Monday, December 6, 2010

Which gospel? Oh! That one...

"The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are call to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest Jesus' presence."
Jesus Manifesto, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

When I read this, I struggled with it and then became surprised as to how much I have been unrealizing what the gospel meant to me. What has it meant all these years? Is it Redemption? Grace? Obedience? Salvation? Ransom? Christlikeness? Relationship with God? Gift? Sacrifice?

The answer is YES! And then some! But, if all I can do with the gospel is to imitate Jesus, is that a cheap Gospel? Is that truly waht Jesus wants us to do? Just be like Him? I think now that that is an incomplete gospel! If Jesus is not living in me, which gives true meaning to my obedience, faith, Christlikeness, relationship to God, salvation, what is He to me? Just someone to emulate? If Jesus is not living in me, what is the point?

I will never be able to completely be like Jesus in what I say and do!

Can I love like Jesus did?
Can I forgive like Jesus did?
As Sweet and Viola say,

"Always turn the other cheek?
Always walk the second mile?
Always love your enemies?
Never think an unsanctified thought?
Never even have a hint of a pity party?
Always be prepared to give a 'word in season'?"

No! But isn't that why He IS living in me!? That is why I CAN become more Christlike each day! Because His presence in my life MAKES me this way!


This is not a cheap Gospel, this Gospel cost the King of Kings His life! So that He might live in us...righteous deeds saturated like filthy rags, prayers saturated with sinfulness, my repentance saturated with self-righteousness...yeah that's me! And He desires His presence so much He would die for that presence, that kind of life, that kind of change and transformation!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I want to be ME!!

I am totally blown away at the moment! Maybe it's just me. And I do get "blown away" a lot! LOL Anywho, our culture is all about being first. First at football, win the big trophy. My team is better than yours! I conducted the funeral of a very precious lady the other day...she was a good grandmother! My grandmother is better than yours! My kid knows how to count and say his ABC's and can hit a baseball without a kid is better than yours! It seems everytime I turn around this concept of "being first" has invaded our thinking and culture and even religion!
What about being second? Is there something wrong with being second? In most competitions, second never does get the GOOD stuff nor the GOOD money or even the vaunted reputation that the blue ribbon winner gets! Think of some good second-placers...or can you? Greg Norman, Scottie Pippen, (I can hardly remember any!), ummm....I mean really, that is my point they're just forgettable!

But, I have something for you today! I have a paradigm shift in heart, thought and life, are you willing to be second to God? Are you willing to step aside and say, "You know what God YOU are first and I am second. I don't deserve to be first." Very interesting isn't it?

Jesus would say, "I am among you as one who serves." And we are to be Chrsit-like in EVERYWAY? Oh yeah, not even a hint of our own needs and desires!

I leave you with this: Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford, brothers in Christ, champions on the football field and SECOND TO THE LORD! Are we willing to do the same as these young men?

Check it out:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Passing it on....

I came to a realization last night as I was getting into bed for the evening. I had just come from my son's room, he sleeps on our old queen mattress, which needless to say, is a huge bed for him. He was laying perpendicular to the way the bed was. It was really I kissed him on the cheek, turned him around and covered him up with the blankets.
As I was returning to our room, I came to an interesting thought. What am I trying to pass on to my kids? I know that I am only 34 (young in years, I know), but I have a unique understanding of my own mortality. What am I going to give to my legacy? What can give to them that will help them be God's person?
Deuteronomy 6:6-9-"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
What am I to impress upon my children so that they may understand the true nature of God? Maybe it is easy to say harder to do.
Galatians 5:22-23 comes to mind. If I want my children to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, don't I want them to have the Spirit? Am I really passing on the Spirit of God? I am actually trying to teach and impress and share and mold my children to have THE Spirit?
Yes! HOLY MOLY! I am talking, spanking, disciplining, shaping, loving, sacrificing, crying, praying and a wealth of other verbs so that my children will have God's Spirit in their hearts one day? That is amazing! That is inspiring! That is humbling! What an awesome legacy! Quite the revelation for me this morning...

Monday, August 24, 2009

New things...

Did you know that the world "communion" appears nowhere in the English NIV text? Now, the words "fellowship" and "participation" are together found a lot in the NIV text in the Old Testament and New Testament. Of course, you have words that come out of "communion" such as "union", "commune" and "commUNITY" with a little stretch...LOL
Anywho, these words fellowship and participation must be thought of when describing what we call The Lord's Supper. Not only does Jesus "commune" with and "host" such an event, we do the same as brothers and sisters as "participants" in this Lord's Supper. We are not the host, but we do serve just as Jesus serves/participates.
As participation occurs, that means we also SHARE this meal together. This means therefore that we SHARE Christ as host/server/fellow participant of this same meal. Jesus makes this very clear in the Last Supper..."this is my body(bread)...this is my blood(cup)"...what does this "sharing" mean? It means together, talking, singing, praying, "partnering", joyous sharing with each other, JESUS! How can you "participate" or partner with some one if you don't spend time speaking to them? How can you know who they truly are? How can you be involved with someone if you keep to yourself and not share yourself? How can Jesus be host/particpant/server to people who don't have a relationship with each other?
In my opinion, the Lord's Supper we SHARE today is NOT a participation or a partaking of each other, it is a participation in individuality and self-piety and solemn attitude of guilt and shame. It is certainly NOT a joyous is rote and too ritualized to make any sense of "fellowship" one with another. And yes there are times for such attitudes as guilt, shame, confession, repentance, but not at the "Table"! Additionally, we may be sharing spiritually and by ourselves, but this Lord's Supper Table was never supposed to be about the "individual" is about the "community" of God's people.
If you look back at OT times and focus on their altars and mealtimes, you see a contrast...the altar is serious, meant for penance and consecration. The mealtimes or "tables" are meant for celebration and joy! We don't come to an altar when we eat the Lord's Supper, we come to a TABLE! It is to be joyous, celebratory, community participating and partaking one with the other, together...
I will bring more to you later as I learn more and struggle more with such topics...this is my next sermon series and trust me when I say I will struggle because this is not what I was taught growing up either...pray that I can "Preach the Word--being prepared in season and out of season; correcting, rebuking, and encouraging--with great patience and careful instruction"....

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Maybe it's just me...I am sure that it isn't, but youcan tell me if I am alone on this or not.

I AM A SOFTIE!! I am not sure I even spelled that right! Anywho, I feel like a part of my manliness (if I had any) is gone! Maybe I am being too harsh on myself! And you do realize it is going to do nothing but get worse. Part of me says "It's okay. You will survive!" I don't know, I am worried about all this though. However touching it may be, I feel lost in a sea of captivation and contentment and unceasing love all at the same time. Let me show what I am talking about...

Now, do you see? Can you really understand? I know, I know every parent is biased about THEIR children and I do get that. But let me ask you a question...Isn't God wonderful? There is nothing bad about what He gives to us and what He does for us! Our children are joyous and rotten and exciting and just plain DREAMY! And I don't care if you call me a SOFTIE or MUSHY because our children are perfect gifts from Heaven above! Live life and live it well because of the GOOD that God gives to us! You only have one shot at your children and one shot at life!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Religious Evasion...

"There is very little time and occasion for openness in most of our gatherings because we fear it. We think it may lead to confrontation, anger, and divisiveness. We are not open because we fear what others will think of us and do to us. If we honestly compared the amount of time in church spent thinking about what others think or might think with the amount of time spent thinking about what God is thinking, we would probably be shocked."

Often the 'eyeservice" that occurs in present-day church services comes in the form of trying to "move" people. "Wasn't that a great service," we often say. But what do we mean? Are we really thinking of how God felt about the service? What is the correlation between God's view of a great service and the human view? At this stage does the phrase, "Truly, truly they have their reward" apply to us?"

"Maybe the words of Ezekiel might ring true for us...

Everyone is talking about you all the time. They say, "Come and let's hear what the word is from the Lord." And they sit befor you as my people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them. For their mouths talk devotion but their hearts seek wicked gains. Why, you are just like one who sings about love with a beautiful voice and a well-played instrument. They hear what you are saying, but do not do it." Ezekiel 33:31-32

Adapted from The Divine Conspiracy

Are we seeking human approval or God's? Are we comfortable where we are and with what we do? Are we making sure we get it RIGHT in our eyes? or God's?

Tell me what you think...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Are you the problem? Good, cause it ain't me...

"Heaven has forgiven people in it. Hell has forgiven people in it."

What do you think of that comment?

I like it, matter of fact I believe it and will stand by it. Simply on the basis of the idea that this is the true essence of the God that we worship, question, have faith in, revere, serve... Is it really needed to understand the nature of the one true God? It is needed for us to just comprehend that He is LOVE? Let's not forget that He is also a just God, but that He is righteous in that sentencing of justice!! But, can we just go on with knowing the fact that God LOVES us that much and that His forgiveness reaches that far? Jonah didn't think so. You know that Jonah KNEW that God would forgive the Ninevites? That is why he ran. That is why he was afraid, because he KNEW that God is "compassionate and slow to anger and abounding in love..."So what is the problem?

The problem is our choice! We choose heaven or hell! We choose...the reason I know that is because God wants EVERYONE to repent! He waits patiently for it!! Only love will break the hard at heart.We are not perfect people, just worship a forgiving, jealous, just and loving God!