Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ARE YOU WORKING FROM GOD'S SPIRIT OR FROM YOUR OWN STEAM?

I am sympathetic to any who feel you are wearing down...and out.  Such will naturally take place in and with the flesh.  But such isn't to be happening to your spirit.  Thus, I ask us to reflect upon our energy source.  I ask the question, then, whether you are working from the Holy Spirit of God or are you functioning upon your own strength?  There is difference; a huge and lasting one.

From the flesh, I see obvious tendencies seem to consistently arise.  We feel disappointed that doors won't open or else doors which were opened seem to have closed.  Exasperation develops when we can't seem to get others to do (to behave) as we deem wisest and most efficient.  The temptation becomes oh so strong to toss in the proverbial towel and call it quits.

Yet from the Spirit, obstacles are converted into opportunities.  Prayer is an actuality rather than a classroom topic.  And, hope....oh my....hope really lives!  From the Spirit, what can't happen bows to what can.  Doubt surrenders to faith.  And most of all, when we shed the bossage of the flesh, newness (perpetual brand-new-again us) comes into experiential view.

Of course the challenge to all of this is that the inadequate flesh strongly desires to be the Head Coach.  It most desperately wants to be the decider of things.  The flesh wants explanation, verification, and destination.  The Spirit quite often offers none of that.  He simply calls us to believe Him, trust Him, and follow Him.

The flesh has its day; but it will eventually submit itself to the grave as a wanna-be ruler of man's kingdom.  The Spirit, on the other hand, brings the Kingdom to us and says words like, Enter in.  Participate.  Imagine.  Allow me to energize you.

In my earlier days, I believed that I was smart enough, sharp enough, and good enough to conquer the world...or at least prove to be better than most.  Such a quagmire of thought came from warped flesh evaluation; as sorry as that may seem.  Fortunately, I repeatedly experienced failure.  From these heavy darknesses, disappointments, and disillusions, I saw God display His famous Arise Power.  

He promised that He could make something from nothing and I bought into it.  Well....really I had no other choice.  Right?  And so it is with you.  You have no other choice...either.  We are all alike.  Our own steam eventually subsides.  At this juncture we can believe that we are finally on the right road to engage in His success which is a far distance from our own.

We....eventually....choose His!  When we do this, we don't wear out.  Our hearts become younger with Kingdom thirst...day...by...day!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE FIRST GARDEN

Sin is catastrophic.  From its inception in the Garden of Eden, sin's rugged influence impacts and affects every person...like in every.  Debris of human hearts is strewn across the landscape as far as the eye can see; even as far as memory can record.  Hurt, anguish, pain, struggle; these four and more plague the best of the best and the frailest of the frailest.  We are all in the same boat; no exception.

Therefore, I cheer you on about the new which God most definitely promotes; new hope, new concepts, new beginnings, and new life.  Church isn't sitting in pews only.  It is awakening to the refreshing wonder God has embedded within each of us.  We are designed for more than broken hearts and weary spirits.  We are created to walk in victory while striving in the very center of tempting and negative interruption.

The psychology of Adam and Eve, due to sin, was to hide.  Each of us carries that same baton down the road until...until Jesus gets through to us that we are free from the need to live in seclusion.  He recreates us; restores us.  As long as I have been a minister, and even longer as a believer, I still marvel x marvel at the wonder of new Kingdom life!

Originally, I was filled with fear and hesitation.  I wanted to preach Bible lessons and teach Bible facts.  But, I didn't find it easy to interact with people.  Odd, I know, for even from the time I was just a kid I was outgoing and personable.  Yet, Christianity did a number on me.  I soon heard from the church that we were the only ones right and that we only did things right; believed things right.  I transformed immediately into a fearful man.  My goal was one: don't get anything wrong.

From experience I found that the Spirit of Jesus broke me free from perpetual nagging fear.  It wasn't easy and I haven't arrived.  I am, though, making progress.  Where I once convinced myself that I was simply always going to be introverted, I found through (odd as it may seem) my own failures that His grace infused a confidence that I had known nothing about.  I learned--not inherited--confidence to be found in Jesus.

The working of God is just too weird; so contrary to what I had assumed.  The tough stuff blesses.  The disappointments bring about spiritual formation.  Insults and injuries, originally designed to make us cave, bring about a launching of new conviction of potential and possibility.  Fear tries to persuade us not to risk...so that once again we won't be found to be wrong.

The psychology of the first Garden was to impose a very natural kind of hiding for any born into humanity.  But the psychology of Jesus is to walk by faith of what can be rather than by fear of what can't.  Thank you God!  Thank you for rescuing us from our self-arresting and backward thinking.  Thank you...for giving us the mind of Christ.  May we win the world by following His victory laps!

Monday, April 24, 2017

POSITIONED FOR SUCCESS

As long as we esteem ourselves above others, we will fail to accomplish that which God has in mind.  It is when we humble ourselves that He has our permission to take us where He wills and do with us as He has always planned.

Positioned for success is never to be found at the top; but rather, is always encountered along the valleys of lowest terrain.  Jesus not only came "down" to earth, he lived a perpetually, as well as an increasingly, "downward" lifestyle.  But me?  I always wished to be big.  It was my goal.  It didn't happen.  Surrender to God's grace, God's mercy, God's supply is the trail that all believers must, will, and can follow.

His ways are higher...than even my best gesture toward getting things done.  Giving God our best is a man-invented saying.  Giving God our weaknesses and letting Him refine them into effectiveness is a move of incredible faith.

Positioned for success?  Oh, everyone is; or least can be.  But it won't be where the carnal mind assumes.  The servant-heart has always been the theme of God for His children.  May we dare risk finishing last (at the bottom) that we may experience His promise that those who do so will finish first (at the top).  Only by faith in God's most backward ways will mankind enjoy the partnership with the non-understandable ways of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

TRY NOT TO WASTE YOUR BAD DAYS

Things don't always go as planned.  This is true for everyone we know.  There is no exception.  However, there is a segment of society which should be aware and prepared for such occasions.  It should be followers of Jesus who are in tune with this reality.  Yes, we should have it embedded within our most fundamental framework that we are to offer blessings to others, even as did Jesus, even when hanging from our most uncomfortable crosses.

The matter before us is to remind us that the waitress-world dreads Sundays over all other days simply because churches eventually dismiss and we hit the diners.  It has always been rumored that Christians are the toughest to keep happy, to serve, and to endure.  This should not be the rumor about us.

Really, Terry?  With a world in dire need of good news, you want to pick on how we believers go out to lunch?  Yep, I surely do.  If we can't offer the simple form of courtesy when being poorly served at a restaurant, how do we expect to win hungry souls across the street or in Africa?  Such inconsiderate behavior is a sign of heart decay; insensitivity toward others.  This...is always a major task for improvement among us.

Try not to waste your bad days; whether poorly served or a recipient of bad news or being highly offended.  It is at these junctures that true believing us has opportunity to arise.  We shall not go through life assuming that it will go our way.  No, we will go through the harsh times assuming that these, too, will give the Spirit opportunity to care for one who has been neglected and is in need of life from another even if it means through our personal suffering.

Jesus gave his life up...that we might receive it.  He did.  We did.  Others await.  He won by losing.  We win...by the same pattern of true abundant life.  May others be blessed by you today simply because you give up your need for everything to go as planned so that another could receive such an element of grace.

We will not waste our bad days.  No, we will instead use them to bless others.  From such a position...all will have a good day!


Friday, April 21, 2017

WOULD GOD MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Why is it that day after day so many carry heavy burdens which weight the heart.  And, it isn't necessarily the same people every day.  We all seem to take our turns.  Those at the highest public perspective walk the same earth as those at the lower end of the spectrum.

When I was in my much younger years, a rather common (and seemingly dumb) thing was often to be heard.  Well, everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time.  Oh, thank you.  That remark cleared up so much of life's quandaries for me.  Until then, I'd been sort of concerned.  But when I realize how people put on their pants, it seems that health, financial, and relationship burdens evaporated....NOT!

My point is that stress and struggle are not removed with a slogan.  So what would make a difference that would truly...make a difference?  Enter the contemplation of God.

God is not a figment of our imagination.  We are the creatures of His.  Why is it that, for many, He is so very difficult to accept as real?  Two things come into play: (1) God won't fit any of our descriptive and sub-imaginational sizes, and (2) God is invisible.  These two elements leave the world of true believing hanging on a sheer faith-thread called hope.

God makes a difference.  Personally, I needed to shift from believing in prayer to believing in God.  Oddly, that move has changed my prayer life.  Although I preached and promoted the former, it still left me unprayerful; but the latter finds me praying continually.  The former is riddled with doubt as we basically only feel the responsibility that we ought to actually pray.  The latter, however, fills us with faith for it is this element by which we experience an activated walk in Spirit; not our restrictive sight.

Would God make a difference?  Oh, I highly encourage you that He does.  Yet, it isn't a, Well, it's better than nothing and I don't really have another option anyway kind of thing.  God is certainty.  It isn't God that is here one day and gone the next.  That would be us in the life/death process.

I'm most encouraged by Spring.  The dead didn't really die.  Trees, flowers, etc., were dormant; but not dead.  Give them some time and God's Creative Surge will flow once again.  Cemeteries do not hold dead bodies; but dormant ones.  All will be back.  All will Spring into rebounding glory.

Yep, God surely has, does, and will make a difference!




Thursday, April 20, 2017

....AND THEN THERE'S THAT ELEMENT CALLED DEATH

Why do we live upon this earth with habitual pretentiousness that we will never die; that we are each the exception to this most dominant rule?  Yes, we know it's coming; but it's always out there sort of in a delay mode so to speak.  This is unfortunate.

I don't mean it's unfortunate that we aren't gloomy and fearful.  Rahter, I mean that we are bull-headed, obstinate, and stubborn about the way we treat others.  Wouldn't impending death significantly alter the way we have slouched into trends of hating and despising others around?  Shouldn't the reminder that we are temporary shake our permissiveness of allowing ourselves to treat others with rudeness and religious score-keeping?

How can we have had it with with others whom we have had little dealings when we put up, by comparison, with the infractious nature of the introspective self?  We are a mess.  Not a few.  Not most.  Every person.

For decades I've watched death ravage our people.  There is something cleansing to inner man as we approach finality's conclusive announcement that this friend of ours, too, has passed.  Why can't we recognize the importance of focusing upon the important truths of people the first 99% of one's life?  Why do the disappointments and betrayals have our permission to take center stage, day in and day out, when toward the end we will work to find healing from such deep injury?

We are bigger than this!  We are designed (well, redesigned at conversion) for a new kind of wholeness that wastes not one crumb of life by begrudging, jealousy, nor irritation toward anyone else.  We don't have time for it.  And, furthermore, we don't really mean it.  Hating another is not who we really are.

Impending death, and then the actuality of it, screams for exchanges of forgiveness and mercy from all parties.  Sure, there are many (I'd guess millions many) who don't believe they can forgive another or ever want to do so.  Yet, when the end comes rushing in, I'm convinced that leaning face to face into Him melts every angst we had so committed to ourselves to harbor against another.

That element of death...should awaken us to what really matters.  Relationships restored are far more important than boundary lines, hurt feelings, blatant betrayals, and worst failures.  Mercy transforms all at the end.  Why not experience it in the beginning and middle as well?

(And yes, rather is misspelled in line four.  I put it there to signal that every day is accompanied by mistakes; our mistakes.  Even so, let us remain convinced that we can still get the message of hope regardless of glitches that continue to arise.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

DON'T BE A GNAT STRAINER

I'm a recovering GnatStrainer.  You know what that is, right?  That's a person who makes mountains out of molehills.  GnatStrainers exaggerate the silly while, simultaneously, ignoring the significant.  People like me get worked up over trivial; but the central issues that really matter seem to go unnoticed.  

Don't be this.


GnatStraining requires combinational fret and worry.  To give attention to such areas, in turn, leaves the gates open to bigger and more authentic concerns.  In actuality, we may be found majoring in minors rather than majoring in majors. Jesus called the latter CamelSwallowing.  


The religious-hearted are great targets for this mistaken style.  The question isn't really, "How did worship go?"  It is rather, "Was God worshiped?"  Life in the church isn't, "Did we do Christianity right?"; but, "Has Jesus made us right?"


GnatStraining, which leads to CamelSwallowing, is such an easy road to travel because it is both nearly unconscious as well as quite socially acceptable.  I cheer us on as we serve in the Kingdom of God as such requires intentional focus.  Distraction is Satan's strong tactic.  


I encourage you to gain momentum in developing a walk with God that is GnatStrain/CamelSwallow free.  Relax.  Don't neglect, but relax, so that you may be attentive to the lives around you that matter in deepest significance and form.  When your life comes to an earthly conclusion and you will have closed your eyes for the final time, will the issues that demanded your energy have really mattered?


You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel...Mt. 23:24...have meaning for our hurried and pressing lifestyles.  May we make our time count by investing in the non-gnat, non-camel trek before us!





Sunday, April 16, 2017

FAITH IS IN THE AIR

It's Easter Sunday.  As is common, for America at least, significant spiritual days have been commercialized to a great extent.  Yet....there's something more that one can't help but note.  The day is still celebrated for its original intent.  Jesus arose from the grave!

Faith is in the air.  Churches will be packed today.  Many who don't usually make it possibly on any of the other fifty-one Sundays will most likely make it today.  That's a good thing.  That's a really good sign.  Why?  Faith is in the air.

Think about it.  Of all days during the year, why would any who don't seem to be necessarily embedded in the church scene unanimously and simultaneously select this one Sunday to make their trek to a spiritual gathering?  Why?

Is it for show?  Is it to salve conscience?  Is it to impress others with their new digs being worn?  Oh, some might fit into such a category...just as on all Sundays.  But there could be something much deeper going on.  It is most likely that faith is in the air stronger than any other Sunday.  This one day shows the true, the deep and real, nature of the inner person.  People believe God.

Within the deepest regions of millions upon millions of individuals, there is a possession of faith in the air that concretely believes that Jesus was real, that he died, and that he rose again.  Added to such an assurance is the drive, by oh so very many, to gather with other believers this day as we join in giving God thanks.  It appears that in the most private zones of mankind's heart, faith in Jesus reigns...strong.

Faith...is in the air...in so many awesome people!  This...is Good Sunday!

Friday, April 14, 2017

THE SHEER FASCINATION THAT STANDS BEFORE YOU!

This is one of the most treasured weekends world-wide.  Good Friday followed by Easter Sunday.  These next three days seem to bring about reflection more than usual as to sober reality regarding earth-life and then eternal-life.  This weekend is packed with sure do hope so on the part of oh so many!

So, I encourage the many readers who are good people; but are quite uncertain about whether this religious thing is for you.  It is.  And...it isn't.

Let's look at the isn't first.  What isn't for you isn't for the rest of us, either.  The habitual, the lifeless, the thoughtless repetitious and weary church-itis plagues many of us in it.  Of course, this causes understandable hesitation among those out of it.

Let's be fair, though, to the is.  The reason this religious thing is for you is because it is very real.  If you don't believe it, take inventory of just how many you know who seem destined to never die.  No, this is always on one's casket list of reality.  The is for you is that there is life after death and it takes a brave and thoughtful faith to yield to it.

On the other hand, that there would be no life after death takes faith to believe that as well.  So, since you are going to invest with some measure of faith, why not go for the one that is more, shall we say, A-L-I-V-E?

Don't you think it about time that some of you sober up a bit about your future?  I cheer you toward the One who beat death.  That would be Jesus.  He is Friend to all; even to the ugliest and most infractious sinners.  That's why we can be in.  Jesus is the Password.

Once you lean toward him, it is time some of you who have not yet been should be baptized.  Romans 6:1-9 is a place you can see for yourselves.  Why would Jesus send the disciples out, in what is known as the Great Commission, to teach and baptize if he didn't expect us to learn and to be baptized?

This Sunday may be your Sunday!  It may be the one where you take a bold step by confessing that Jesus is the one who saves and that you are ready to be buried in baptism.  Millions have.  Millions more will.

Might you have been thinking about this lately?  God is rooting for you...and so am I.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A-N-O-T-B: The Secret to a Disappointless Day!

Don't buy into the tradition of moodiness.  That stuff will suck one under in a blink; in a heartbeat.  No, what we do is acknowledge the value of our profound existence moment by moment.

I once lived a yo-yo life.  Up one day (maybe two) and then down the next (and maybe the next).  I learned through God to make one gigantic correction.  Such a move has allowed my life to get to live.

There are two kinds of days: good days because they are good days and good days because they are bad days.  All one needs to experience this as factual, rather than philosophical, is to learn how to pivot.  Yes, there is a pivot-point in our thinking process which transforms even our negative bummer days into positive blessed ones.

This amazing pivot is found in Romans 5.  The context is actually verses 1-5.  But the monumental and earth-shaking framework of success is found in :3; And not only this but.  That's it?  We are to live by, a seemingly nonsensical, And not only this but?  A-N-O-T-B?  Uh-huh.  Get it?

A-N-O-T-B offers hope, wills hope, is hope!  And what does God say in verse 5?  And hope does not disappoint.  Now, go out and have a disappointless day!

Because His grave is empty.....we win.  Be disappointless!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

YOU ARE PROUD THAT YOU DON'T COMMIT WHICH SIN EXACTLY?

Christianity overall is missing a major mark.  It's cost for doing so surely has to be desperately sizable.  The villain among us?  Personal pride that we, individually, don't sin like other sinners.  This is rampant among us. Furthermore, it is rampantly wrong.

Some of us are proud that we are not liars.  Others are pleased with ourselves that we are not adulterers.  Yet, others find joy in not being gay, not being swindlers, or not being judgmental.  Pride is the key and absolute disruptive word in all of this.

Pride is quite prominently acceptable among we sinners for we are always able to find someone (we self-righteously assume) to be more despicable than ourselves.  This seems to justify permission to let us off of the hook.  But, pride is also sin...a very costly sin.

And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 

"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer.  The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' "

"But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' "

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.' "

Should we operate as did the Pharisee, we find ability to live a false, but surface, life.  We justify our own blatant errors while allowing ourselves the freedom to be quite miffed over another's lesser offense.  Jesus once said to such a crowd, Go ahead.  Throw the first stone; any who are not guilty of your own personal sin.  All walked away.

Humility is truly the call (the need) of the heart.  Do not mistake.  It isn't that sin is not to be called sin.  It is that when we call our own personal violations sin that we are finally able to minister to other sinners for we finally grasp authentically where they hurt, where they wrestle...and even where they grieve.

Do not be filled with pride.  Our failing to commit certain sins is no excuse for the horrendous sins we do commit which drove Jesus to the Cross.  Try to remember your own misdeeds.  From such may we be a help to others rather than a critic.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

AS WE WORSHIP, MAY WE PRAISE GOD

Today is the day where many of us are headed to our zones to be a part of church gatherings.  Our time will be divided between Bible classes and what we call church.  I cheer you on today to conscientiously praise God in this process.

The reason that I bring this most fundamental concept to your attention is that I didn't think about giving attention to God...for years...as a minister.  No.  I was about getting things done; Sunday production.  Classes prepared.  Sermons assembled.  Servants in their designated spots.  You get the idea.  Details had become my habitual god.  I was claiming to worship when what I was really doing was worshiping worship.

Such rote movement eventually developed into an arthritis of the spirit called emptiness.  This is why so many of our very good people finally abandon the church.  To keep one active, connected, and happy without concentrated glory toward God eventually finds that such movement evaporates.

One of the strongest matters God has taught me is to tell Him Thank You repeatedly throughout each day.  It isn't my accomplishment that draws credit.  It is His.  It isn't our works that are to be praised.  It is His.

Faith it vital here.  Christianity based upon sight--tangible experiences we can program and calculate--will fade because the true winning mode is the thread that we cannot see known as faith.  Praying for what isn't yet, but can become, is faith.  Giving dollars, believing God will provide better than our money would have supplied, is faith.  Forgiving one who does not deserve such favor from you....is faith.  Believing God has forgiven us when we are baptized into Jesus...is more faith.

It is within this realm that we learn to praise God for our lives are dependent upon His provision; not our careful calculatory managerial application.  We praise the invisible God for matters for which we strongly hope; while having no substantial verification that such will come about.  We praise God because He knows Life and we want to experience the higher realm of it.

As we worship today, may we relinquish going through the motions of putting in our time.  This habitual procedure kills hearts...our hearts...our children's hearts.  May we come out with our driven appreciation toward Him publicly.  May we robustly give God credit, praise, and honor...from our voices.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

MAY WE GET BACK TO JESUS

Churchers' usual comments are often that we need to get back to the Bible.  That's partially true.  It would be the Bible that holds the genuine article about Jesus the Lamb.  God gave us the Word to learn of the Who that He gave us.  The problem, that we obviously experience, is that within the call to get back to the Bible there has been a major hijacking.  We have gone back to Religious Law and not rebirthed to Life Freedom.  The regulatory fearful would always prefer law over walking out into the Great Unknowing of spiritual potential and possibility.

Jesus is the Gigantic Train Wreck to man's habit; religious or un.  Jesus, not the Bible, hung on a Cross and paid the price.  The Bible is so valued because of such revelation regarding the Son.

As we surely want to increase and improve as students of the Word of God, may we be found to be obsessed with the lifestyle of Jesus and not mere proof-texts to confirm our stances.  Within the spiritual flow of earthlings there are those who love to help the hurting and, then, there are those who would rather just be right.  There is nothing more right than watching Jesus defend the public reject and then you and me trying to follow that ministerial pattern.

As the Word of God builds our faith, may we find that the target has always been to know Jesus rather than knowing Bible....You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.  I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves (John 5:39-42).

It's an interesting thing in that as we transition from getting back to the Bible to getting back to Jesus, moods improve, effectiveness escalates, and the community is relieved of our religious holier than Thou facial expressions.

Friday, April 07, 2017

THE TRADITION OF NOT FOLLOWING TRADITION

One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is his statement in Matthew 15:8-9, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.  His is a most dramatic statement.  The church often boasts of refusing to follow the tradition-bound trends created by man only to jealously protect our very own well-oiled, personally-preferred traditions.

This was such a contest in Jesus' daily walk.  At every turn, in effort to do the work of God, Jesus was met with stern oppositional rebuke.  And did such come from the gamblers and the murderers and the liars?  No.  It always came from the religious sort; leaders no less.

This puts guys like me in a most vulnerable position.  We study the Word to learn of God.  Yet, I have found so easily that my destination can soon shift to building an invisible self-support system to what I believe at this point.  To believe is honorable.  But to view such as permanent arrival with no room for question, adjustment, or even maturity is to become a blocked artery in the health of God's vibrant calling for all mankind.

The tradition we are to practice is twofold; following with increasing clarity the call of Jesus while, simultaneously, avoiding the following of man's habitual practices that come not from Holy Inspiration.  There.  Is.  A.  Difference.  One gives life.  The latter kills....just as Jesus said it would.

The religious tradition of man leads to boredom, indifference, animosity, or aggression.  Odd, don't you think that of those four, some are the opposite of the other?  The religious tradition of God is the opposite.  We still stand for something; but our stance shifts from holding up those man-made practices we've always enjoyed to learning yet newer advancements of the greatest cause on earth.

Being a part of church is anything but simple.  It takes faith in God while being ever-aware of the need for personal correction and reproof.  II Timothy 3:16:17 calls believers to make perpetual adjustments of the things which God would see warrant a shift.  We keep the things of His and discard the matters of us.  Such is a holy tradition of consistently pruning our self-created traditions.

This takes thought, action, which usually begins with repentance.  Because I am a learner, at this late stage of my ministry, I consistently find myself in Kindergarten.  This would be simply because, the longer I live, God keeps getting bigger.  And, when God keeps getting bigger, I keep getting smaller.  When we believe God we lose ground, our own ground, that we might move into His more life-affording territory.


Thursday, April 06, 2017

A GREAT INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS CARPENTER

https://youtu.be/WaW7q4sBVs8

Be encouraged, any viewer who is in that mode of wondering if God would be a fit for you.  And...if there's anything that I can do to cheer you on, email me at trush@memorialdrive.org.  Eventually, everyone wants to know about God.  I am one who is in your corner.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

WE LIVE IN A WORLD BIGGER THAN US

Being human is such a strange concept.  We walk about so many matters feeling so ultra-small.  Yet, we tend to function as if we are the star of every show.  Least or most?  Smallest and biggest?  No wonder life is perplexing.

So here's what I see going on with me (with us).  In order for us to be in charge of our day, we likely find it necessary to restrict others.  We do so by making those around us march to our narrow drumbeat.  The result is that we call the shots while others are not allowed to express their insights and talents.  We want them to do life the way "I" think we should do it.

To further complicate it, we balk at the new ideas or the strange ways of others.  Yet, this is precisely what creativity is all about.  Not all flowers are Tulips.  Not all trees are Elm.  Roses would be quite frustrated if required to live by Tulipology when this isn't in their DNA.  

I encourage us to live from His Imagination rather than our own shy, timid, and restricted one.  Think about it.  Consider His artistic flow where He created the Rocky Mountains, the Amazon River, the Sahara Desert, and then there's Jupiter.  God is this Creative mogul who has out-done, out-figured, out-imagined all of the most curious scientists combined.  The most they can do is to try to specialize in one remote area of where God's hand deals in uncapturable wonder.  

We live in a world bigger than us.  Fight it if you must.  But beware that if we do, we lose.  Or, a better way might be to dare lean into it and enjoy it.  Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, and Walt Disney each hit upon a mere sneeze compared to the massive awe of our Creator.  

Live like you know the One who is always revealing His latest gadget called new life!


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

EXCUSE ME...BUT IS THAT A GAS CHAMBER AROUND YOUR NECK?

Can you imagine a necklace with a form of a gold gas chamber dangling?  How about a gold hangman's noose lapel pin?  Or...how about a gold cross?  You know...jewelry?

These questions are intended to draw into perspective the loss we have suffered as the perspective of the Cross has shifted dramatically from a death to decoration...even in the church.  Christianity has long been about many things except for dying for others including our enemies.  Basically, we refuse the assignment.

Decor; how we look, how we appear, how others are treating us has become costume jewelry coupled with definite intention of going through church without stress.  We believe that we don't need it.  More dramatically, we don't believe we deserve it.  Yet, even enemies can't get well if someone doesn't die for them.  That's precisely what Jesus did for us...while we were enemies...Romans 5:1-11.

I don't like upset.  You don't like upset.  Jesus calls us to pick up our cell phones and follow him.  That isn't exactly our interpretation; but it may be closer to our practice.

Yet, Christianity is a cell group of people called to not get our way.  This is why we can't run, can't quit just because there develops a strong heat in the kitchen.  Carrying our crosses is majorly significant for it is who we are to be.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (II Cor. 12:10).  

Are you serious?  We are a people who abide in contentment when insults are hurled our way?  Distress?  Even the slightest thing called difficulty?  We are content with these?  Um...I think we are basically anything but content.  I see us become agitated, irritated, and fumigated (that last one will take some thought).

Don't get me wrong.  I am the sort that really likes happy.  I like others happy and I'm especially fond of me being happy.  Yet, this isn't reality and smiley faces are not the emblem of the church.  It is the Cross.  We are to take it up and follow.  This is different than whether we like the programs offered or the worship style preferred.  This is about me not getting my way and praising God for it...over...and then over some more.

Deathstyle is our lifestyle.

So I raise my voice again to plead with any who want to quit because of being mistreated.  For any who wish to bail on a relationship because you are being disrespected, I would encourage you to not  wear a cross but to let your cross wear you.  We have become so very selfishly touchy that church has to be our way or the highway.

I'm saying the road to heart satisfaction and spirit joy is found only on the uphill trek while we have a cross strapped to our backs.  We must believe that gnarly and hateful individuals will surrender to Jesus if they can find a Jesus-like follower who will die for them.

We are called to difficulty and stress.  That is the nature of the church.  We live in resurrection power.  And resurrection power is always the need when one has been slain and can not make comeback on his own.  That.  Be.  Who.  We.  Are.  Supposed.  To.  Be.