Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Acts 10

In a way, God will always be telling me to turn to him. Turn to him in my needs, turn to him in my joys. To God I am a success story because he already knows the end. He just has to turn to his right and see Jesus sitting by his side. The lesson that Acts is teaching me is God makes a path to Jesus for everyone. He breaks into time and space and intervenes in our lives. Cornelius opened the door for the Gentiles to receive God, but it was God who initiated. God gave him the vision. God gave Peter the vision. God makes the path for us to walk in before we even know we have feet.

All of this is not new to me, but I want to make it real so there needs to be a concrete way of thinking about this. There are two points I need to learn. 1. Evangelism is double-sided. 2. Grace is to set us free

The first point I had not fully understood. However, it makes perfect sense to think that the best evangelism is initiated by God. He knows who he's working on. He also knows who he wants for someone to talk to. So why not ask Him? Talking to someone before they're ready is like touching an iron while it's still hot. You get burned. I mean a red-hot piece of iron that God is forging. He's hammering them out. If we talk before God is ready for us to, we might get hit with the hammer, or worse, ruin the thing he's making.

Point two is much more complex. Grace is to set us free. Grace is to "burden" us with what God gives as a gift. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. What trips me up is God's willingness to accept me back EVERY TIME I fail. I'm somehow stuck in a world where I'm dreading the last time I fail. The time when I sin, I die, and God says.

"Ooh, that last one there, uh yeah, I'm going to need you to go right to Hell for that. You see all the other times I forgave you because I foreknew you were going to stop sinning but, actually I didn't intend for you to keep sinning right up to your death. Yeah caught me by surprise on that one, sorry! Never knew you!"

Then I have this awful thought that I'll spend the rest of eternity wishing I hadn't sinned that one last time.

All of that is ludicrous, absolute and utter rubbish. Fear, first of all, that ALL of my sin is not paid for. Past, Present, and Future sin. Every sin. All of them. Why not?! God is our Father and if I had a son who I told could never do anything to lose his place in my family, I would always honor that word. Even if he destroyed my car, or house. I would still love him. How much more does God love us? He loves us to the point of letting us kill him! If I can be forgiven of that, what could I possibly do to make him change his mind about me? We can't catch God by surprise. He made all of history and therefore knows every step and misstep that we'll take.

God's desire is to so change our manner of thinking that to sin is only to require more grace. Since our sense of justice or quid-pro-quo is always on, he needed to do something that would transcend it. Yes he satisfies justice but he does it to a ridiculous degree. We are left simply dumb-struck to try and utter a word to refute it. He gave a billion dollars for our $17.95 debt. He gave a yacht when we asked for a row-boat. He gave us Jesus, and ultimately himself, when we asked for forgiveness.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Discipline, it's like a hammer covered in pillows

For the longest time, I've been undisciplined and unstructured. I love structure though. I love things to be organized and neat, but I hate making them that way. Structure, as in a set schedule, a weekly routine, keeps me disciplined but I've never been able to find a way to be comfortable doing this with God. I've always chalked this up to the enemy distracting me with the world, so I don't build a relationship with God. In some ways I think that is what is going on, but I think there is also an element of God not wanting to be put in a box. (He was in one for awhile in the desert with the people of Abraham, he doesn't like that anymore).

Where does this leave me? I think I'm left with only the option to be ever mindful. To always be listening. To always be talking. God is everywhere present and every-when with us, so everywhere and every-when I can be refilled. Jesus most certainly spent time alone, in the early morning, to be with his father, but he also spent a lot of time with people, teaching and healing. Therefore, I should be with people, teaching and healing, and only recharge when necessary, when I'm empty.

God can only fill an empty vessel.

So however much I long for a schedule, maybe I need simply to open my ears and open my eyes to find places to give away my blessings.

Holy spirit, open the eyes of my heart, open the ears of my heart. Be in my way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Original Lie

Genesis 3:4-5

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Here we have the original lie that Satan told our first parents "You will be like God." Eve was presented with the idea that her intellect would be like that of God's. What would you say is the appeal of that? For Adam and Eve, who had everything, who had daily food, who had perfect peace, who had a consistent relationship with God, what could they possibly need? The truth is, they didn't need anything. They were completely taken care of from head to toe, from morning to evening. Their lives were totally in God's hands and totally blessed. Why did they need anything else?

Satan, posed a question, a misdirection, to get them thinking, to get them to doubt. Maybe God is holding out on us, they thought. Maybe he has something he's not giving us. Maybe he's not telling us everything. If we eat this fruit, well then, we'll know what he's not telling us!

And goodness gracious me, it worked! They could see they were naked! Well that's not the kind of thing they wanted to know. They wanted to know so much more, they wanted to know EVERYTHING and that's what Satan promised. But we're not meant to know everything, we're not meant to be God, we're his creation, not his creator. We're his dependents. If God filled out a tax form, he would have to put down 6 billion!

You see, we are still believing this lie. That God is holding out on us. That God has something he's not giving us. The truth is, he's not! We still believe that there's something he's preventing us from getting. There's something he doesn't want us to have. That may be true, but whatever he's preventing us from getting is for our GOOD. God prevented Adam and Eve from seeing that they were naked. That was for their GOOD.

We still believe that God, who gave us his own Son, won't freely give us all things. We think somewhere, for some strange reason, he's holding out on us. And that if we find a way to get what he's holding out, we'll be happy. If I could just get that job then I'll be happy. If I could just get that girlfriend, then I'll be happy. If I could just have a kid, then I'll be happy. If I could just get that raise, graduate from college, get my PhD, find love, be richer...etc, then I will be happy!

It never ends. We are never happy. When we achieve these things, they don't satisfy. When we get these things, often times they make us miserable. This is all because we are believing the lie. The Original Lie. That God is not God. That God won't provide. That somehow he'll fail us. So we make sure he won't fail, we find another way to provide, another way to fulfill our dreams, because, well, God isn't working fast enough! He's never going to come through! God helps those who help themselves! HA! Tell that to Eve!

The problem is, anything we set up, other than God, to be the ultimate thing, the thing that will make us happy when we achieve or receive it, is an idol. Anything that exists, whether good or bad or neither, can be turned into an idol. Anything that we place in the highest place, the thing that we put at the center of our lives, is an idol. God needs to be in the highest place. God needs to be set up as the "thing" that will make us happy. Until we put God in that place, we'll never be happy.

It all comes down to believing the lie or believing THE truth. What truth? That God is enough. God is all we need. God is going to come through. The beautiful thing is this. God is enough, God is all we need, and God has already come through. In Jesus, he came through. In Jesus we have the love, the acceptance, the thing we've been waiting for, already! We have Jesus already! If we just turn away from the thing that will "satisfy" and turn toward him, he is ready to accept anyone. He is pursuing us until we turn. He is loving us, until we love. He is chasing us, until we give in.

Leave what you think will make you happy and turn to Jesus. The lie will be seen for what it is. The truth will be abundantly clear. He is all you need.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I enjoy a good drink on occasion. I enjoy a few too many good drinks on less occasions. Well tonight is one of the latter nights.

Now it may sound funny or out of place, but I've been watching the Showtime television series Californication. What I expected from the show was a lot of gratuitous sex and a little bit of entertainment. What I did not expect was to find that this man, David Duchovny, was a very insightful thinker. He's going through the pains and heartaches that I'm sure a good majority of Americans are going through. He's dealing with a break-up of his family unit, he's dealing with the hardship caused by relationships that don't work, he's coping with raising his child while not being available for her all the time.

I think I'm in man-crush with David Duchovny, simply because he tells it like it is. He has this way of making the pain he's going through, dealing with all the above, into something that's worth listening to. I know it's fiction, I know it's created by someone who had a lot of time to think about, but that does not diminish its value. It has taught me a few things about relationships that I needed to learn. One of them being that, if I have children, they will have a loving father, in the picture all the time. I will raise them much better than this because I will work out my differences with my future wife and not put them in a bad environment.

This show has basically taught me what NOT to do.

Anyway, I thought it was a great idea to post a little tipsy. Maybe I'll regret this tomorrow. Or maybe I'll enjoy reading my buzzed introspection.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The pleasures of this life

Sometimes I want to go into a time warp and wake up married with a house and kids. Not that this sudden time warp would make me happy, but it would take out all the waiting. Also, I don't want to miss all the things that come before having kids, but you probably get my idea. Sometimes I just think "If I were older, wiser, and more patient then these problems wouldn't follow me or try to find me." The problems, I see, are here to refine me. The waiting, I see, is here to make me wiser (and older). The situations I want to skip, are meant to fill me with understanding and memories for advising my kids and my friends. The pain I want to jump over, is meant to fill me with compassion for those who can't deal with life on their own. My life is a learning experience, but sometimes it really hurts. Sometimes, it takes all I have not to want to break off and leave things alone, let raging dogs rage without me.

I will someday look back and be glad for all that God has allowed in my life. He has certainly not kept it boring!

This isn't the end, this is only the beginning. Hopefully I'll find rest along the way. What I do know is that God is my refuge and my fortress in times of trouble. God is my rock. I will lean on him and no other until the storms pass.

You may wonder why I entitled this "pleasures" when all I'm talking about is pain. Well it's ironic.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our Inheritance

Imagine with me that you are a child of rich parents. I’m not talking about celebrity rich, I’m talking nation rich. I mean you’re the child of some noble, or prince. Basically you’ve got $20 or $30 billion coming your way when you come of age. This money and all the investments and property it’s contained in, will be yours when you're 18. Now, just think about what you would do with all that money! Travel the world, never work again, buy houses, cars, boats, motorcycles, start businesses, buy businesses, eat till you pop, help your friends, I could go on. I say all this to remind you, you ARE the child of a billionaire. You DO have an inheritance coming. Jesus says that in his house there are many mansions and that he goes to prepare a place for you. You will live in Jesus’ house! Jesus says that for those who persevere through hardship he will give them a crown of life. You will receive bling! He says that those who overcome, God will dress us in white, and allow us to sit with him on his throne! We will be dressed like kings and given stuff to rule over! Come on people! This is too much.

So whenever you’re thinking low thoughts about your life. Whenever you have a view of this world that fills you with dread, whenever you can’t make it through the day, just think of your inheritance. Know that you are a child of the richest father in the world. You’re gonna be rich, in fact, you ARE rich!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weird thoughts

What if every Christian got their wish, to be like Jesus? What if everyone of us got to be Jesus after we died? What if we got to heaven and God said "Son this is my first task for you as a new member of heaven, come I will show you how to be my Son just like you asked", and right there and then you wake up in a manger and your name is Jesus? You know the path that this life will lead you on and you follow it to the end. You die the righteous death that he died for you and all of mankind. You rise again to life at the right hand of the father. A member of the trinity.You are now assimilated into God fully and there is no distinction because everyone of his children was in Christ through his life. We all get to live his life and die our death in our place. And in the end there is perfect fellowship with the saints and God because we all died the death we were supposed to die. Weird and a little blasphemous since it says "He died our death Once For All" but it makes you think. Because, why are we being taught obedience if there is nothing to obey him for when we die? I don't know other than a crazy scenario like I just outlined.

I'm quite sure this doesn't make any sense I just had a thought and wrote it down. One of the main reasons it's not correct is because, well, you can't be God. Only God is God.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Doing something for God

Have you ever thought about how doing something for God is like doing something for a good friend? Just think about it for a minute. If you planned your friend's birthday party, what would you do? You would spend the time to pick out the cake, what it said on it. You would make arrangements for an apartment or house to be ready for all his friends. You would spend time cleaning that place and preparing it for him and his friends to come over. All these preparations and all because you love that friend. Because you care about them and want them to be happy and loved. I think it's the same with God.

I can get all caught up in just doing things out of duty for God I can forget that I like him. I say to myself "I need to read the bible because it's good for me" when really I should say, "I get to read the bible because I get to hear from my friend." Or I say "I need to tell my friends about Jesus" when I should just naturally say "Do you want to hear about what my friend did for me the other day?" Because God really does do a lot for us.

I believe it's harder to keep this perspective of God because he is essentially on a long journey. Friends that aren't in the same zip code, or circle of interaction are hard to remember. I have a bunch of those that I know from college. I keep in touch, but only occasionally. (Sometimes they get married before I even know they're dating someone). So God can be hard to keep on the top of my mind simply because he's not blatantly in my face. However, I can be much more mindful of him if I remember to read my bible and pray daily. God will wake me up to his presence occasionally without my trying, but he's much more readily on mind when I'm loyally trying to seek being with him.

So what am I going to do for my friend? Whatever I can, and whatever he asks, the best I can.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jesus tries to get through to us...

Jesus, in John 14:1-14, tries to get through to his disciples, and consequently us, that He is God. This concept is one that you hear throughout your Christian life and even sometimes in your non-Christian life. And I think I understand two things now, one Jesus is God, and two, that one thing can be three persons.

Let me explain.

I learned in my psychology class that children go through a certain stage where they can't grasp the idea that one thing can have multiple names. For example, that a cup is also a container, or a plate is also a dish. Adults understand this and use this to categorize the world more precisely. Children just want one name, one thing, they're simpler. I believe this same concept is difficult for adults when it comes to God. God isn't just one thing with many names he's one thing with many persons. For a human to grasp this, is similar for a child to grasp that the color red could also be the color crimson. I'm not analogizing God and Jesus, to red and crimson, I'm saying we don't have the capacity readily available to categorize a thing that is both one thing and many things.

So for Philip to ask in John 14:8 "Lord, show us the Father..." it's not surprising. He can't get this idea that God can be both in heaven and on earth. That he can be both the Father and the Son, simultaneously. In fact He is both. Jesus says it plainly in vs. 9 "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father...I am in the Father and the Father is in me." He's trying his best to put it in words we understand. We need to know this, we need to get this.

Many many people have this deep desire to know God. They may not even know that that is the desire inside them. But it shows up in what they do, how they worship things (give their time and money) and how they have this desire for intimacy. And all this time here he is! He's sitting in plain view, in every bible, in every story of redemption, in every story of sacrifice. God. If they are ever truly want to see God all they have to do is look at Jesus. He is God.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Child of the King

A story from an email I received today from these guys

Challenge to Prayer…Article #7

Deep in the misty green hills of Ireland long long ago there was a kingdom. One of the rules of the kingdom was that every prince and princess needed to spend a few years living with the ‘commoners’ so that they would know what life was like for those they would one day rule. At this time it was not uncommon for strangers and travelers to come into the kingdom and settle in for a while before moving on, and under this pretense the future royalty would one day show up in a small village to begin their pilgrimage into normal life.
One young prince was in the midst of his exploration when a corrupt governor came into power and began robbing and harassing the very village that he had settled into. Secretly, the village began sending ambassadors one by one to the king to inform him of the injustice that was destroying the village and their way of life. And one by one the ambassadors timidly approached the castle and were turned away by the kings attendants and advisors.
Yet the village did not lose hope and persisted in sending representatives to the king. Eventually the king’s very own son was chosen for the task. He began the long walk to the castle musing over how he would be received.
Upon reaching the drawbridge the guards demanded to know his business. The prince revealed his identity and was immediately shown into his fathers mighty throne room, by some very apologetic guards. Naturally the father listened with passion to his child’s request for help and justice. And naturally the father responded, bringing justice by force to the village.

…So often we approach the throne of grace timidly or feeling unworthy to ‘bother’ God with our requests. Let’s believe God when He declares us to be his beloved sons and daughters, and let us see him not only as king, but as father.

“So let us keep on coming with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
---Hebrews 4:16