Tuesday, December 15, 2009

His hand on the faucet

Jesus builds the church
From John 6:44
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”.
From John 12:32
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

It’s God’s responsibility. All our actions and works mean nothing unless He draws to Himself.

Our attempts to measure our success in numbers and dollars and service ultimately reflect whether the Lord is drawing people to our church because of its program or adjenda? This puts the relationship into the position of being a puzzle. Have we drawn the right conclusion from reading? If our numbers are down or flat we must not be doing it right or Jesus would draw more people to us.

I am a staunch believer that when Jesus enters a life, some form of demonstrative service will result, (weather it is evangelical in nature or humanitarian), because that is the nature of Jesus, to lay down the life. Accept His offer; he will do it to you when and how He chooses.

I suppose if I met Paul we would have a good time. I believe; he was anointed by Jesus Himself, had Jesus’ heart within him, and tried his best to explain what he knew and learned from Jesus to a bunch of humans. But as wonderful and inspired as his letters are the words of Jesus are greater.

I believe the responsibility of the institutional church is to first lift up Jesus, what He accomplished on the cross and why He had to depart so the Holy Spirit could come. I believe if we do that, lift him up, He will draw people to Himself. We then bear witness to the truth of what is happening to them (something I think is critical).Then, I believe as people interact with us and see how we work out our faith, He will speak to the hearts of His people. They must then choose to respond “yea or nay” to His leading (just like always).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giving whats yours to give

Nothing can be given to God unless He has first given it to you.

Monday, October 12, 2009


A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eden's gift

In Eden, when Adam and Eve choose to be independent something terrible happened. God cursed creation. Eve would long, Adam would work, the earth would fight back and things would never be the same. Sickness, disease and death were downloaded into the operating system by our choosing.

Yet something wonderful happened too. I consider if God saw that this shift in design afforded He and man the opportunity for a level of relationship previously unavailable.

I believe we now have a glimpse of God’s experience and therefore His heart. He had already been betrayed by His most beautiful angel, (resulting in a war), when He created our world. Surly this hurt.

I think about the betrayals in my life, the wounds and hurt delivered unto me since childhood, and the heaviness of their impact.

I think about everybody’s desire to be found worthy of love and actually chosen.

If we are created in His image, why would these experiences and their impact on our heart be exempt from the realm of glory?

These experiences and the heaviness of darkness are what our God deals with too. The tears we cry are the tears He too sheds.

Someday I believe things will be ‘put right’. We will get the kingdom fully back. But until that time what a wonderful opportunity we have to give God a hug and say, “I understand, I feel your hurt, and I love you, everything is going to be ok because you are good and trustworthy, and I trust you.” And perhaps He will return our hug and say, “Thank you, I hoped you would understand, and I’m glad I have you at my side in these hard times.”

Prior to the fall we could not have understood this aspect of His heart.

I believe; if we were created for his companionship and to be in relationship with Him, if we are to be more than an object for His amusement and are to truly know His heart, then we must share His experience.

So I thank God for Eden. Yes it’s hard, so very hard, but I wouldn’t trade it if it affords me a true, bi-directional friendship with my God.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lost Child

I have two children, both grown.

We have an exceptional relationship. I work with them both so I get to see them regularly. Most Sundays, we gather for dinner too.

Neither one is lost (having left relationship with me).

One night last week, at work, I was discussing plans for hanging out with my child. My heart was joyful with anticipation. They wanted to spend time with me!

No homecoming, no ‘sin’ in need of forgiveness, no restoration needed. It was simply plans to spend time.

In the bible, Jesus tells a story of a father and a lost son. The son screwed up and left relationship with his father. After a time, the son is broken, depressed and remorseful for his choice to leave, so he decides to return home. He is welcomed by his loving father who was waiting for him the whole time. The father embraces the son with joyful open arms and throws a feast to celebrate. Jesus uses this story to paint a picture of how God desires us and the joy he feels when we come to Him the first time or return to Him when we have ‘left’.

But what about the child who has not left? What about the child who is already in relationship with God?

A God showed me (told me), that as my heart glowed with expectation of more time to be spent with my ‘right standing ‘child, so glows God’s heart in anticipation of time spent with His ‘right standing’ child too.

He’s just crazy about us!

Friday, September 25, 2009


Quite desperation.

I’m being quiet. The word desperation follows but I’m not sure why. The word seems to…desperate. I’m not desperate. I desire.

Quite desiring.

I desire quietness. Quietness in my head, my spirit.
I’m bored.
I’m quietly bored.
I don’t want to be bored.
I don’t want to be quiet.

I want sleep. Quiet sleep where I’m not bored, or desperate.

I want out of this moment.

It’s a hard day. Not a bad day, a hard day. No, it’s a hard moment.
It’s a good day, but a hard moment.

In this hard, desperate, bored, tired, quiet moment I desire something from Jesus.

Perseverance. I want to persevere. I am. I am persevering, quietly.
In other times I would distract myself. Detach, deflect, and destroy.
Destroy the boredom, the desperation, and the desire, with deflection and distraction.

Rumor has it that if I’m feeling these things God’s not there.
I started the rumor.

There have been times when God has lifted my head with purpose. Those moments are distracting in a good way. They are consuming.

I have a ton to do. A million things I could be doing. I don’t want to do them.
So mundane, so much like work.

“My peace I give to you.” Jesus said, “My peace I give to you.”
I wonder where he put it. I wonder where I put it. Where is that damn peace?
I’m kind of finding it here on this page by exploring my experience.
Could it be that simple? Embrace the experience? Share the experience?

I’m slowing down my head. I’m forcing myself to slow down. Slow down the heart beat. Slow down the ‘need’.
Shoot. I’m still bored. Don’t want to work.
“In this world you will have trouble”. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble”.
Thanks allot Jesus.

I don’t blame Him. I’m just teasing Him.
I don’t think He causes the trouble. He doesn’t have too. I do a good enough job of that myself.
Sometimes without even trying.

It’s just life.
“So they may life to the full”. Jesus said He came that “they may have life to the full.”

I’m aware.
In this awareness is life. It’s exciting I guess.

In this moment, this experience of;
Sleep desiring
Activity wanting
Perseverance getting
Purpose knowing
Slow down doing
Boredom having
Chill acting
Peace hearing
Hard moment-day having
Awareness getting
Not distracting
Not detaching
Want-need-desire acknowledging
In this life to the full getting moment,

I see that this is “life to the full.”

Thanks Jesus. Really, thanks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

God's leading

When an individual acknowledges God it is because The Holy Spirit has enlightened them.

As the person then opens their heart more fully, the same Spirit responds in communion (which can be exhilarating).

As this communion continues, many people in an effort to further this relationship, or get more of God, turn to organized religion (an institution).

The institution then expresses a set of beliefs it has embraced which can be perceived as a requirement of God if we are to have more of God.

These beliefs are generally derived from three primary avenues of thought:
1. Recorded historical biblical instructions given to other people(s) by God in response to particular circumstances they faced in their lives.
2. The testimony or beliefs of a strong leader.
3. The testimony or beliefs agreed upon corporately by the institution members.

In my life as I consider the methodology taught by the churches I have associated myself with it, It has been demonstrated that a correct relationship with God will contain certain measurable actions from me. Some examples of these actions are;
1. Acknowledge my depraved nature and request forgiveness by God.
2. Acknowledge Jesus’ death and resurrection as the only means by which by which a relationship with God can be established.
3. Be baptized.
4. Worship God in gratitude for what he has done you.
5. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
6. Study the Scriptures.
7. Become involved with a local group of believers.
8. Tithe.
9. Serve the body of believers.
10. Become active in humanitarian service.
11. Become active politically.
All of these actions are potentially correct but inadvertently an incorrect message is sent that these actions are needed to make possible a further response from God.
I believe God is honored by these actions and as we practice these things a natural human design (of His making) impacts our life. We experience a sort of fulfillment that feels good and makes sense to us. The ‘math’ is understandable, “If I do this, I will feel this”. Yet along the way, the actions alter the simplicity of what is taking place. Instead of a simple pursuit/response relationship, the relationship becomes action/response and the action becomes necessary for response.
I think organized religion exists because of our thirst for more of God. One problem we face in wanting to satisfy this thirst and we must deal with is the Old Testament. These books in the bible, particularly the first five where the law is given, are just what I have described. God presents rules clearly saying; “if you do this, then I will do that”, or “if you do not do this, then I will not do that”. It was very clear. The rules of engagement were clearly defined. Modern mainstream Christian religions all agree these laws were for the most part negated when Jesus personally interacted with the world on our behalf. The examples are too many for me to go into in this moment, but for example; we no longer believe we must sacrifice animals to be forgiven. As we teach the history of the bible and discover these action/response examples, we assimilate the concept as being required. We somehow forget these were commands issued by God to a people in a time.
So this brings us back to where we started, the person who has begun to engage God, seeking more or him. If my premises are correct as written in my opening statements, two circumstances occurred;
1. There was an acknowledgement of God attributed to the Spirit of God.
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44
2. As person then opens their heart the Spirit of God responds. "When the
Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” John 15:26 (Jesus is speaking to believers).

These two actions are the fundamental basis by which every action takes place in a believer of Jesus (and therefore a relationship with God). The action and order of events as laid out by Jesus are clearly demonstrated in this order.
1. Action by God, response from us.
2. Willingness by us, action from God.
The action in both examples is from and by God. There is something to be said that response and willingness is an action too, but it is only within ourselves, an exercise of our free will in response to His action.

This brings us to the modern church in its current model. If ‘God information’ and ‘Christian identity exploration’ are to be pulpit driven, and the corporate testimony of the assembled believer is to a model of a Christian life, then our public profession must always be that these conclusions are drawn from an experience by which God has performed an action, (or intervention into us as), as a result of our being willing to receive it. This presents a problem. This simple message of ‘our willingness/God’s action’ might possibly drive a preacher crazy in its simplicity and repetitiveness. There is also some question as to whether this simple statement is sufficient to support the model of service and action created by the modern church.

I believe we must however keep our message of what a Christian life should look like in its simplest form, “our willingness to respond to God’s action”.

I suspect that if we keep our message simply focused, our visible results may look very similar to the ‘requirements’ described above but perhaps to a greater degree than we have ever seen, hoped or imagined. I believe any time we place any value on any of our actions (beyond the exercise of our free will) we have diminished the work of Jesus Christ and the need for His intervention, life, and death on our behalf. If we maintain correct perspective, these very actions then become a response to Him rather than a negotiation with Him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dark Closets

Sometimes life is like a dark closet
You know where you are but you can't see
You feel around looking for something but can't feel it
You know you put it there, but not where
Sometimes you forget what you went to the closet for
Sometimes you find what you were looking for only to find it's not what you remember it to be
Sometimes you discover it was never there to begin with
Or somebody moved it
Sometimes you discover your target and it's better and more special than you hoped.

Jesus in a Beatles song

I found Jesus in the Beatles song "It's All Too Much" written by George Harrison.

It's all too much

It's all too much
When I look into your eyes
Your love in there for me
And the more I go inside
The more there is to see.
It's all too much for me to take
The love that's shining all around you
Everywhere it's like what you make for us to take it's all too much
Floating down the stream of time
From life to life with me
Makes no difference where you are or where you'd like to be.
It's all too much for me to take
The love that's shining all around here.
All the world is birthday cake so take a piece but not too much.
Sail me on a silver sun
Where I know that I am free
Show me that I'm everywhere and get me home for tea.
It's all too much for me to take
There's plenty there for everybody
The more you give the more you get
The more it is it's too much.
It's all too much for me to see
The love that's shining all around you
The more I learn the less I know
But what I do is all too much for me to take
The love that's shining all around you
Everywhere it's what you make for us to take it's all too much.
It's much, it's much.
It's too much Ah!
It's too much
You are too much ah!

George wrote it for his girl. Jesus gave it to me. Rather nice of Him. Thanks.

(It I watch the video its harder for me to think about Jesus but heres a link)


They stay

I read an interesting quote the other day that is stimulating to me;

“You can reach a point in life when it almost doesn't matter whether people love you in the way you want but are simply here, nearby enough, that they just bother at all" - Jerry Battle in Chang Rae Lee's Aloft

At face value the speaker is addressing a place he has reached in his life where he has removed the expectation that his (perceived) needs will be met in what other people provide for him. There is a degree of health here.
I do believe that as relational creatures, God has provided a means by which we are ‘more complete’ by entering into relationship with others. We need input from others into our lives to have balance. By engaging in relationship and living ‘outside of our own head’ a perspective not available to us is achieved. This type of relationship may be a primary means by which God speaks to us in a fashion that circumvents our natural tendency of selfishness.
I do not think the author is saying that relationships do not meet a need, rather that he would dictate what that need is.
I have people in my life who fulfill a desire for me. I do not expect these ‘select’ to fill a void I think I have. I do not expect that they will provide something lacking in me. Rather, they allow me my life and ‘bother to stay’, offering me love and companionship. I have people who accept me for who I am, and love me; sometimes for who I am, and sometimes in spite of whom I am. So while our character Jerry Battle may seemingly loathe something about himself and find himself dismissing his desire for a particular type of love, we both apparently are thankful we have people who have chosen to stay. For this I thank God.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

He holds my hand?

I had a discussion last night with some fellow ‘followers of the way’. The talk centered on when God fills you with His Spirit, our life becomes Him living through us. How exciting!Everyone in attendance understood the concept (I think), yet as so often happens, right on the tails of that came the avenue of thought that we should strive to conform to some set of ‘actions’ or that we should discipline ourselves to be found worthy of what He has done. The excitement, energy and life was sucked right out of the conversation.

I came home after that and heard a song saying Jesus ‘hold my hand’. The perspective was of the singer being; childlike, needy, scared and they desired that Jesus would hold their hand providing; security, protection, instruction. Now there have been times in my life where I ‘needed’ Him to do and be just that. There may be times in my future where I find myself in that position again and I don't think I would have a problem seeking that refuge in His power again, but the recurring theme of the night seemed wrong in my moment of reflection.

I remember the day I realized Jesus had let go of my hand. He had brought me along, taught me stuff, picked me up and brushed me off when I fell. He protected me in storms and fought off enemies when I had no wisdom or strength to do so myself. Yet there came a day when He let go of my hand and set me free. He has not left me, he has not abandoned me, He has not changed His love for me but He did change His desires for me.

I don’t think I understood that he let go of me. But I walked, sometimes wobbly, sometimes falling, hurting myself and others. I screwed up at times, and made wrong choices, (I still do) but He wasn’t ‘apart’ from me. He was with me. Eventually I ran, sometimes wildly. Rip roaring through the world crashing into and through life. Sometimes I raced ahead of Him and He raced where I went, right behind me. Other times He would fly off and I’d chase after Him, sometimes scared, sometimes amused, sometimes laughing wildly, and sometimes amazed.
Sometimes we go off side by side. Sometimes we hold hands, like men hold hands when they pray, or like lovers do, or like guys might do to form a chain to keep a crowd back. He still shows me stuff. I show Him stuff too, nothing He’s unaware of, just stuff I like, or wonder about, or consider. He does the same for me.

You see, I think God wants for us the same thing a parent wants for their child. As my wife and I have raised our children, we tried to give them some understanding of the world system. We tried to give them some wisdom, some tools and some strength from which to live their lives.

Do you think another ‘picture’ of Jesus in our lives could be of Him coming to us, changing us, teaching us, strengthening us, in the hope that He would eventually stand us up, and give us a pat on the butt and smile as we wander off to explore the wonderful world he made for us? All this in hope that we would share our discoveries and experiences with Him.
Do you think he likes to see us fly?

Sunday, August 23, 2009



Yesterday I attended the graduation ceremony of my son from college. Those of us attending sat in a gymnasium where the event was held. When the ceremony began the lights were lowered and a brass band seated next to the stage began to play. Those who were the object of our attention were ready and lined up at the corner entrance of the arena. The first of the processional was a dignitary from the college wearing (as did all the participants) a robe. He held a small scepter adorned with a large jewel of some sort on the top. He held it like it was dangerous, with two hands, he walked slowly and carefully. He walked down the center aisle and placed it with great respect into a holder on the platform, displaying it for all to see. Next a series of men and women came who held banners that hung from crossbars attached to the top of long poles that they held upright in front of them. Each banner was different in color, decorated with symbols and the title of a particular educational discipline of the institution. Next the educators came and sat in front on chairs facing the platform. Then the graduates, several hundred of them, entered the room. These graduates had earned degrees and were the true honorees. The graduates were being honored because they had completed requirements that measure knowledge. The music played, the atmosphere was intense, the people were important, it was quite a production!

As I watched and considered what I was seeing, I was impacted by how we as humans like to notice how far we have come (and we have). I considered if we thought too highly of ourselves. I also thought about how from God’s standpoint, how far we have to go, and as that notion rose, I was aware of shame which immediately seemed out of place. My true emotion was pride in my son and of what he had accomplished, so where would this random negativity come from!?

We have an enemy who makes every effort to keep us from the freedom, healing and life to the full Jesus said he came to bring. He’ll do anything to squash the simple joys of life.

Close behind this thought was the heart of God fighting for my freedom (as He always does), whispering truth and life into my heart, saying that he did not judge us as conceited or disrespectful for this ceremony, rather he was quite enjoying Himself, because He was so proud of what His children, everyone of them, had accomplished.

This is an awful lot of words for a dismissed though that had a lifetime of maybe one second, but perhaps this moment of consideration is for you and me, to help us remember that God loves us, and enjoys Himself while sharing life with us because He is proud of what His children, everyone of us, has accomplished.
God is a big one for ceremonies, He likes them. He likes it when we stop our hurriedness and take a minute to wrap our arms around the joy of being alive and recognize how wonderful we are. Shoot! We’re in His image. God thinks we’re awesome, so do I and I’m so proud of my son.

It was a wonderful ceremony, recognizing accomplishments worthy of celebration. It was a wonderful day. Jesus had a great time. As did I.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Love

I had a chance to attend an event that would be considered by some to be contrary to the laws and desires of God. This event confronted many people with the decision to attend or not, and that their decision would in some way be viewed by God as right or wrong. The decision also carried with it the notion that by attending a message of some sort would be sent to the honorees and perhaps the world, that their journey through life together and the decisions they made would be acceptable to God.

I was going about my day prior to the event, never having personally worried much about any dilemma, when I was implanted with a ‘vision’ of sorts.

I ‘saw’ the honorees, and I ‘was’ the honorees. In ‘seeing’ and ‘being’ the two, I sensed the social/religious ‘weight’ of the circumstance. Jesus said to me, “I understand”.

With those words, He told me that while there may be feelings He had about the event, He understood the humanness which led the two to the place they were. He also recognized the two had found someone to cling to in this life and allowed the love they had for each other to be foremost in His thinking. The ramifications of the event to the Kingdom were in-consequential to His agenda, and therefore not my concern. The responsibility to speak for Him was never mine; He could take care of Himself. In some way, he put Himself aside (yet again).

My decision to simply love the two was appropriate and right for me and I do not judge those who could not attend. It’s Jesus’ responsibility to open eyes, minds, and hearts, not mine.

Jesus clearly demonstrated the going into the midst of those found wrong by the organized church of His day.

To love is; Freedom, Healing, Life.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Can't hear God?

Many people think it's hard to hear God.
Perhaps they should ask him to use words or methods they can understand.
From what I have found, I think He is willing and if it's your desire, at least give it a try.


Could it so simple that God's primary desire is to be included in your life?
I think yes, and subsequently, everything else is secondary and subject Him.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I’m not a big petitioner of God. We talk extensively, I share my life in complete transparency and I believe He know my every need. For example; as I think about a person or event, He is present in every thought as it is formed, He knows my heart might desire intervention but my thought is His to do with as He pleases.
Any compassion I have for a person is born from His nature dwelling within me. Any capacity to love at all is a manifestation of His heart living within me. I have found little need to verbally express to Him in some ceremonial fashion the thoughts (desires, needs) I have. It would be like me saying every sentence twice if we were to have a dialogue. It would be like me saying every sentence twice if we were to have a dialogue.
Yet I find myself troubled by some circumstances in my garden. The one I love most intimately is in physical pain. I know nothing has changed in our relationship; me and God, her and God, God and us or us with each other, but from within my heart raises a holy desire to pray.
I intercede. I petition. I repress the thought to make a deal because it doesn’t feel like it’s from Him. I pray.

Jesus, please step into time and space and heal my woman. Please restore her health. Please let this be your will.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I had a chance to share my testimony today. Afterword’s when my mouth was closed, my thoughts landed on my intimate allies, the life shared, the experiences of healing, and the discovery of true life. I have deep gratitude for these, my friends. Without them I might not understand my story to the extent I do. In fact, without them, my story would be lonely. Ahhh, the heart of Jesus.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Holy discontent

Monday (sometime in March)- Holy Discontent
A ‘stirring’ or crisis occurs in God’s creation as His spirit moves upon it. Believer, unbeliever, it matters not. Unbelievers have a choice; consider if this is from God, or dismiss it as life. Believers too have the same choice but have more options to consider as they pursue the Lord and try to discern what is happening.
For the believer, often the conclusion is that the Lord surly must want something from us, or that He is leading us to some ‘next level”, or that there is some puzzle we must solve to have this discontent removed. Do we go to scripture with the testimonies and knowledge found inside? Do we busy ourselves in service? Do we ‘plug in’ past healings or revelation and try to make them fit? Do we ‘practice’ the disciplines like fasting and prayer? All of these may be correct if that is where Jesus leads, but all of these may be ‘our’ solution and may do nothing more than silence that which we desire, to hear from our Lord.
I am in such a moment right now. As I speak with Jesus about this ‘Holy Discontent’ in my life; every action, every word definition, every principle I’ve learned, every testimony from my past rings empty and leaves me with a sense that these solutions are ‘mine’ and they are accomplishing nothing more that busying my mind and distracting me from my hearts desire, Jesus. Even this post boarders on repulsive for me.
The only answer is Jesus and I try to center myself solely on Him. Not on what my life will look like, not what He will remove or add, not what my testimony will be or if others will see truth in it, not if He will effect those in my garden as a result of what He accomplishes in me, not if I will have peace, not if I will understand, not if He will use me, not even if I will receive life, freedom, or healing.
I still myself best I can. I center my focus on Jesus, nothing more. I don’t know what to ask for; I don’t know what I need ‘from’ Him except that it is Him. I await Him.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I find it stimulating that Jesus offers remedial classes in His Godness.

Also stimulating is that if you follow Him, and He determines you need it, enrollment is inevitable.

Seems He filled out the enrollment forms for me. I’m in class.

How stimulating.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


In late 2003 a group of men came together at my church. The premise was a men’s ‘bible study’. We used a book and video series by John Eldredge titled Wild at Heart. Several of us discovered an image of God in ourselves that perhaps we had stifled or lost from the wounding of our hearts. There are two premises presented (among others) that we embraced; God meets men in the wilderness (see Moses’ and Jesus’ lives) and men need intimate allies (a band of brothers).
In 2004, we began an annual tradition of going to our denomination’s campground south of Canton called Camp Gideon. The first year we had the strictest agenda in its history, that being that we told the men to ‘go for a walk’ on the 165 acres, alone, and listen for God’s voice, and too be prepared to get together that night and share their experience.

Now we just go and watch to see how Jesus shows up. He does it differently every year. I find Jesus is particularly fond of his men getting together as men.

This weekend marks the 6th anniversary of this outing. We call them ‘Advances’ (men don’t ‘retreat’) and I’m excited. I still go for walks alone, we eat great food we cook ourselves, and we are men together in each other’s presence. We have great expectation that Jesus will join us in a profound way but will accept whatever way He chooses to manifest Himself. If we come to mind this weekend, mention it to Jesus for us. He and we would appreciate it. We are a group of men seeking the heart and mind of Christ.

Here is an exerpt from Wild at Heart

A Nice Guy 03/11/2009
And then, alas, there is the church. Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men. When all is said and done, I think most men in the church believe that God put them on the earth to be a good boy. The problem with men, we are told, is that they don’t know how to keep their promises, be spiritual leaders, talk to their wives, or raise their children. But, if they will try real hard they can reach the lofty summit of becoming . . . a nice guy. That’s what we hold up as models of Christian maturity: Really Nice Guys. We don’t smoke, drink, or swear; that’s what makes us men. Now let me ask my male readers: In all your boyhood dreams growing up, did you ever dream of becoming a Nice Guy? (Ladies, was the Prince of your dreams dashing . . . or merely nice?) Really now—do I overstate my case? Walk into most churches in America, have a look around, and ask yourself this question: What is a Christian man? Don’t listen to what is said, look at what you find there. There is no doubt about it. You’d have to admit a Christian man is . . . bored. At a recent church retreat I was talking with a guy in his fifties, listening really, about his own journey as a man. “I’ve pretty much tried for the last twenty years to be a good man as the church defines it.” Intrigued, I asked him to say what he thought that was. He paused for a long moment. “Dutiful,” he said. “And separated from his heart.” A perfect description, I thought. Sadly right on the mark. (Wild at Heart , 7)

Monday, March 9, 2009

The kind of face a woman finds attractive

I found this interesting.

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is menstruating or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his chest while he is on fire.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

When God draws us to Himself

Some of us continued our discussion of evangelism today. The premis of Heaven and or Hell as the primary reason to evangelize for the most part repulses me and I think is misguided. Jesus I believe came primarily to offer the ability to re-establish our relationship with God (Himself). I see the following format as the primary steps He used with me. How does this feel to your heart? Does the following sound like freedom, life and healing to you?

4 Steps To Becoming Like Jesus when God draws us to Himself

1. Initial Sanctification (get saved via crisis experience).
a. ACTION: request relationship with Jesus Christ as God.
b. RESULT: God relationship restored, Kingdom living begins.
2. Entire Sanctification: (also via crisis experience).
c. ACTION: depravity acknowledged, request inpartation of nature of Christ
("Holy Spirit", "Spirit of Truth", "The Councelor")
d. RESULT: Purged conscience, power to live from position of innocence,
ability to change as God reveals need, spiritual fruit.
3. Perfection:
a. Walking in spirit, knowing you are positional perfect but practically,
changes will be made as God reveals the need (our response is not one
of guilt but of Love)
4. Daily Consecration:
a. Determine to be set apart (only we can consecrate ourselves).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life in the Meetinghouse

My personal community in my meetinghouse has spent a good amount of time over the past five or so years discussing the role of the ‘church’ in the lives of attendees and the life of our community at large. We have also discussed our role in evangelizing and discipling others. We’ve talked allot about Kingdom living and what that means. It’s remarkable to hear the variety of definitions to these roles and concepts. I find any number of ‘groups’ of like minded people who share the same basic motivation. Some groups are large some number just a few.
Last night we met and continued in a discussion with a working title “Is Church for the Community or the Community for Us”. The dialogue was stimulating yet, I’m left, (as usual), with some level of discontent. I get frustrated when we as a ‘church’ feel the need to have this defined, clear concept as to what a Christian should look like. We take the great commission and call it our job. We use the object lesson of Jesus washing feet and call it our example, and therefore our objective and mission. We read the story of His life and look for commands and clues as to what to do. Sometimes I think we busy ourselves just to keep Him quiet. I find over and over again that those of us who are more ‘vocal’ share our passion and sound like we got it right. My poor Pastor friends have it much worse because the public thinks Pastors know what’s good for everybody, and by some screwed up definition of the role, are supposed to regurgitate God’s will for our lives. What a shame for them (in my opinion).
So, what alternative is there if it’s debatable that what I know Jesus tells me is the right thing for you, or for that matter, what He tells you is right for me? If I’m so stinking smart, what would I offer if I was in charge of ‘putting on the program’? I find the answer for me at this time (critical choice of words) in an exchange between Jesus and Peter that takes place just before Jesus leaves for heaven.
From John chapter 21 in the NIV Jesus is talking to Peter asking him three times if he loves Him, Peter says ‘yes’ three times. Each time, Jesus gives Peter instructions; “Feed my lambs", "Take care of my sheep," and "Feed my sheep”. Then he gives him a clue to his death and says, "Follow me!"
So here’s Peter talking with Jesus, getting information for (and about) his (Peters) life,
Then in verse 20-23 we read “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."
Peter is often used as a good demonstration of ‘us’ and here he is worried about what is going to happen to someone else. I love Jesus’ response.
Niv: “what is that to you? You must follow me."
Message: “what's that to you? You—follow me."
King James Version “what is that to you? You follow me.”
Do we do the same thing? Do we hear from Jesus and start looking around at everybody else and worry about what Jesus is going to tell them? Can we just point people to Jesus and trust He will tell them what to do? In fact can we continually point people to Jesus and hammer over and over and over again that Jesus will lead them? He will tell them what to do? Can we trust that Jesus knows what is best for them? Can we stand to hear Jesus tell us ““what's that to you? You—follow me." Can a message that simple not get exhausted? It probably would once people ‘get it’, so now our ‘program’ emphasis becomes to talk about and demonstrate the massive variety of ways to follow Him (“the smorgasbord”).
I hear us being judgmental that perhaps people come to the community ‘for themselves’, that they should be ‘in service’, ‘in the world’, doing this that or the other thing to ‘be like Jesus’, or ‘love like Jesus’.
The Niv implores, “what is that to you? You must follow me."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Calling His name

Sometimes I get anxious. There are times I can trace the feelings to events or circumstances taking place in my life. There are also times when I cannot. Sometimes at those times I’m sure the feelings are empathetic, where the life of someone I know is in turmoil and I’m feeling it. Sometimes there’s just no explanation.
In any event, when these feelings rise, I find myself saying the name of Jesus. I ponder this, it’s not that I call Him expecting His arrival in my life; I know He’s already there. I know our lives are a shared experience. He experiences what I experience. It’s not that I ‘need’ anything, I know He provides what I need in the moment I need it.
Rather, by saying His name I physically, demonstratively, align myself with Him. It’s helpful, it’s warfare

Friday, February 27, 2009

Right side living part 3

I’ve finished the book “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor. It was a good read. Jill ends up pretty new age in thought. Some things I just can’t identify with such as; telling the billions of cells in my body they have, and are, doing a great job, and thanking them for a good day.

She teaches a belief system that’s very internally biologically based but that externally there is a greater ‘whole’ (Nirvana).

She teaches a belief in interconnectedness with each other and the universe, which on the surface sounds trippy but also sounds rather like “The Kingdom”.

She teaches much about living in the moment, the here and now, witch reminds me of Mathew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”.

She draws “Angel Cards” several times a day to help her stay focused on what’s important in her life (apparently these cards contain words such as enthusiasm, clarity, harmony, grace, etc.) which sounds allot like Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things”.

As she teaches these new age concepts though, I’m aware that certain Christian alignments within me are challenged which I see as having value. I realize I’m looking for trouble in certain Christian circles (including some friends) by even talking about these things. I feel like some friends would have me either; fight for and defend Jesus or burn this book and say nothing less the reputation of God and/or scripture is diminished. Yet if I ask Jesus about these things, He clearly tells me He is not threatened, I should relax, He’s amused by my reaction, and He’s not asking me to do anything about this book, these thoughts or beliefs.

To be honest, I’d like to meet Jill. She seems like a wonderful person, and I think we have more in common than not. I wonder if she would be as open to me as a Christian as I am to her not being one.

In conclusion, this book has been a wonderful experience I’ve shared with Jesus. These thoughts have challenged my mind and strengthened my understanding of how my body works. This book has also challenged my faith and strengthened my understanding of how blessed I am to be in relationship with the creator of it all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Right sided living part 2

I’ve made some progress in the book “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. today. It turns out she’s still a brain scientist, and as expected is drawing some conclusions about spirituality and God that might be threatening to some ‘religious minded’ people. Taylor states that brain research performed by two doctors “helped her understand exactly what was going on in [her] brain” she goes on to state “that these scientists identified the neuroanatomy underlying our ability to have a religious or spiritual (mystical) experience. They wanted to understand which regions of the brain were involved in our capacity to undergo a shift in consciousness – away from being an individual to feeling that we are at one with the universe (God, Nirvana, euphoria).” Taylor states these abilities are ‘right sided’ brain activity.

These thoughts are stimulating to me. I embrace the truth that we are human and therefore have a human experience. I believe we are very much the product of our lives; that the events we are exposed too help define who we are, (be they wounds or positive experiences), that as we live, biological nueropathways are established and patterns of response are ingrained.

I also have a testimony that God intervened in my life, that He impacted and changed my life coarse. He ‘touched’ my mind, offering revelation, healing, and the ability to recognize that there was something (someone) outside of me. Did He activate my ‘right side’ mind (no-one comes to the Father unless He draws them)? As I have followed Jesus, have I exercised the right side and become more in touch with these spiritual abilities?

I wonder if Jesus being the perfect representation of humanity had in fact a perfectly balance human brain.

I’m not threatened by these thoughts and my beliefs have not changed. All credit and glory too God. I know that I’m different than I was. I know that this change is not ‘of me’ but ‘to me’.

I think the human brain is amazing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Right side living

I've been reading a book titled “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. Jill was (still is? I haven’t finished yet) a brain scientist who suffered a stroke. This book is her description of the event; her journey to 'recovery' and an interesting look into the physiology of the brain.
Jill's stroke was contained mostly to the left side of her brain which is, in my understanding (and I might add extremely simplified) primarily analytical in nature (linear, sequential). The right side being primarily ‘in the moment’ (abstract, emotional, experiential) was undamaged. Jill describes a type of ‘nirvana’ she experienced as her left hemisphere ‘went off line’ and her existence was limited to right hemisphere thinking. As I read her medical, scientific explanations of the physiology of the brain and her subsequent spiritual experiences “with the universe”, I am joyful to realize once again how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. Specifically, as I read Jill’s narrative of her spiritual experience, I am so thankful that I know the person responsible for it all, call Him by name, and call Him my friend.

As I spend this time away on vacation I reflect how I am choosing to live from my right side. To slow down, respond to my heart, and experience the moment.

See ya.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Slowing down

I’m going to Florida today at about 3:00. We’re driving, which thrills me because it’s slow. We’re going to a place that’s about 15 hours away and we’ll drive it over two days. I really look forward to stopping all the rushing. Even flying, which would get me to my destination in less than 3 hours, seems like too much of a hurry. Granted, I’d be able to start relaxing at the beach this afternoon instead of tomorrow evening, but the sacrifice is I’ll have to meet deadlines, timetables, schedules, and frankly, moving around at 400 mph, (while exceedingly stimulating), just seems like work right now.
I ponder our American lifestyle and reflect about all the anxiety and depression we as people experience. I wonder if we’re just stimulated beyond our design and cramming too much into our life. In the name of efficiency, we do more in less time and marvel at how much we get done.
John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart, spoke of how in the bible, God ‘meets’ men in the wilderness, outside of their normal environment. I’ve found this to be true. Often, when I am away I seem to ‘hear’ a little better. So in a couple hours, when the bags are loaded, the car is washed and filled up, and the instructions for feeding the dog and fish are gone over one more time, I’ll punch out, take a deep breath and hit the road, me, my beautiful wife and Jesus. The three of us have an expectation that by slowing down, perhaps we’ll actually miss less.

I’ll post a ‘postcard’ from the beach but untill then click on this,


The Monkey

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life, Freedom, Healing

As I walk through life and have those moments where my spirit 'catches', you know, some type of discomfort or anxiety, I ask myself, where in this experience is the life, freedom, or healing Jesus offers?
Growing up and into adulthood when these experiences occurred, I practiced distraction and detachment. I did allot of things to avoid discomfort (most of which was harmful to my mind, body, spirit and relationships). At about 30 years of age I realized life wasn’t going away and I was stuck with myself. Something had to give. It did. I met Jesus.
For awhile I thought perhaps He would help remove, or change the events that gave me discomfort or fear. I'm sure He did a few times, (I’ve got a few really cool stories) but what to do with the times it appears He didn't?
You see I believe Jesus came so that we can find life, healing and freedom. I base that upon His words from Luke 4:17-19 and John 10:10. However, He also said that in this world we will have trouble (john 17:33). How to balance this?

I conclude that in many circumstances the life, freedom and healing He promised is found in how we respond to trouble (or lack thereof).

So, As I walk through life and have those moments where my spirit 'catches', you know, some type of discomfort or anxiety, I ask myself, where in this experience is the life, freedom, or healing Jesus offers? Often I find it in my response.