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