusement park and five star hotel for us Christians to play and stay at. I mean come on, what kind of loving God would deny us our own exclusive amusement park. Folks let’s be honest: We have a history of spiritual craziness that none of us should be proud of. Perhaps it’s time we stop and in doing so stop embarrassing our Lord in the process. Kool - Aid comes in many different forms and flavors folks, but at the end of the day it’s still Kool - Aid, thus to be avoided!



Why Include My Mother

To explain why I would reference my Mother in regard to our book’s subject matter follow my chilling logic and hopefully, you like I, will see the severity of today’s insanity that we are asked to approve of as those who truly love the Lord. Are you ready to think?

In today’s prominently popular version of the self-indulgent gospel, the stark reality is this: My mother would be deemed as a huge failure based on her bank account. She would be seen as an incredibly “unenlightened” women who had a “small faith” and who ended up with what her “small faith” allowed.

From my heart and as God as my witness: Not one of today’s prosperity gospel TV and internet darlings, are worthy to speak my Mother’s name and will never be! Harsh? Yes! And sincere.

The simple antidote for the nauseous feeling of lostness in the maze? Get out and re-find Jesus. He so often gets lost in the rhetoric as the established “stars” try to “one up” each other at your expense! Re-learn to hear His tender voice. Re-sensitize yourself to notice the “red flags” of His cautions in your spirit. Re-introduce the importance of your home church family and Pastors to your heart. They actually care about you with no questionable motives.

This insanity we are experiencing today is only going to get worse. The need to be led by the Spirit of God and be entrenched in God’s word has never been more acute than right now!



My Ministry Into Our Ministry


Mark 6 - 38 & 41: “How many loaves do you have He asked?” “Go and see”. When they found out they said, “Five and two fish”. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to His disciples to DISTRIBUTE to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all”. ( Five thousand plus, were fed that day! )


In the biblical story of the “fishes and loaves”, I so clearly see three dynamics in play to achieve the desired completion of the heavenly orchestrated equation. The young boy GAVE what little he had, our Lord then MULTIPLIED it, and the disciples then DISTRIBUTED it.


It’s interesting to note that Jesus, after the multiplying didn’t say, “Come and get it”. What He did say was, “Everyone find a place to sit on the grass and I’ll bring it to you, through my own”. Folks, He loves to involve us. He loves to make us matter! We are blessed beyond measure to be written into, His stories! Just imagine: Invited by Him to participate in His plans for others!


From the inception of the idea of writing books to be made available to “all freely”, there has never been a moment when I haven’t been aware of its ministry context. I could easily be seen as the “young boy” in the story. Jesus has most certainly multiplied my meager offering to Him.


So may I invite and encourage you to be a distributor of that which He has multiplied, thereby elevating “My Ministry” into “Our Ministry”, thus completing “His Ministry”. There’s something about that idea that sounds “perfect” to my heart!


We all have friends, family, work mates, school mates, etc. I’ve included a simple directional on “how to find” the “fishes and loaves”. Please feel free to share “what you eat” with others. You have no idea where it could lead to! That young boy’s mother could never have dreamed, what that little lunch she had prepared for her son on that fateful morning, would produce!


Thanks in advance. Bill Taylor


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