Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Emmanuel עמנואל, "God is with us" (part 1)

That seems to be the only possible title for a post that endeavors to describe the many ways in which God's been faithful to me in the past year...I truly am the grateful recipient of His grace which is defined as the unmerited favor of God.
What else can I say?

He loves me!

It's the only way I can begin to understand how my family has once again very comfortably "made it" through another year! Especially a year like this past one in which so many were negatively affected. As it draws to a close and I look back on the many ways Gods cared for us I feel many emotions. First of all I'm humbled,and then I'm bewildered at His love for me. It's hard to truly understand what I mean unless you're someone like myself who is at times perhaps a bit more "human" than most in that I have a history of making more than my share of mistakes and bad choices. Most people find it pretty easy to explain away the "near miss" or disregard what could've happened under slightly different circumstances but I can't. I suppose that's because I've seen it happen so many times or perhaps it's because I've been "blessed" to see myself so clearly for who and what I really am without Him.
It's been quite a year for me, the job I had at the beginning of the year ended when the teenage girl I was working as support staff for flipped out one day and took an overdose of her prescription drugs. It was quite traumatic for everyone involved, afterwards everyone was put under investigation by the department of mental health. I was cleared of any charges of neglect,which is a very big deal and I was extremely relieved. I knew I hadn't done anything wrong but I also know that people get wrongly blamed for stuff all the time.
Thank You God!
My next job was a blessing in it's self. I worked over the summer for the Eleven Point River canoe rental outfitter in my hometown shuttling people down to the river to go on float trips!
It was a great experience for me to meet so many interesting people and to be able to play a part in their summer fun! Where I live is such a beautiful place and I never grew tired of introducing others to it's wonders. Oh,and on top of all that I got paid for it!

God...You're my rock,and you ROCK!

Among the things I'm most thankful for this year I have to include being invited to join a small study/worship group which meets at a friend's home nearby. For a while prior to that I had stopped going to church. I soon found the groups emphasis on study and open discussion as well as the great time of fellowship we shared to be just what was missing!
It's wonderful to come together with other Christian's and really be the church to those in need in your own community. That's what attracted me to become involved with an organization called One Hope Outreach located in my hometown of Springfield, Mo. They're focus is helping homeless people find permanent housing and empowering them to make positive changes in their lives. This photo was taken at a fundraiser which was held at a local restaurant.
Thank You Father for meeting ALL of my needs, both physical and spiritual! Thank You for giving my life meaning and purpose!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Think You Know

I've always thought that one of the things I do best is to understand (and sometimes explain) abstract concepts. I'm certainly not a concrete linear thinker so that's all that's "left" right?

Today,as I reclined in my chair, lost in the serenity of the view outside my window Ihad one of those disoriented moments...It happened as I was making the transition. It was a moment in which the perceived insanity of this world seemed so clearly juxtaposed against the peace and tranquility of the world I had drifted off into,and like going from hot to cold the effects were magnified.

My next thoughts were analytical and seemed to question the authenticity of what I was experiencing and it's relevance to anyone besides myself but the case was quickly lost. I knew it was more than just my own egocentric flattery... No,the observance of this familiar topography was a product of months,perhaps even years, of subversive confoundment at the perfect storm of circumstances that seemed to not only be following me but hanging over the whole world as well!

One very dark cloud that's predominant characteristic or quality lies in the inability of anyone to put their finger directly upon it

I've noticed that everyday the water seems to get muddier. That with each new shocking headline or catastrophe I become a little more jaded. With the advent of each new previously unthinkable event we're forced to redefine what is reality.Have you ever wondered "What next?" And then,wanting to turn directly towards that roaring sound you hear creeping up on you, you begin to move only to be halted by your sternest inner parental tone barking out for you to do anabout face back towards "reality"? Often it's accompanied or supported by another inner voice espousing the convincing logic of continuity, the notion that what hashappened will always continue on and on,and to think otherwise is well...foolish

2 Peter 3:3-4

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

To me it's no mere coincidence that this is also the concept science bases much of what it espouses to be true upon. That this is the threshold of truth used as a platform for hypothesis and theory to explain practically everything. Be it carbon dating or that most sacred of scientific cow's "the speed of light" both of which have faced a re-examination in recent years. The crisis then becomes a cliche, it's almost like saying,

"What if everything you know is wrong?"

Am I being overly abstract even for me, painfully esoteric and annoyingly cryptic?

All apologies...

I've chosen to write this primarily for myself, if someone else gets it then great. It's simply a situation that's increasingly difficult for me to abide with and so my hope is that by exploring it here I can perhaps put a finger on it or give it a name. In the past I've railed against what I perceive as the hypocrisy of institutionalized religion that's become an "I've got mine" Christian social club or the pridefully motivated law keeping that would do the Pharisee's proud! But that's not really it. It's so much broader, and yet it can take the form of small annoying things that seem out of balance or somehow just wrong in your living someplace where flies seem to outnumber humans by 10,000 to 1 or too much month left at the end of the money...

My annoyances and inconveniences seem petty when I look around and see the interminable struggle just to live that's faced by so many here on this blue and green spinning ball. Reconciling those realities is like trying to ignore some 800lb existential gorilla in the room or not be shocked at an emperor without any clothes. It's an out of whack reality that can unexpectedly slap you in the face evenin your favorite chair or anywhere that the illusion is strong enough, accepted as the norm or thought of as just the way it is...

I'm simply trying to relate how in one moment

I was startled to see through the illusion.

James 3:15-17

15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

To some who read this what I'm saying will make little sense. Others may relate,acknowledging the new status quo of confusion and deception. It's probably not any revelation to many that this world is going to pot,

but what I'm pointing at is how, on a very personal level,

I feel the effects of what's happening!

How sometimes it still takes me by surprise.

like the frog in a pot eventually looking around as if to say,

"Isn't it getting hot in here?"

What in the world am I talking about?

It's really no great matter unless it leaves you different than you were before

Different in what way?

I think you know...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Presentation

A young woman is introduced by the pastor and spends a couple of minutes talking about One Hope Outreach and then introduces me to the congregation using sort of a hesitant "despite my better judgement" tone. Music cue: (Gimme Shelter by the Stones plays) I walk on stage, take off my jacket and walk to the front, taking the microphone in hand I begins to speak.
Hello! Thank you pastor for allowing us to come today,I want to thank you young lady for that introduction and of course all of you for taking the time today to learn more about what's happening in your community. It's really great to see you all here, I mean, you have no idea what it's like to walk out here to an empty room! But I'm not here to talk about MY issues, instead the issues I'd like to talk about concern people in our community who for various reasons have no permanent housing, and what organizations like One Hope and others are doing to put an end to that. When I was first asked to do this I was excited at the idea of doing anything I could to help, but within a couple of minutes after I hung up the phone my excitement turned to anxiety..."What would I say? What could I possibly say that would raise peoples level of awareness or concern and perhaps encourage them to join us in our mission to make a difference?" As I sat there thinking I was reminded of a joke I had heard about a church congregation who were having services when a group of masked gunmen burst in brandishing automatic weapons and in a loud and menacing voice declared to the crowd...
"Alright, we're going to kill all of you except those who don't know Jesus and who aren't sure where they're going when they die...those people can leave!"
Well, about 90% of the congregation hurriedly got up and crowded out the exits and when they had gone the gunmen whips off his mask, turns and locks the sanctuary doors behind them and says
"Okay, I just had to do that...NOW we can really have church!"
I felt a sense of relief come over me as I began to understand that there are, and always will be, a certain percentage or group of people in the church who are committed to serving in Jesus' name, who're typically responsible for most of the real work done in the church. I felt much more confident knowing that nothing I could possibly say was likely to change that! No, that's not my job... My job is to talk to those people, the people who truly understand what Jesus has done for them, who know that He's the source of all their blessings, and who want to be the people He uses to reach out to those in need around them. I'm here to talk about solutions, and about beginning the process towards seeing changed lives for Gods Kingdom and His glory. I believe that process starts with understanding. Understanding that there's a harvest of souls right in our front yard waiting for workers to pick it! I know that the church already does a great deal to address dis-located people but when I look around I still see ripe fields, I believe the church could do so much more so what's the problem? Of course when I thought about that I began to recognize a familiar tactic of our enemy the father of lies that we should also understand! He's working overtime distorting the real reasons behind this problem, conspiring contempt and keeping people from feeling the compassion needed and from walking in the faith and trust of our Lord! No, he doesn't want that...and so today I'd like to take this opportunity to come against those lies by confronting them head on with truth!
Join with me in prayer that we will be the victors in this battle, in asking that our enemy would be bound and cast out of this place by the power of the blood of Christ, that eye's would be opened to the truth about the harvest before us that so urgently needs workers and that strongholds of hate,intolerance and willful ignorance would be broken Father in Jesus' name we ask it and for your glory to be shown through it...amen!
Going back to my preparation, I wondered how I could do this. I wondered how I could help people to better understand the causes of homelessness and dispel some of the misconceptions about people who find themselves without permanent shelter and I kept drawing a blank. I've always found that I learn quicker if I can see an example of something. And unfortunately, I also have a tendency to forget it unless it involves some sort of too? Well, I was still coming up short and as the time drew near to come here today I just decided to wing it, trusting that somehow the Holy Spirit would lead me into all truth so now I'm just going to wait on him.
well this is awkward...
I jam both my hands into my pants pockets and look around at the ceiling, pull one hand out and look at my nails, using both hands I hold them out to my side palms up in the non-verbal "I don't know" posture. I then reach out with my right hand and take hold of the podium and begin to lean on it which immediately collapses causing me to fall onto the floor of the platform.
I'm okay! I'm not hurt, boy that's the last made in China podium I'm buying!
You know, no one will ever convince me that God doesn't have a sense of humor or that He doesn't know how to get through to someone as dense as me!
Lets see, Illustrative example...check!
Pain involved...check!
Thank You Father!
Here's the message I got from that...
All of us depend on things to support us, not just podiums...I'm talking about jobs, relationships, maybe even a talent we posses or whatever! We lean on these things for years and then one day they go away. The job we had for 20 yrs, our spouse who provided for us so well leaves us or dies, things change without our permission! Situations we thought we had control over can leave us shattered by their abrupt change or disappearance. Many of us have experienced this type of circumstance in our lives and however difficult it might of been, we have, over time, and with the help and support of those who chose to come alongside us in our time of need made a recovery! If you've been through one of these life changing experiences I need not tell you the immeasurable value of a support network of friends,family,church,community, you may of even said it at some point "Well, I just don't know what I would've done had it not been for X" or "God only knows what might've happened had I not had the help I needed from Y" Friends, I invite you to stare into the abyss of "what could've been" for just a moment and see yourself without the benefit of a kind word spoken in love when you needed it. Without the "day saving" financing that kept you from disaster or imagine a life without the self satisfaction you enjoyed for all those years as a result of a "good job" you were blessed to have. Does the phrase "But for the grace of God, there go I" take on any new relevance for you? can you see the hypocrisy of our judgement's towards each other?You might say, "But they made bad decisions and need to suffer the consequences of them" Yes, they did! but no more than I did when I chose to lean against that podium, I did it based on it's previous history of an ability to support me and a gazillion other people! It seems pretty disrespectful  to those who stood in the gap for us and to the immeasurable grace and blessings of our loving heavenly Father for us to take that mantle of honor entirely onto ourselves as if we're truly some sort of "self made man"...What sort of hog-wash is it that enables us to look down our noses at others who's only crime was to have never been shown the sort of love that was shown to us? Or to have been born without whatever it is we posses which by it's use our lives have been sustained and enriched?
Don't misunderstand me, I do believe that we're all responsible for the choices we  make in this life but lets take a closer look at that word "choices".
What sort of a choice is it between apple or cherry pie for desert? simple?,qualified? informed? of little consequence?
As opposed to something like who we marry, or what we choose for a career, How about our friends? My point is we have to make some of the most important decisions in our lives when we're the least capable of doing so. Some people are just blessed with extraordinary common sense and need very little help to make good choices for themselves, but as for the rest of us, we owe a great amount to those who parented us,counseled us,mentored us,coached us,and inspired us to make good choices! We can honor the investment they made in our lives by paying it forward to someone else, we can choose to suspend our judgments about people whose lives we know nothing about and simply assume that no one just gets up out of bed one morning and says,
"How can I really screw up my life today?
No, that's not how it me, I know!
Because. .  technically. . . I am considered a "homeless" person.
I lost my home due to a foreclosure in 2009, but Iwas fortunate enough to be able to move in with a close relative. Due to the fact that I haven't been able to regain my financial stability since then I'm currently still living there with my wife and daughter. There are three common categories of homelessness, sheltered,unsheltered, or "doubled up". My living situation is the later.
I guess I am here to talk about my own issues after all...
Wintertime will be here in a matter of weeks, my family and many others who aren't as fortunate as us are in desperate need of overnight warming shelters where we can escape the cold winter night's to come...
Can you help?
Since it's beginning One Hope Outreach has been a grass roots organization whose mission it is to catch those people in our community that may of otherwise fallen through the cracks. They've helped many to find temporary shelter and recently even permanent homes and they really need your financial support to continue this work.
You may not know it, but  when we as Christians see an opportunity to help those in need and respond to it we're preaching the Gospel to our world. We preach this good news in a way that they can easily understand because we're using the universal language of love!
I urge you to let your actions speak loudly today!
Thank you.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How Do I Know?

A story was told to me many years ago about love. About how when we're truly loved by someone whom we see as being wonderful the effect is transcendent. We're lifted up, empowered, the phrase used in the story I heard was...

If I said it was because of the way He so faithfully provides for the physical needs of my family and I, which I believe He does, I wouldn't be able to explain why it is that God loves everyone but some in this world go without.

I could say that I know God loves me because He sent His Holy Spirit to be a guide and counselor to me who leads me in all things but His Spirit is like the wind. You can't actually see it...even though you can easily see it's effects!

Would it be easier for people to understand how I know if they could experience His peace? If instead of feeling anxious about their circumstances,both present and future,they could cast their cares upon Him knowing He cares for them?

That's a lot of "If''s" in one sentence...

I used to walk through life carrying heavy burdens that I couldn't put down! I know Jesus loves me because He took my burden of condemnation and sin and made me free!

What about the way Jesus is working in my life to heal me from all of the wounds I've suffered from the weapons formed against me by my enemy, continually transforming me by the renewing of my mind...

Would my testimony be convincing?

Oh I know! It's the joy I feel in my life which is the fruit of His Spirit! It's very attractive to others but can be so difficult for them to accept because it's a gift!

All of us have placed our faith in something. Mostly in the things we can see like science,technology,and of course people! Every time we pay attention to anything we give it tribute and power in our lives. If we place our faith in Christ it can be said of us that though we may be in this world we're not of it.

Our faith is the only requirement for us to receive our Father's real love! But have you ever tried to explain what love is to someone? If so,you no doubt know it's futility.I can tell you how much God loves you, I can show you in His word how He's shown it, I can let His love shine through me for you to see, I can show you a world of miracles based on His love for you, but would it be enough?

The choice belongs to each of us,to decide what it is we believe.

Of course the responsibility for those choices is ours as well!

Into The Mystic?

Would it surprise you at all if I told you how thankful I am to have the limited amount of intelligence I posses? On my better days I'm a person to whom humility comes easily and who harbors few if any misgivings about his place in the grand scheme of things. I suspect it was a product of his own similar revelation and his subsequent observations of me that my father once said,

"Son, you don't have to be really smart in this world if you have smart people around you"

His words stung a little then but now serve as a confirmation to me of a blessing that has in may ways characterized my life and that's helped me to be more comfortable in the many supporting roles I've played since.

Genesis 3:22

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever

Knowledge can actually be a curse, look what happened to Adam after he "got smart" via the fruit of the forbidden tree! I think God is saddened by what's happened, it's as if He understands what a burden it is to know, to understand, and that as a result man will now be held responsible to choose good over evil...

Can you not see how much better off Adam was before just being

"dumb and happy" ?

In a recent post I wrote about our freedom in Christ and how Christians have allowed a spirit of fear and deception to keep them from experiencing any possible benefit or blessing from things like yoga,the martial arts, or even performances by theatrical magicians and I still believe that. I understand dancing is now considered "okay" as well...However, when it comes to things like Christians practicing Transcendental Meditation or being involved with any other altered consciousness producing practices I think you're on very shaky ground and through your own freewill are in danger of coming under their mastery and of being in an idolatrous relationship. It's more likely to be a person who's real god is intelligentsia who comes to see themselves as some sort of "mystic" Christian. People who because of their vanity, pride and egocentric perspective have moved out to form a new Christian elite of super apostles enabled to be our metaphysical snake handlers, qualified by Christ no doubt to handle things that would cause the rest of us to stumble...

After all, they're the Most Holy People of God!

I write about things that are personal to me and this topic is certainly no exception. I struggle with my own rebellious folly but thankfully I'm not smart or creative enough to come up with the necessary lies and perverted logic which would allow me to continue in it's pursuit. No, I'm a real amateur compared to people like Thomas Merton who laid the groundwork that "enlightened" generations of free thinking people! People who are, both then and now, spiritually seeking and who because the church was asleep at the wheel or busy organizing a bingo game somewhere were left without a proper challenge to this heresy which seemed to meet that need . I've noticed that people refer to him as a spiritual visionary. A so called Christian mystic who sought to bring together all of the worlds major faiths and traditions. Sounds good right but there's so much more! I believe that in the very near future it's going to be people such as Merton who will be the new age metaphysical apologists for the anti-christ and his one world religion!

When I first began thinking of writing on this subject I wondered if there were any real or legitimate examples of what could be considered Christian mystics. What about John of Patmos the writer of the final book of the bible Revelation? St. John of The Cross who's writings so many Christians find inspiration and comfort in? And in conclusion I think the answer has to be yes! But I don't think they're the pretentious, self-important, whack jobs that are attempting to pass themselves off as such today!

But what do I know? I'm just dumb and happy!


Get Closer

Several weeks ago I read a post by a woman explaining why her stock answer to anyone who had needs or problems of any kind was for them to simply "get closer" to God. In my heart I understood the truth of what she was saying but I also understood how someone might react incredulously or see it as a trite or flippant answer. Since then I've discovered many other bits of wisdom and insight as I browsed various social media sources that seemed to speak to the same issue. Like this one...

If, for you, belief requires "a leap of faith," you are not yet near God. In his presence, there is no gap to leap over.

The video I posted in my previous blog also spoke about Christian people having a much deeper relationship with our Father through Christ and The Holy Spirit.

I think I'm starting to get the message!

As followers of Christ, as vessels of His Holy Spirit, as heirs through our adoption and with Christ as the firstborn, what I believe God's wanting us to do is to be His presence, to carry His glory with us in this world, to shine brightly into as many darkened lives as we can and to live lives of victory over sin! In all of the challenges we face, not only in our lives but also in those of people we encounter everyday I think God does simply want us to take authority in Jesus' name over sin sickness and death! What's most important is that we abide in Him and He in us, all of the stuff in our lives that's purpose is to distract us from His peace will only continue if we decide to focus on it instead!

I absolutely love what Jesus says here!

John 17:21-23

21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

If reading that doesn't leave you feeling empowered you may want to check your "spiritual pulse"


Friday, June 17, 2011

In His Presence!

In the past few weeks just prior to Pentecost Sunday and in the partial week since it seems as though I've been thinking, talking, writing, reading blogs, articles and "tweets" about, watching video's, and listening to other people talk...

all about the same thing!


(Check out the video on youtube)

It's just like Bill says in this video, between bites of lunch...It's a move of the Spirit, a fresh presence of Jesus one can only describe as an "encounter". Jesus is showing up in miraculous ways and reaching out to His Church, to the people who are truly seeking Him and who are dependent upon His Holy Spirit to empower them for His mission works which are to begin within the church first and move out from there. Some are being healed, others delivered from crippling emotional wounds, still others from stagnant and prideful religiosity, The mission is the same, it's a great co-mission between Gods Holy Spirit, Jesus and through us to deliver the captives! The miracle is that none of the weapons formed against Gods children can prosper in His Holy presence which is being poured out, He causes the lame to walk and the blind to see! The manifestation is His Glorious light and His presence that we carry with us into this dark, and dead world!

It's said that fear is the beginning of wisdom, in that verse to fear means to be in awe of who God is. We're taught that no sin can come into the presence of a Holy God and I believe that's true but why? After all, Satan is the father of lies but didn't Satan come before God to talk to Him about Job? Could it be that our misunderstanding of this is whats keeping us from experiencing a life changing fullness of His presence? When we finally come to a place where we know what we are and seek to repent be forgiven, are we still afraid to come into His presence because of our attention wrongly being placed on the sin's of our past and those we're yet to commit, on OUR profound unworthiness instead of His agape love? What if the reason no sin can be in Gods presence is simply because of how much it breaks His heart? Some don't believe God has feelings and that the descriptions of such in His word are allegorical and simply for the benefit of our understanding but I don't agree! All of us love our children, can you imagine having them paraded before you in any condition other than being in perfect health and how that would affect you?


I think some people's perception of God and the idea of being in His presence are scary thoughts because they imagine the experience being something similar to that of Dorthy in The Wizard Of Oz!

Surely at some point in your life you've encountered a stray dog who's been severely mistreated by people. Even though it may be starving and you're holding out food to give to it, it will approach you with fear and almost against it's own will,with it's head down ready to run at the first sign of your displeasure. Sadly, because of their life experiences that's how many people feel about love and so consequently they also feel that way about approaching God who actually IS love!

I want a visitation, a personal encounter with Jesus! Like the Israelites I want to pass over the Jordan into the presence of His blessing and rest. Joshua Made two piles of stones that day to mark the significance of what had happened, the first one on the bank from smooth river rocks that were taken out of the Jordan and another in the middle of the river where the ark stood as the entire nation walked past. I believe the stones he used to make the second pile were gathered from the land and were in a much rougher sharper condition than the smooth ones he first used, their roughness symbolizing our present sinful condition. The smoothness of first stones was the result of the influence of the water, placing them in the river represents the Holy Spirit's work on our hearts of stone and just as it was with the Israelites who did cross over into Canaan it took an act of faith to make the waters part and repentance or the circumcision of their hearts to enter in! Through my experiencing the presence of Jesus and His wondrous love, I too must leave my own sin or "Egypt" behind before I can cross over into and all He has waiting on the other side for me!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scratch That Itch!

I remember one Sunday morning a few years back. My family and I were suck at home because of car trouble ans so we were having home church which was being led by my daughter. She had prepared a short message that she shared on what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. I thought it was pretty good for an eight year old and after she finished we talked a little more and thats when this analogy occurred to me.

I asked her,

"What if someone cleaned your room when it was so messy that there was no way that you could ever do it yourself! Picked up all your toys, made your bed, vacuumed the rug, we're talking immaculately clean! And then, after they were finished they leaned against the door frame and just watched you because they love you and enjoy seeing you play in your restored to order room. Would it change how you played? Would you try your best to keep it that way and never let it get dirty like it was before? If you answered yes then know something about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus!"

Since that day I've continued to search for answers to my own questions about what it means to live your life in Gods Presence. The subject of how we are to live as Christians is one that plays out daily in the many details and choices we all face. I know that there will come a time when my simple analogy to my daughter will no longer suffice and so I want to be ready when perhaps she'll come to me saying,

"I want to honor God in this way but I'm afraid some people might not understand"

I want her to know then as she did before that the reason God always has His eye's on her isn't because He's watching to see if she does wrong, it's because He loves her so much that He can't take His eye's off her!

I also hope she know's that in her relationship with Jesus there's an intimacy between her heart and His and that He understands her motives. His judgments are based in a love that not only "thinketh" no evil but one that,

1 Corinthians 13:7

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I don't want her to live her life as if she's automatically guilty by association if she should become involved with things that might be thought of as being inappropriate for Christians.

I've dug myself quite a hole there, here's what I mean...

There are some who might see a person being involved with the Martial Arts as such based on it's links to Eastern philosophies and Buddhism. I just hope they don't try to sell that to Chuck Norris who's Kick Start program has helped thousands of kids find their way out of drug's and gang's and put their lives on the right track! I can't imagine a Christian having any objection to other Christians participation in the Olympic's even though originally they were intended as a competition to honor the Greek god Zeus! And Christmas? Oh come on! Ironically, in the two predominant holidays Christians observe there's more Pagansymbolism than there is Christian, does that mean we should stop celebrating them? I know at least a few that have for just those reasons...

If, in an effort to maintain the temple of the Holy Spirit which our bodies are to be we decide to employ the stretching exercises used in Hatha Yoga I hope we aren't shunned or looked down upon by other church members. Also, if your faith is such that you find exercise threatening to it perhaps yoga's not your real problem. I'm saddened that I can't tell people the whole story of how God has revealed His plan of redemption in the stars starting with Virgo the Virgin and ending with Leo the Lion of Judah's return without people thinking I'm a heretic of some kind because of the acceptance of our enemies perversion in our minds of yet another of Gods precious gifts to us!

Romans 12:21

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Several years ago I attended a revival given by a local church, during the service the kids were entertained down stairs by a Christian magician. Should I have turned around and left because of not wanting my child to be exposed to the occult? Some Christian's would say YES! Even though no where in the Bible does it say anything about theatrical magic being forbidden!

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

I thought Id just go ahead and get this verse of scripture into the mix as well, according to the Strong's Concordance Itching ears are those which are "desirous of hearing something pleasant" as opposed to sound doctrine which is defined as,

a) of Christians whose opinions are free from any mixture of error

b) of one who keeps the graces and is strong

I'll leave it to you to decide what I am...or am not, but whatever conclusions you reach regarding me I've said all these things to make a point which is this.

I have an itch to see Gods church rise up in these last days and be all He intended it to be and for it to complete the purpose for which it was established! A burning and uncomfortable itch to see the church cast aside it's fears and it's dogma and allow The Holy Spirit to move among them in whichever way He choses! To stop allowing counterfeit spiritual perversions of practically everything God's given us to keep us from using those real gifts that we must employ if we're going to be the generation that He'll use to bring in the great harvest!

1 Corinthians 8:9

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.

If more Christian's would get a similar uncomfortable burning itch, and would scratch it, who knows...

We might just have a wildfire on our hands instead of no-fire.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Dare You?

Are you an investor? I think it must take a lot of nerve to put large sums of money into stuff and then hope that someday it'll pay off! I suppose it's kind of like the lottery, they say you can't win if you don't play but there are others who believe that you can't lose what you don't bet...I've been told that relationships are work, as if they're a task or a job that has to be done and that may be would explain why so many don't work! I think it's also true that you first must venture something before it's possible to see a return of it, let alone to see a return on it! We sow seeds hoping for a crop and although there's a reasonable expectation of a result it's still not a for sure thing. I'm drawing comparisons here to various things that involve risk so that I can talk about what most people perceive to be the greatest one of all,

loving people!

Allow me to clarify, I feel as though I need to because there are so many concepts people have about what that means. I'm talking about the type of love that can and most likely will cost you everything. The type that never stops to count the cost before acting or that leaves no room for compromise or half measures. It's an all consuming obsession that's primarily characterized by selflessness and a concern for what's in the best interest of it's "object" which of course is so much more than a thing to them...

it's their everything!

Many people practice a much more conditional definition of love as in,

"I love you as long as times are good or until you do something I disapprove of."

Another common example is the idea that I love you until it becomes inconvenient for me or until my feelings for you result in a "heartache" on my part at which point we're through. Some people do see love as an investment, and as such they have some very definite ideas about what they expect in return and while I do believe that love always comes back to us I don't think that anyone truly gives love only because of what they expect to receive in return.

Having said that I'd also like to say that even though expecting a return on our love investment is not in character, that when we do give, sow, invest, or commit ourselves to truly loving someone the return is guaranteed! Perhaps not in the way we might expect or from the person whom we've loved but just as the rising sea levels of a harbor lifts all ships we benefit from bringing more love into the world! Like am electrical wire with current flowing through it, we're warmed by it's passage!


I'd like to be able to say that I've loved that way, but what Robin Williams said about loving something more than yourself kind of left me hollow, I find it's quite a struggle for me to love something more than I fear being rejected by it...

I'm also floored to know that this is how God loves each of us, except it's actually so much more than I can even comprehend. He sent His only Son Jesus to be our redeemer even though I'm sure He knew that many would reject this supreme act of love!

Thank You Father for Your infinite love, please change my heart to allow Your love to shine through me more, and for me to see the fear in my life for the liar that it is!

Do I dare?

How dare you?