Sunday, October 22, 2017

GOD GETS THE PICTURE OF US

God fascinates me.  He is in all places, knows all things, and has a grasp of pure reality.  This is baffling; truly too good of news to be true.  It is the Gospel.

In His unfathomable awareness of the real us, He bends over backwards to convey the real Him.  His wish is that we not be fake and, furthermore, that we  not perceive Him as unreal.  God sees us all the way through to our best intentions...and, yes, even our worst.  God knows our hearts.  He gets the picture of who we are at our most sensitive whim of a thought whether godly or sinful.

When we go through the church motions, without an intimate confidence in God, our Christian walk is about six feet wide and one inch deep.  In this mode we do our best to impress one another with our good deeds all-the-while knowing we aren't really cutting it.  Our wish is strong.  But our action often seems to be a bust.

So, don't you think that it helps us feel a bit more secure in Jesus when we become convinced that He already knows this about us?  Read Romans 7.  The mighty and profound apostle Paul spilled his beans.  He said that he didn't do what he knew was good to do.  And he didn't stop there.  Paul continued that he did do what he wasn't supposed to do.  Anyone relate so far?

His conclusion?  OH.  THANK.  YOU.  JESUS.

When we do not thank Jesus, we shift to an unspiritual state of living by comparison to one another.  This is to enter the alley of untruth....every time.  Oh sure, we know ourselves to fail in areas--several arenas--but we point out others of whom we deem as worse.  This seems to tweak our conscience enough to spur us on through our religious and ritualistic terrain.  But this perspective is a sham.

Unless we are convicted of our own sins--and not the  sinfulness of others--we will continue to tote our Bibles off to Sunday School without believing them.  We will simply go through the motions of which even unbelievers quickly detect are not the fulfillment of God's will.  So, what shall we do?

It seems that we are off to a better start when we can grasp the reality that we are a mess, that God is the very One who points this out, and because of such, He redirects us to Jesus upon the Cross.  God does not give up on us and we should not give up on others.  Jesus died for our sins; not our slight missteps.  He arose to convict us of personal inner relief; not some off-the-wall theory of being a do-gooder. 

Our sins are deep and strong.  Jesus' paying for our sins is deeper and stronger. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

WHAT I'M BEGINNING TO LEARN UPON RETIREMENT

I love learning.  I will always be in Kindergarten when it comes to knowing all that God has available for our walk.  Our future is bright, alive, and meaningful.  God has given me something as He awakened me at 3:00 and I just must get up to write it down.

Discipline is for learning; not for beating.  If it isn't for inner development, this very trait will be regarded as nothing more than a dirty ten-letter word.  Many my age know the ills of what were intended spankings to really be poundings.  Thus, the biblical word discipline suffers understanding which often means it is avoided; even rejected.

Yet, discipline is a major thread in the Kingdom fabric.  We must have it.  The church struggles today in extreme form because we have lived without (trained ourselves to live without) this factor.  We don't do struggle.  We don't do pain.  Rather we take flight when it gets tense in our world.  We move on because we don't like conflict.  The result is that we don't learn via the very basic process of being corrected.

Stress is a very present and most necessary reality.  It is not a call to take flight from it; but to be still and go to school.  Until we get this into our thick heads, we will always be on the run from something; people, places, assignments, etc.  Life.  Is.  Often.  Hard.

I'm beginning to learn something in these initial days of retirement.  We are losing ground because we refuse to shut down and step back.  I refused.  I didn't even realize it was a key to effective Kingdom labor.  But now that I'm able to pull off to the side of the road, clarity is unfolding...and I like it.

Recall how Jesus kept slipping away to be alone?  Even (especially) when matters were pressing, it seems that He had a knack of devotion to His time spent with Father.  So here's what I see.  We are hindered from expanding the Kingdom of God because we are riddled with busy distraction that keeps us from application of the meaningful, the useful, the productive.  Yes...too busy.

And here's the kicker.  We want it that way.  We want to be in demand, walking in rapid fire, because this distracts us from learning what God wants of us.  We refuse to slow down because when we do we will be more likely to be open to His will.  Busy-ness keeps us distracted from effective-ness.

Mankind finds ways to be comfortably stuck.  We don't want to improve, grow, change in areas because it makes us U-N-C-O-M-F-O-R-T-A-B-L-E.  Therefore, we hide in our roles...our very busy demanding roles...in order to refrain from exposure to adjustments God would wish for us.

Elders elder, staffs staff, families family, and members member with our best feet forward....constantly.  Full-steam a head. This comes off as commitment.  But I suggest it isn't all commitment; but a large section is avoidance.  We've found our sweet spot; our comfort zone and we don't intend to surrender it because it was to difficult to capture in the first place.

I suggest we discover ways to step out of our demanding schedules for a time where God could reveal His latest will.  It can be done.  We are creative you know.  We can find ways to avail ourselves to becoming open to the Spirit's steady and current direction.  Here are suggestions:

  1.  Elders take a six-month sabbatical.  No elders' meetings.  No minutes forwarded.  Trust the others.  Let God.  It is very possible to do this.  Fear of losing control will be the balker which ought to make it's needed point.
  2.  Churches provide staff sabbaticals.  These workers cannot keep pouring out without significant time of God pouring in.  We are unconsciously demand-weary. And, in our case as well, we fear decisions would be made without our input...and, therefore, possibly not what would keep us comfortable.
  3.  Pull your members/devoted workers/out of their roles for six months.  Tell them to sit down, be still, and listen.  I see too many failing to grow in the Kingdom because they are hiding in their church-work.

None of this is suggested as punishment.  That isn't the discipline to which I refer.  I suggest it as development of the inner man; a very deeply needed exercise for the core of Kingdom life.  The good news is that it can be done if we will yield our subtle controlling nature.  It is possible and the church will be the better for it.

Okay.  It's now 4:12 a.m.  That's all for now.



Friday, October 20, 2017

SOOOOO.....

Sooooo....I just now took my car keys and punched the unlock button.  Yes....I really did.

And....the TV didn't come on.  Oh yeah, I need to use the remote for that one.

Have a happy day!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

DISCOURAGEMENT IS THE LAUNCHING PAD TO WONDER!!!

Everywhere we turn we are faced with discouragement, resentment, and sometimes even depression.  If not within ourselves, we see it to be true of our friends, colleagues, and relatives.  Being "blue" is epidemic in nature.  No one escapes the steady encounter of this Meany.  No.  One.

I speak with a bit of authority for I am persistent in my self-evaluation as to how nothing I am.  I was hoping for better than this by now.  Yet, I've learned a most fascinating truth.  Being low is precisely the launching pad God would use to provide us with incredible wonder. 

Jesus makes a seemingly absurd statement as he opens his mouth at His famous Sermon on the Mount.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, He assures.  Really?  Blessed are the down?  Blessed are the discouraged?  Blessed are the failers?  Blessed are the confused?  Blessed are the losers?  Yes...very articulately...Jesus says that such a one is prime for the launching of incredible, actual, hope.

How.  Can.  This.  Be.

It seems that man's nature is to find less need for God when experiencing the territories of what we could deem as successful.  It seems that we begin, in these "doing okay" parameters, to take on an attitude that we aren't in need of God for we are strong enough to maneuver our way through the current jungle.  When we feel we are in control, there is less likelihood that we would depend on Him.  This truth plays out everyday.

But when we are at the end of our proverbial ropes, we find that we have nothing more to offer to escape our nagging dilemmas.  It seems that we made our final effort...and made no progress.  It is here at this juncture that one begins to look up for help.  Our hands are empty of effectivity and our words seem to be empty of solution.

Poorer nations, such as zones in Africa, are coming to God in droves for their lifestyles are empty of self-provision.  And even in a territory as wealthy as the USA, even the richest of rich begin to turn to God when self-reliance, independent-sufficiency crashes.  Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Poor in spirit considers humility to contain a power--as super-natural power--of which we lean toward only when in great need.  Our independent muscle seems to have atrophied.  Our insight has gone blind.  We must have Other help...and in steps Father, Son, and Spirit.

I urge you today to become unstuck.  One does so by one simple move; change your mind.  This is known as repentance.  Don't walk a life of doom; but arise to a life of potential and possibility...right...now.  Try to open your eyes and peer through the dim veil of frustration.  Begin to notice actual hope.  See that your trauma is serving you by leading you to a new zone; a new kind of life of which you had always imagined.

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Tradea the poor-me doldrums for a better call; blessed are the poor in spirit.  Yay God!  Yay us!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GIVING GLORY TO GOD

When I became serious about my faith walk there was a word that kept occurring in the Scriptures; glory.  So?  So?, I thought?  Glory is glory.  That's sorta like saying nice is nice or something to that affect, it seemed.  Glory, to me, was a Bible term that did nothing, went nowhere, and seemed rather neutral in....well....in meaning.

But...I've changed my mind.

To give God glory is one of the utmost profoundationalisms ever!  To give Him glory is to brag upon Him.  It is to credit God with the valiant moves He makes.  To give God glory is to give intentional note to His might, His brilliance, His amazing love.  It's to talk about Him, to brag upon Him, and to include Him in strong awareness of our ordinary walk.

When things go right, I've learned to attribute them to God rather than a team, or a circumstance, or a person.  Even when human names may actually be connected to accomplishment, such recognition is given with the understanding that God is their Source and their Supplier.

Giving God glory has changed my prayer life.  Better said, it gave me a prayer life.  I once struggled to spend any time in prayer.  Yet, learning to give God glory activated my time with Him.  Every day, and many times during, I tell Him how much He means to me and how grateful I am for His being God; that I no longer have to fake my righteousness for He gives me His.

To give God glory may not sound like much of a church thing for we tend to be more impressed with things like assignments, destinations, and accomplishments.  But to praise Him strongly is precisely how the beginning Church was launched.  I'm learning that it is, also, how it keeps going.

Tell God often how you glory in His very existence.  This will positively impact your heart, your day, and your faith.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

UNBELIEVERS MOCK AS FAIRYTALE. BELIEVERS CALL IT REALITY

I've lived on both sides of the Faith Fence.  There is a world of difference.  Let me say that another way.  There IS as WORLD of difference.  One goes by faith in unbelief.  These get their religious kicks from the pond of doubting.  The second batch operates upon a basis of the invisible world being more fascinating than the seen one.  Go figure.  No, I mean GO and FIGURE this out; rather than merely offering an indifferent shrug of the shoulders.

What real Christianity needs today is a huge dose of the Fairytale experience.  Only in saying this do I mean that we need to have a walk with God that is well beyond our obsessive, humanistic imagination.  I love this factor of Ephesians 3:20 which is encapsulated from cover to Bible cover.  That which can't happen did...and...still does.  Unbelievers wish to mock and call such Fairytale.  Believers call it Reality in Fairytale dimension; the impossible lives!

As churches assemble world-wide today, may we gatherers not throw cold water upon the absurd, the ridiculous, the outlandish truths of God past and His workings present.  We are to experience the unknown and the unexplainable, the undefinable and the undeniable.  Just as the Red Sea parted and the grave emptied, believers are to abide in a land of immeasurable opportunity for the God-demonstration.

By our repetitive repetitions, the Fantastic Faith element is being dismantled bit by bit within our very own gatherings.  Should such a mold not be broken, we will be a people who train our young to become unbelievers; yet in the name of believing.  Drastic faith has been dismantled by a humanistic try-to-be-good philosophy.  As a result, pews will be packed today with many calculating that, while they do misbehave, they aren't as bad as others they could mention. 

Living by comparison is clearly a doctrinal mistake communicated quite clearly in II Corinthians 10:12.  And, yet, this seems to be a popular road for the modern day believer to travel.

Faith.  Faith is bold, it is absurd, it is fascinating, and it is the ultimate of true reality.  May we accomplish matters through Him that would draw mockery from our critics.  Many of us have lived in this path for years....on both sides. 

May we be found on the side of reality rather than the one of mockery.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

AUTHENTIC LIFE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSY-NESS

In the name of being a responsible individual, each of us becomes snagged in the "thinking it out, moving it forward" pressure scheme of, what we all regard as, normalcy.  Yet, there's a significant problem with that.  Happiness and joy seems to be an illusion.  We assume that such is reserved for the ultra-successful...and, therefor, maybe we ain't one of 'em.

My daily theme is, Don't you love right now?  This developed from my life of failure; repeated failures.  I was missing out of living because my walk had become buried (ahead of the grave) by busy-ness.  The problem with busy-ness is that it all seems justifiable to the thinking trend of earthiness.  We applaud it.  Too, we obey its wearying demands.

Don't misunderstand.  Not all of life is a breeze.  Not everyone is crazy about you/me.  Stresses mount.  Injuries occur.  These and other bandits do all they can to put on their masks and rob us a guiltpoint.

Could it be that the most consistent villain resides inside of our own heads?  Could it be that we persistently bark at ourselves with commands of More! when it would be a welcomed visitor if we could believe it alright to say, Less?

Why do you feel the need to hop at every one's bark?  Signed up for too many responsibilities?  Then resign from some.  Feel like you are letting people down?  What if by your backing off from an assignment, such would give opportunity for someone else to get to be invited into that responsibility or role?

Jesus didn't reach the whole world with a stage and a microphone.  He did it by charging the twelve and then the seventy.  He took the time to invest in a few to reach the many.  His tactic is still reaching...us!

Such a concept would be known as discipleship.  Investing in fewer seems to reach more.  Odd, don't you think?  Try to grasp the picture; the theme.  Busy-ness, I am convinced is not as productive, as thoughtful, prayerful, intentional restriction.  While I'm certain my ideas here have a few holes, it just could be that some of you who are very kingdom driven would be much more effective if you could slow down a bit in order to get more accomplished.

Worn out is not a bibilical credit to us.  Being persecuted and dying to self is.  But somehow it seems we may be more inclined to the former in order to avoid the latter.

Busy-ness impresses ourselves...and maybe a few others who are also driven by the same crunch.  Be encouraged; you have a Father who gave us His Son so that we could inherit His Spirit so that we could really see things take place in an eternally defining dimension.