Friday, September 22, 2017

FAITH: THE GIGANTIC FALL FROM GRASPABILITY!

Ephesians 3:20 is ungraspably graspable!  We are to get it; to understand it.  Yet, its content and context is so magnificent that not only can we not grasp it, we aren't supposed to.  That's the point of the verse.  We are to get it that we can't get it.  We can only believe it.

Yes, we are to believe it.  This is a wild train wreck to the minds who only believe God as far as we can throw Him (explain, understand, express Him).  In essence church has become the product of the best, or most respected, thinkers among us.  Yet, leadership must be presented under the mantle of faith--a purely unprovable, unexplainable, unthinkable dimension of which usually bugs the spiritual tar out of us.

The key to faith is to yield into it being graspably ungraspable!  Faith truly is one gigantic fall from graspability.  It is within these unborders that the impossible becomes possible; that the can't become actually becomes.

The Spirit of Christ reigns over a systemic factuality that will not submit itself to the highest scientific borders nor the strongest mathematical restrictions.  He does this through one quality available to all mankind; faith.  Read the Word.  Story after story after story; what couldn't possibly happen did.  What held His people in fierce bondage couldn't.

Church is destined to be platitudinously dull?  Oh....I don't think so!  Not with a beyond our imagination God like ours!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

CONSERVATIVE-ITES AND LIBERAL-ITES ARE CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH

There is such a strangeness about you and me.  We have our likes and dislikes.  There are those topics we find controversial on one hand while others note the same discussion is loaded with intrigue.  The strangeness is how we seem to assume that we are in one camp or another when, in reality, we are very much alike.  

Liberals view conservatives with a rolling of the eyes.  Conservatives squint through theirs as they smirk the Liberalites.  Yet, truth be told, we are all exactly alike.  We are correct in our judgment in places.  And then, we (all of we) hold errant positions....of which we do our best to deny.

Each group thanks God they are not like the other.  Profoundly, God says we are just alike; that we seem to plod through this wonder called life with a bee in our bonnet at how off-base they are.

Here's the sticky wicket.  Liberals are conservative in areas.  These may be open to new ideas yet stingy in their giving.  Conservatives are liberal in areas.  These most likely hold to strict view of scriptures while liberally dismissing those teachings which don't float their boat.  This goes on day by day...in both camps.

God declares that we are to drop the perpetual drive to live by comparison.  Our position is never to be how well we are doing compared to another for we are all alike.  Each of us possesses both tendencies; liberal and conservative.  It just depends on the topic at hand.   

For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
                                                               II Corinthians 10:12

Yep!  Conservative-ites and Liberal-ites are just like each other...and this really seems to get under our skin.  But if we could see it (admit it) about ourselves, the harmony and unity driven by the Spirit just might be significantly refreshing....for all of us!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HOW TO OVERCOME THE "QUITTERS" MENTALITY

Much damage is done, it seems, everywhere we turn.  From natural disasters to human casualties, pain reigns in, oh so many, hearts.  The toughest is death; not just the physical death of a loved one, but the relationship death when we walk away from one another.  One of the strongest destructions within the framework of humanity is the "Quitting" factor where we give up on others and walk away.  Family?  Church?  Goals?  Career?

Something happened along the way of my walk at the Memorial Drive congregation that turned my world upside down...in a positive way.  Before Tulsa, I'd been at my first church one year.  My next two years.  And then Tulsa forty years.

Memorial was significantly discouraging in 1977.  Having just fired the preacher in a brutal battle within the congregation, I found myself to be the target of much congregational Hatfield vs. McCoy-isms....caught in the middle of a church whirl I knew nothing about.  An unlikely scenario came into simultaneous play.  I began receiving multiple inquiries as to whether I would consider relocating with other churches.  (I joked that if any such invitations for me to move were to come from outside of Memorial, I might consider it!)

In the middle of church hostility, I made a decision that has turned out to bless my heart deeply.  I share it should such do the same for you.  I decided two things: to stop the pattern of quitting and moving on, plus I determined to learn what it was God was trying to teach me with all of these trials.  My conclusion was that I wasn't going to learn what I was supposed to learn in year three of a local work if I kept moving away by year 2.  I made the decision to learn what it was that hadn't developed within me yet.

Here's one thing I saw unfold.  Endurance is a biblical theme which carries a sober message much needed by all of us every day.  I learned things in year ten at one church that I wouldn't have learned in two five-year terms elsewhere.  I experienced the revealing of God in year thirty-six that I may not have seen within nine-year terms at four different congregations.

Do not misunderstand.  I'm not saying that one does not naturally learn simply through the measure of time as we age.  But what I want to convey is that I began to wonder if I were to move on after two years, would I carry to the next job two years worth of sermons and experience that would not afford me the insights gained from longer tenure.

Now, for those who have served ten churches in ten years, I'm not saying your labor doesn't matter.  The Apostle Paul never lasted a whole year and he served God fairly well, don't you think?  No, my emphasis is not in the number of years one rings up at one location.  My goal is to get you to personally make a correction in your walk that is a threat to every one of us; stop the quitting.  Learn, rather to learn when under fire.  You may choose to move on (for God may be calling you to such); but learn from your struggles rather that run from them.

Throughout the Scriptures, the disciples encountered rough stuff.  Such is the core design of the church.  We are called to "take up" our crosses.  I'm watching too many throw them down in frustration.  The Cross IS frustration...the intentional pain for which we volunteer so that the hurting ones out there can find reason/hope to come alive.

We are to die that others might live....so don't quit.  Learn to learn what it is you lack in order to reach the whole dying world.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

GOD'S LOGIC IS DIFFERENT THAN OUR LOGIC

Now when God as "Logos", meaning, or logic (not logic in the rational sense, but logic in the patterns of reality) is missing, there is no meaningful direction or purpose in our lives...To put it plainly, change, death, and transformation are part of the deal!  Resurrection and renewal are the final goal and results...There is no renewal without loss.
                                                                        Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance

Have we not turned the fabulicity of God on its head?  Have we not reversed His intention and logic to fit man's lower genius?  Do we not spend much of our time fighting change, dreading death, and blocking transformation?  These opportunities are all around us everywhere we turn.

I urge you to dare enter the throes of death that He could lead you to emerge in the powers of life.  The great stuff is usually threatened head on by the the dreaded stuff.

One of my fiercest battles was leaving Quincy, Illinois and moving to preach for Memorial Drive in Tulsa.  I died a thousand deaths.  But looking back on the past forty years, I was rebirthed a thousand times.

And yourself?  You are facing what?  Uncertainty?  Fear?  Dread?  In the words of Jesus, Do not be afraid.  It so often turns out that we are not the boss of self.  Fear is.  Fear not only imposes itself upon us personally, but we even transfer it over to those around us.  Our counsel to our loved ones is oft to be found, not in the realm of logic defying faith but, within the scheme of luring dread.

Logic is the way to go.  But, it must be of God for His....is different than ours.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

WHEN THE "IM" IS TRIMMED

The world around us contains incredible fascination; immeasurably so in numerous places.  Too, our very same world suffers disarray due to the insyncrinization of oh so many simultaneous conflicts.  We have reason to celebrate on one hand and to be dismayed on the other.

What is one to do?

One is to learn of the game-changer, the difference-maker, which is the simplicity of faith.  Faith has been reduced in our culture to wait n see.  If what we had hoped happens, then we label it faith.  If it doesn't happen, we call it a lack of faith.  But faith is to be in the lead; not trailing from the back of the activity, result-oriented, pack.

Romans 4:17 is one of the difference-maker passages.  Faith believes.  Faith believes that even dead and hopeless settings can possess life within.  Too, it firmly believes that something can come from nothing.  This is profound!  Awesome!  Unordinary!

Much of what we call faith may be nothing more than a working rote.  Faith blows the mind of the practical for it effectively reaches into the impossible and eliminates the im.

I have no idea how many times I face the perfect opportunity to exert faith only to fail due to my own timidity and fear.  Yet, I cheer you on (me on) to grow in faith that we might change the things needing change; that we might dream beyond our short-sighted habits of religious routine.

Jesus changeS the world.  He isn't just historical.  He is legitimate Creator of new possibility!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

ExerShopping: Working Out the Body while Building the Economy

ExerShopping is a combinationalistic workout that's just too fun, too easy, and all-the-while eliminates the dreads of getting started on any given day.  ExerShopping is the new trend to put enthusiastic pep in your step.

Here's how it works.  First of all, this workout can be done in any store or may also be acclimated to a mall.  The good news is that the expenditure of energy is not restricted to the walking portion; of which there is a great amount of such.

In addition, ponder the stretches involved.  The core workout of reaching and lifting the item one may, indeed, want to purchase eats away the calories.  Simultaneously, muscle mass is on the increase.  Next consider the stretches of reaching for your billfold, handing the clerk your money and, of course, reaching again for the receipt.  The limber-effect is maintained.

ExerShopping is more than merely maintaining flexibility as well as stamina via walking the entire range of the mall.  It builds more than the body.  It builds the economy.  Yes, ExerShopping extends employment to sales personnel and stock boys and janitorial services not to mention manufacturing jobs and delivery requirements.  The impact that an ExerShopper has on the welfare of the local economy is certainly in domino effectivity.

Get your workout.  Spend money.  You'll be happy while you make others so happy.  It's yet another win-win situation.  Go.  For.  It.  You'll be in better physical health.  Your community will be in better financial health.  And, you will enjoy every moment of it to the extent that you'll want--you will want--to ExerShop multiple times per day.

You are welcome.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

THE ART OF HELPING OUR CHILDREN LOSE

Parenting is a tedious, glorious, heart-warming, and tedious privilege.  And, did I mention tedious?  I wish to encourage parents to reclaim a grace in the family system that is ordinarily tossed out on its ear as useless; as a loser with no value.  I speak of when matters do not go the way the child wanted whether grade report, gift received, or rejection in general.

Anyone can cheer their children on in victory.  It's the ugly defeating moments which are also impregnated with value; extremely useful.  Usually, though, such moments are quickly covered up with some smoke-screem reward so that hopefully son or daughter doesn't remember long the suffering of their disappointment of being rejected.

But what if these moments are, instead, useful?  What if we don't rush to cover up so that the defeated will soon forget?  What if, rather, points of victory are found in the center of defeat?  Isn't that what Israel encountered when they were being driven toward the sea with assumed ultimate drowning?  Isn't that what Jesus discovered upon the Cross?  Isn't that what Peter found when he failed the Son of God?  Isn't that what Paul found when imprisoned?

In each case, God did the remarkable to the extent that if in these four occasions there had not been turbulantic stress and confusion, there would have been no occasion for elaborate and perpetual celebration...to this very day!  So it is with our children's bad days.  Each experience is infused with life-lessons of awaiting wow and awe for the next God-story.

I cringed, often wept, at each of my three kids' demise.  But I also learned that such moments were opportunities for timely training.  Find the value in suffering.  Yes, your heard me.  God doesn't waste any moments and neither must we.

We must for the Kingdom trek is all about---all about--suffering according to the pattern.  When we don't train in the midst of trial, we may rear a bunch of talk-big, attend-a-lot-of-things quitters.  If not groomed to suffer and keep on going, stresses and disappointments will likely quench the fire in what was supposed to be strong and vibrant hearts.

In general, today's society doesn't do struggle.  We excuse.  We cover.  We blame.  We run.  I know the temptation.  I know the pain.  I have failed and been failed.  I have hurt and been hurt.  Yet, I always somehow knew to go to school during the rough times...and learn...learn deeper the ways of Jesus.  It is in the, what we would call, trenches that anyone grows.

It isn't in the squeaky-clean atmosphere of sweet church; but in the crushing blows of hurt feelings and deeper offences that our boys and girls become men and women who refuse to tuck tail and run.  Rather, these learn bravery through the training...the repeated training of spiritual endurance.

When your child has a bad day, try to remember that he or she is in a special school learning how to reach the multitudes of rejected ones who are have their bad days and will one day could be their converted friends; their neighbors.  We don't win souls by lecture....nor convenience.  We win by living from the Cross He handed us...and it must not be projected as an easy, no-bother path.  Children are to be trained as children not to just go to church...but be the church where it isn't always a ballgame of sorts; nor a picnic.

Therefore life in the church will be both troublesome and rewarding....both...not just the one we prefer.  May we be attentive to the specifics of training our children to experience victory...even in the losses.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

HOW CONFIDENCE AND HUMILITY CO-EXIST

Question: Are we to be confident or not?  If we are, how then does this align with humility?
Answer: Perfectly.

At first glance, one could develop personal confidence in self to soon evolve into an ego trek of being self-assured, self-directed, and self-provided.  Self-confidence has an initial sound of health and stability.  Yet, it isn't because eventually the self reaches the end of its ultimately weak rope.  

Enter humility.

Humility is the game-changer.  Humility leads, in a way, from the back of the human concentration pack.  The secret to it is its remarkable answer to the "confidence" question.  Humility is not a quiet self-confidence; but rather it is a steadfast visionary confidence in Jesus.  Our assurance of strength, supply, and accuracy of life is based upon the ever-funding work of the Spirit of Christ; not of our calculating, always refiguring selves.

We find ourselves to be faced with one unreachable hurdle after another.  Personally, we are sunk...when on our own.  But....but we are not on our own.  We are on His own.  Jesus isn't just the theme of songs nor the topic of Bible studies.  Jesus is the New Life residing within....within us!  Jesus has knocked on our doors and asked if he could rent out our spaces.  

We....say yes!  Enter in!  Soon!

Life pops when confidence--a new kind of assurance--is based upon Jesus rather than our own talents or good breaks or wishful thinking.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; so he says.  We are not; so we eventually discover.  We need him to get all of this done for us.  Confidence, when based upon Jesus and not the self, is the perfect partner to humility as the two walk down the corridors hand in hand.

Yay Him....and, therefore yay for us!  Confidence and humility co-exist when the directives of God are established.  And...we like it!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE WAKE-UP CALL TO AMERICA

There is a glorious thing going on in the United States at the moment.  Disaster has hit a segment of us with might and power not recently known until now.  Texas was recently pounded only to note Florida's more recent slug fest.  Our hearts are corporately awakened to the wonder of what really matters...others.

While we do not wish misfortune upon any segment of our brotherly/sisterly human family, we certainly find that usual distractions of me, me, and more me have a tendency to fade.  Our wake-up call blesses us for we actually hurt with deep sympathy toward sufferers of life's interruptions rather than the scores of our local sports teams.

Today it is Texas and Florida who encounter hurricane muscle.  Tomorrow?  Tomorrow may be an earthquake in the West or an ice storm in the Central states.  Regardless, the results will be similar; devastation and blessings.  People will share rather than hoard.  We will tend to those in desperate need rather than hunker down in some sort of self-preservation.

The wake-up call to America has always been a moment of wonder.  Presidents have been assassinated, space shuttles have exploded in mid-air, and mountains have caved in.  In these, and other catastrophes, a thread continued....America pulled together like it should have always done.

Blessings upon those who have hurt in the past.  Blessings to those who are in the throes of deep stress now.  And may blessings be prepared for those who are slammed next by suffering too deep for words.  We seem to live wide awake in normal life.  Yet, when tragedy hits we awaken even more as we will not waste such moments.  No, we will rather roll up the sleeves of our hearts and reach out to serve one another.

We all take our turns....at serving...and at being served.  Blessings to all was we walk through this day with hearts grateful to God that He's got this.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

HAVOC OR HEALING?

Watching the aftershock of Hurricane Harvey and the introduction to Hurricane Irma, devastation x devastation mounts.  The death and the damage are so enormous, it is surely unknowable.  Who could ever gather the cost factor alone to such supreme wreckage?

With repeated scenes of destruction embedded into our minds, consider something astoundingly beautiful.  God sees our personal lives in even worse disarray than the turmoil we see on the evening news.  Mankind is strewn to the point of even unrecognizable levels from coast to coast; border to border....day after day.  Reports are endless.  

Set that massive devastation for every person in your mind.  And then ponder....consider what God does for us.  The healing he offers to the deeply ripped and sorely ruined masses is exactly His will.  

How would you feel if there were a Divine Hurricane that could breezed through Florida right now?  What would it be like if this DH swept through the wreckage; but this kind of hurricane is the opposite of the harsh one?  This particular one put wreckage back together.  This Hurricane strikes at the edges of plastered cities and leaves behind newly constructed houses, resurrected office complexes, and restored people healed from both injury and....even death.  This would be beyond fascination, huh?

And this is precisely what Jesus does for us.  His spirit sweeps through our sufferings from acute demolition and brings back the new (even newer) that we had earlier lost during repeated storms.  Father God has hit broken, ruined mankind with a punch like no one has ever seen.  His punch doesn't finish us off...but starts us up!

Four times the Bible uses a most incredible word: propitiation.  Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, First John 2:2, and First John 4:10 offer Good News that's too good to be true.  Mankind, stumped by our own misery and sin, is slammed with the Hurricane of Healing.  God sweeps across our worried and confused hearts and rebuilds us into beautiful and unexplainable wonder!

Romans 3:25...Jesus was displayed as propitiation; taking our place on the Cross in order to free us.
Hebrews 2:17...Jesus was made to be like us in order to pay for our misdeeds, our misjudgments.
First John 2:2...God's Son swept through, paid our debt, and restored our hearts.
First John 4:10...God sent His son to pay for our sins.

Propitiation is the key to this most sweeping wind which is straight out of Heaven.  It's a word that one can hardly pronounce; let alone grasp.  Try to get the picture.  If a Heavenly Hurricane could sweep over devastation tonight and would reveal total reversal of rebuilding and robust enthusiasm for the people by morning...this would be the cause and effect of propitiation.  

This doesn't happen to our worldly goods.  It does happen intentionally to our souls.  God doesn't wreak havoc with us as we try to follow Him.  Rather, He wreaks healing!!!  The world barks, gnaws, and storms at us by landing rudely directly in our paths.  And then God...our powerful Father...will not allow such interruption to have the last say.  He shouts, "Propitiation!".....

.......and we all say, "Wow!  Look at how new everything is!"

Thursday, September 07, 2017

TWO OPPOSING, YET SIMULTANEOUS, REALMS OF REALITY

You do know that we experience two worlds in any given moment.  Right?  One walks by faith.  Or, one walks by sight.  Yet, quite oddly, both realms exist for immediate experience based upon one's chosen perspective.

Faith is the call of God.  Faith has taken a pretty significant hit in the Christian realm because we tend too often two switch it over to sight...yet, only to continue call it faith.  Quite often the faith-walk has been transferred back to a more of a wait and see operation.  The undermining word to the spiritual process is see.

Present seeing is reality at any given moment.  Present faith is reality at any given moment.  But one is not to be assumed to be the other for oddly both realms, in fact, see.  Sight sees.  Faith, however, sees during the very same situation; but with an opposing perspective.  This surely keeps us on our toes as at the reading of this we are likely saying, Huh?  This may verify the challenge of which I speak.

Peter was in the boat.  Storms were a-brew.  Jesus came walking on the water.  Peter was floored.  Jesus called upon him to get out of the boat and walk toward him...a very opposing, yet simultaneous realm of reality existed for this common fisherman.  Both avenues are present; not just one.  Opting for Jesus, Peter actually walked on the water; which at the moment was a very authentic realm of opposite reality.

However, the sight-matter changed.  Peter shifted from seeing Jesus to seeing threatening waves; the very intimidators that had always been present when he walked looking to Jesus.  At that point, the waves indeed existed; but Peter was giving them no mind.  Once he split his attention (sight), an immediate sinking feeling inserted itself into the lineup.

So it is with our walk.  We tend to reduce faith to be a matter of how things work out.  We tend to believe that they just happened with little dependence upon or responsible perspective.  But all faith is awaiting our assertive perspective.  That's what faith is.

The faith term has been reduced to handy-ism, thoughtless-ism, and shrug-ism.  It either happens or else it doesn't.  But, not true.  Faith isn't a hurried-past step in the plan of salvation.  Faith opens the windows of the working heavens, the hand of God, at the very simultaneous moment of when opposing situations crowd in to intervene.

(I awakened just now this morning.  And this is what He told me.  It's all a sight issue.  We select what we prefer to see.  So I send it your way.  Have a new kind of day!)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

TRY TO BE HERE

When you read such a title, do you get the impression that you are being called to go somewhere?  That you are being summoned to move; to be on the move to get to another destination?  Yet, what if...what if...it is a call to the opposite?  What if this is a motion to be present....where you are...now, like in trying to be alert to the wonder of the moment?

That's precisely the intended call.

Have you ever been talking to one across a table and, while they were facing you, you sensed their minds were off in another world?  (Sorry men.)  This is the tendency of daily mankindness; ever wandering off into another moment of past conversation or another future event while seldom present for the here and now.  This is a blatant waste of yourself.

Why would you imagine and dream for improvement if you know that you will not give attention to the destined accomplishment of which you had envisioned because, when you get there, your mind will be off attending to another moment; past or future?   This would be the way I lived for decades.  Seldom did I treasure the moment for I was imaginarily engaged in other moments.

Should we be appreciative of the glory found in recall?  And wouldn't we want to be visionaries of what can be?  Of course.  Of course.  Of course.

However, living in the past and future without noting the profound blessings of the now is to miss out on a part of the strongest fabric of living.  Try to experience now.  It seems Jesus was continually calling the disciples into the moment.  See the lilies of the field.  Note the grass.

Our days are not trouble free, admittedly.  But to listen to some, one could conclude that they must be blessing free (meaning they have no blessings).  They are not.  Our days are full of riches, and glory, and thrill, and joy.  Let your mind dwell on the multiple things going right.  Fill your hearts with appreciation for what is....now.

Wouldn't it be quite an accomplishment for many of us to stop the chatter, close our ears to the whining, and take note of the privilege of being alive...now...at-the-moment kind of right now?  The truth could be that often the glory of God's grace is knocking at our door...but we aren't home.  Instead we are out roaming around in the maze of elsewhere, all the while forgetting to live in the present.

Try to be here.


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

EPIDEMIC HESITATION: Many Want to Know About God But....

I am focusedly sympathetic to a specific kind of individual who lives among us.  I speak of the one(s) who inwardly wonder if this God-stuff could have any legitimacy, yet they don't know how to go about inquiring safely.  By safely, I mean these aren't sure that they want their friends to know that they are having second thoughts about God's reality.  Too, there is incredible uncertainty as to what believing in God might actually entail.

The thought by so many is to stand back and remain unnoticed by colleagues.  Yet, what if?  What if this God-Bible-Church idea isn't a hoax afterall?  What if you and your cronies' constant jokes about churches and those in them are way off base.  That's what I discovered to be the case.

In John chapter 3, there is a story of a man named Nicodemus.  He sought out Jesus privately by night.  This one just already happened to be a significant religious leader in his own right.  Yet, Jesus was quite a challenge for this leader as many in his neighborhood assumed that he already spoke clearly for God.

He went by night to talk with Jesus?  That must be significant else it wouldn't need to be inserted into the text.  Was Nicodemus afraid of what he might hear?  Did he make such move because he didn't want colleagues seeing him?  The point I wish to make is that not everyone is immediately ready to rush out in public with their vocal enthusiasm for following God.  And such a one is, indeed, still very able to learn of Him...in private if such a climate would give the seeker room to ponder, consider, weigh.

So consider an assortment of ideas regarding the inner desire of oh so many who secretly want to know/wonder about God and His legitimacy.

  1.  God gets it.  He inserted the story of Nicodemus in a way to signal that He understands hesitancy.

  2.  All who are devoted to God live in the church in some form of hesitation.  We hold back, even after we are committed to following Him, because we are each crammed full of uncertainties about...ourselves.  Therefore, you are free to join the crowd!

  3.  To enter the Kingdom of God is to be born again.  Think about birth for a moment. When we are born we know nothing!  We don't even know that we are alive!  Yet, what's more precious than a newborn who eats, sleeps, and poops at random?  Frankly, being born again in the spirit has many similar traits including fumbling with the new concepts, ideas, and approaches.  Join in!

Newborns in the church are our happiest moments!

I'm one who knows that there is an epidemic of hesitation going on.  Good people, very awesome, genuinely great people, want to know God; but don't know where to begin.  I get it because I was one of those.  So many of us in the church were one of those!

Relax.  Fumble in learning; but what's new?  You've most likely done that in every venture of your growing/maturing life.  Get over it.  Come out of the epidemic hesitation...even if you have to approach someone in the dark about matters of faith that you are beginning to weigh.  You are a good person....so valuable that God (The God) died on the Cross for you (torturously so) in hopes that you would one day risk giving yourself a fair shake at just learning of His potential toward you.

Break the bonds of Epidemic Hesitation....shall we?  Refuse to keep the intimidating crowds from letting you learn about one of the most important truths of your entire life....your personal, hopeful eternity.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

A LITTLE BIT LOST; A LITTLE BIT SAVED

Christianity has developed a thinking that is crucially wrong as well as subtly deadening to the heart.  It seems that we may have taken the extremes of life and neutered them to be somewhat momentary samples rather than living experiences.  This constant struggle of believing that we are only a little bit saved is a direct backfire due to a falsely coordinated belief (self-imposing doctrine) that we are only a little bit lost.

Oh sin is sin; do not forget.  Yet, insistent middle-of-the-roaders interpret such strenuous fact for others; seldom for self.  Judgment of others is easier this way.  We don't know how they can dare do what all they do.  All the while, our (my) particular sins?  Well....well they are indeed toughies that will require patience and understanding (of me, with me, toward me).

Here's the Truth.  We are found in the eyes of God to initially be very extremely lost.  This, therefore, elevates salvation as moving us from being deeply lost to become, rather, very Good News!

Extremes?  Oh, we churchers say we don't believe in extremes.  We see ourselves as more...well as more stable.  And, we have a name for thosens; R A D I C A L S.  But what would be more extreme/more radical than transitioning from eternally lost to forever saved?

Extremes?  Jesus beaten to a bloody pulp before and during the Cross only to be raised in a clean bill of new health seventy-two hours later.  That.  Is.  What.  One.  Would.  Call.  Extreme.

So here's an area that creates incredible sluggishness in the body of Christ; the church.  Our sins should more than strand us.  They should break us.  Yet, there's more...much more.  Upon realization of one's personal sins is the stunning belief that we who have been buried in baptismal waters are experiencing a resurrected new life!  This is the message from Heaven; cleansed by His blood day by day.

When one shifts into this mode of much lost to much saved, a new person(ality) develops.  Gratitude reigns.  Criticism of others diminishes.  Relief becomes prominent for self...and certainly for others.  Life seems to transfer from drudgery in the Kingdom to abundant joy, hope, and opportunity.  One actually takes on the world of Heaven while here on earth!

The truth is that everyone is very MUCH LOST.  When one encounters Jesus, we become very MUCH SAVED; not a little bit, not just a scent of such, but over-the-top actuality.  When the church moves from going through the motions created by a false standard of a little bit lost/a little bit saved, the True Standard will arise from hiding.  Hearts will be relieved...as well as refreshed.

Jesus didn't suffer excruciating pain on the Cross so that followers could walk with a hesitating limp known as nebulous faith...whatever that is.  No.  Jesus was raised that we tip our eyes toward the wonder and the glory and the awe of the present moment and all future present moments.  That's what we could call being "all in".

Become new.  We were a lot lost.  We are a lot saved.  The latter changes EVERYTHING!