Christian · Commentary · Confessions · Meditation · Uncategorized

Not So Among You

My friend Kelsey once introduced me to her dad as her pastor, a title I both love and hate. It’s a biblical term and one that I am called to. I love pastoring and shepherding  people, helping them to get disentangled from the evil that seeks to entrap them. Much to my surprise, Kelsey told me after the fact that I had a funny facial expression when she introduced me. I had no idea at the time but I do know that I have a hard time hiding the way I’m feeling so it made sense. christ-carrying-the-cross-to-his-crucifixion-by-battista

My knee jerk reaction when that title was publicly awarded me has some association with what our culture interprets when they hear the word “pastor”. Nine times out of ten it isn’t good. The other ten percent seems to be a title that people give one another when they have ducked out of their responsibility to walk with God as individuals and rely upon others to represent God for them.

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Christian · Commentary

Divine Debate

Who do you say that I am?

Which one of you if your sheep fall in a ditch on a Sabbath would pull it out?

Why are you persecuting me?

Can these bones live?

Who will go for us?

(Luke 9:20; Matt 12:11; Acts 9:4; Ezek 37:3; Isa 6:8)

Here are a few questions that God asks various people as documented in scripture. There are many other places in scripture where this occurs, these are just the few that came to mind when considering this topic.

God wants us to engage Him in conversation; He’s not looking for answers.

Nor does He let Himself become simply answers to questions. That would be too easy. In fact He resists being put in any box and held captive by anyone.

As much as God does speak to us to guide us away from harm, a good portion of the scriptures are very instructional. He most often asks questions that will prompt thought and further conversation with Him.
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Relationship.

Do you know how a good question can grab your attention and draw you into further conversations, sharing hidden parts of your life, deepening friendship? This is what God desires with us. The questions and answers are means to an end, not an end result.

In Jewish culture, historically and unto today, men debate and converse about their interpretation of scripture and their interpretation of God. Rabbis ask questions to their disciples and the disciples in turn ask the Rabbi questions. Each question building upon the previous revealing the knowledge gained about the topic and delving more deeply into the topic. For example, “Were the 10 commandments originally written by God or by Moses?” With a response of “According to scripture, the Word has always been. Who wrote those words if they have always been?” Questions are answered with other questions that probe the abyss of truth and of God.

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Christian · Commentary · Poetry

Masterpiece

 

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It is purely through grace that God reveals Himself to us

But on occasion we forget that

And we begin to think of ourselves higher than we ought

while making Him lower

We judge and assess God based on how He responds to our demands and prayers

This is not right

God does not owe us anything

He acts and reacts based upon a wisdom that we can not even begin to grasp

For He is Holy, Perfect

We must understand that He is good, and we must trust that He is orchestrating a masterpiece with all of what we know, dream, and imagine

He invites us to be friends… but we must never underestimate the expense that He has paid for us to take a seat with Him

It is our place to be humble and receptive of all that He is

This is the highest place in this life.

 

Christian · Commentary

Interviewing an Alien

imagesHere is an interview with Francis Chan, a recovering Mega-church pastor who began to reject his own fame to follow the Spirit of God. The interviewers seem to be simply confused by him and attempt to pick his brain… attempt to poke fun at him.

It’s clear that he has no idea what he’s getting himself into.  Love this. It’s the tension that comes with following Jesus. We. are. aliens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p-SYMis0-w

Commentary · Confessions

Exchanged.

It grieves me to report that from my estimation, from the US in the city with the most churches…

we have almost completely quit estimating our Christianity by spiritual means, discerning  the presence of the Holy Spirit and the fruit therein, and we’ve exchanged it for our perceived “church” attendance.

Heart-broken.

For this is a result of a people who have chosen to separate themselves from the person of God  and the  sacrificial life that He has gifted to us.

We would rather have our ears tickled and be popular.

 

Rescue us from this deranged brokenness, Lord Jesus.

Bible Devotions · Bible Interpretation · Commentary

Dallad Willard on His Spiritual Practices

A short video interview with the late Dallas Willard, one of the most profound Christian thinkers of our time.

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I love to hear about disciple’s personal lives with Christ. I think that there are so many telling things about our faith by sharing our personal spiritual practices. And this is no different.

I can’t say I agree with everything Dallas says here, but I am pleasantly challenged by it. To attempt to “mimic” any person’s spiritual life would be an error and would be incongruent with the personal relationship that God has called each of us to live.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqLmeubS65Q

Bible Interpretation · Christian · Commentary

From Compartment to Fulfillment (Updated*)

One of the more difficult facets about coming out of an organized and human sustained church environment is transitioning into a life more dependent baggageon relationship with God and with the organic group of people that God has strategically placed us in.

When I received the revelation that God was calling me out of the traditional prescribed organization and into a spiritual family, I was a little shocked and heart broken. I had placed all my focus on living a certain way and working towards goals that, with a simple revelation from the Lord, changed instantly. I felt gypped. I came to the hard realization that I had wasted years of my life. The group that I had given blood, sweat, and tears for fundamentally disowned me and seemingly forgot about me. I found out that when relationships are built on common vision and doctrines instead of God’s relational bond they cannot and will not last (pain and hardship often accompany these). As much as I would want to make these relationships work, they would not. They were not being held together by God’s grace.

I’ve learned through this heartache that God is most concerned with the task of building a Kingdom, not making us “happy” socially. When I stepped far enough away I realized that there was a strong “in or out” mentality, one that was cultish in nature and one that worked against the heart of the Great Commission, the kind of Love that God had been attempting to develop in my heart.  Despite my best of efforts during my time in traditional American Christianity, everything seemed to work in opposition to the gentle guidance of the Spirit. It is as if something was wrong… and it was.

Continue reading “From Compartment to Fulfillment (Updated*)”

Commentary · Confessions

Living in the Romance

“Praise Jesus, I’ve been saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost!”

Ever said this, or heard someone say something similar. There’s not a lot wrong with it, the intentions of it are pretty good. But, there’s a problem I want to point out… it’s all in the past tense.

prostrateSee we have a tendency to live our life in God in the past tense and not in the present tense and in future tense. We base our eternal future destination by what we did in the past. For example, if you’re a Christian and you’re reading this you likely have a date that you were converted to the faith and “got saved”. Maybe you joined a church and got baptized. Those are all good things. But that is not where the story ends, nor what Christianity is all about.

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Commentary · Meditation

Present and Presence

It seems that us church folks love to focus on the past and on the future of God’s history, while neglecting the present. We study the history of God, what He has done and how He has done it… i.e. creation, covenant, laws, relationships with men and women, ext…

And we study the future reign of God and how He will return. Who will be receiving His wrath and why they will according to the history that we know of God.

We stretch out our arms grabbing with our left hand the past of God, and use our right hand to stretch out to the future of God and pull them together to create a kind of life that is chalked full of God stories and God vision.

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Yet, the part of the story of God is that He is not just a God of the past and the future, but He is also a God of the present. In fact I believe that God does not adhere to the same time and space laws we do. He is somehow always present, He is somehow still able to see and interact with times past and is already waiting in times future.

And He calls us out of our history books and future prophecies to dwell with Him here and now, specifically through the laying down of our lives and reception of His eternal, everlasting, abundant life that is held in His all-powerful tight grip.

On the other hand there is a life of living IN the Spirit of God that overflows from the present to make our timelines all “mush”. A life that sees death coming and laughs “for to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

There is a life that makes since of the stories… and makes way for stories to be written, even today, of God miraculously changing the world through mere humans.

This is what a life of God is all about, His present and His presence.