Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We forget

I was reading a book online this morning, and the author said something that hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. We forget who we are. Believers, I mean. Followers of Jesus. Those who have been redeemed by the blood that was spilled when He suffered and died on the cross. We forget who we are. And when we do, we live very ordinary lives. We follow the spirit of the world, and the lusts of the flesh and mind as though we had not been brought into the kingdom of heaven. We forget that we are now called sons and daughters of God.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

Think about that. The Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe has called you his child. You were separated from Him by your selfishness and rebellion, and He made a way to righteously forgive you, and then adopted you as His child. Its who you are.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light... Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

But we forget. We live like ordinary worldlings. Lord, help us live in the conscious awareness of who we are. Open our eyes to see that we are seated in the heavens with you, in training to rule and reign with you. We are called to walk in your perfect love; to receive it and experience it and live it out toward You and the world. We are called to put your kingdom on display for this world to see. There is no higher purpose in life on earth.

King of kings, Lord of lords... help us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling You have placed upon us.

Its the least we can do.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I was thinking a lot about my family this morning. They are truly the riches of my life on earth... hence, all the pictures.

Just sharing the wealth. (smile)

the girls

Lovely ladies... Posted by Picasa

the boys

Guess where they got their looks??? Posted by Picasa

Lucky guy huh?

my lovely wife and I... Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006


I have been reading in the sermon on the mount this morning. I dont think there is a more deeply challenging message in the Scripture. Popular christianity makes practical righteousness and obedience options available for the truly spiritual. You can be saved and receive your "get out of hell" pass by simply praying "the sinner's prayer" without even thinking about making any life changes. All you have to do is "believe". If that is true, why did Jesus spend so much time describing what it would look like to follow Him and walk in His ways? I am not advocating a life of religious works to earn a right standing with God. "The just shall live by faith". In the letter to the Phillipians and many other places, Paul makes it really clear how foolish and misdirected it is to try to depend on our own righteousness to stand before God. But the pendulum has swung so far the other direction that we have lost sight of reality. How can we possibly think that He wants to forgive us for our sin and rebellion, but its okay for us to continue to willfully live in it? Let me get this straight. When I get a chance to talk with someone about Jesus, the big issue is hell. The goal is to find out if they want to go there when they die (duh), and then to offer them an easy "free pass" if they will only "believe" that He died on the cross and will forgive their sin. Pray a prayer asking for forgiveness, without necessarily experiencing any regret for how you have lived, or any desire to change that, and you are home free. So we can be "saved" and continue on in our selfish rebellion. Thats quite a deal. I dont see it in the Bible, but it ought to sell like ice cream on a hot summer day.

Lord, forgive us for dishonoring your sacrifice with such a superficial, ego-centric interpretation of the good news.

You deserve better...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

our boxes

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the
wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

This is an amazing verse. Think about it....

Jesus was led up by the Spirit

into the wilderness

to be tempted

by the devil.

This verse doesn't fit too well with the "feel good" version of Christianity so common here in western culture. Now, I realize that this verse is talking about Jesus. Its doesn't say that the Spirit led Joe Blow into the wilderness to be tempted. Still, based on what you hear from many pulpits today, God would NEVER do such a thing to anyone. How could a good God lead someone into a situation of temptation? Paul might wonder what that question is all about. He wrote to the church at Corinth...

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you… Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison...

Peter, and most of the other apostles, dying a martyrs death, might wonder why we would question whether a good God would lead us into spiritual warfare. The trouble is, we usually pre-define the terms of the discussion according to our cultural norms, and then evaluate God and His word by our standards.

Gods ways are pretty incredible... Our western theological boxes can't quite contain Him.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Its so easy to lose sight of the awesomeness of God's love. A seemingly infinite array of distractions parade before us each day. And not all of them are innately evil. Some are just normal, legitimate stuff of life. Nevertheless, they draw the eyes of our heart away from Jesus, making us vulnerable to the "deceitfulness of sin". We must train ourselves to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to wait upon the Lord. Oh man, how religious does that sound? I just cant think of another way to say it. I cant think of a "seeker-friendly" way to say that God wants to interact with me, one on one. That information just doesn't sound normal, no matter what kind of words you use to say it. We are not of this world. Thirty years ago, I closed my eyes to pray for the first time, and when I opened them, I was in another place. It looked like the same place I had lived in for almost twenty years, but it was different. Really I was different. My eyes were opened to the reality of God, and His incredible love for me. I was introduced to the purpose for which I was created. I lived in a new world. I couldn't... I wouldn't go back for anything. This is reality.

He is the truth... He is reality.

Any life lived outside of a relationship with Him is a deception.

The world hates that sort of language. It sounds so closed-minded. They call it arrogant, among other things. It cant be helped. Its true. And when He opens our eyes to that reality, and draws us into His loving embrace, He calls us to help Him reach out to those around us to bring them into the same experience. He calls us to a life of loving servanthood. He calls us to lay down our lives to demonstrate His love. And every day, the kingdom of darkness does its very best to distract us from fulfilling that calling. The spiritual forces that run this present world are committed to keeping us from drawing near to God, and from expressing His love to those who don't know Jesus. Its a war. Good and evil. God and satan. That doesn't sound very sophisticated in our modern world of scientific discovery. But its true.

Its reality.

So, as Paul said, we must fight the fight of faith. We must treasure our time with God, learning to recognize His presence, and hear His voice. The more clearly we see Him, the more fully our hearts will be set free to serve Him fearlessly in the world. The realization of His love for us will ignite that same sort of love in our hearts for others.

Lord... we pray, open our eyes.