Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Coming Protestant Revival

I should let each of you in on a little secret; I am a member of the Catholic Church. Yes since 1967 I’ve been a card carrying member of the universal Church of Jesus Christ; the true Church. Not just a member of some off-shoot sectarian fellowship, but a part of the Body of Christ here on earth. By His choosing and my accepting – who I was and who He is.

So don’t abandon me now (John 6:66) because you think I pay homage to Rome. I don’t nor ever will. But who I do pay homage to is Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord, my heavenly Father God and my favorite Therapist, the Holy Ghost (Spirit for you newbies). That is where my loyalties and my heart rest, no question, a settled deal, end of story.

But my heart has been burning recently and it’s not because of the acid reflux that I’m battling, but it’s burning in regards to the global shift that appears to be mounting, from the ground up. From the protests being heard around the world, to right here in the United States; people are on the move.

Granted, the reasons for protesting are varied and polarizing, but nonetheless the phenomenon is pushing something to the forefront of the media – power to the people. Whether it’s the Wisconsin state employees or the masses of enslaved North Africans or even the Tea Party bunch right here in the U.S. – people are on the move – people are “crying out” for change. They are “crying out” for freedom, reciprocity, equity, justice, safety, food, and protection – and most of all PEACE. That’s right peace. Oh you think it’s about something else, but guess again.

Peace, that elusive condition of life that each of us craves, even when we don’t know it’s missing from our lives. That missing something that nothing can substitute for very long, without the addictive “jonesing” each one will feel when too much time elapses between fixes of peace.

We can only go so long with tyranny, chaos, dyer need, isolation; the list could go on and on, but without PEACE life evolves desperately in the direction of death and self-destruction – or revival. We can only take the lack of peace for so long and then we “cry out”.

You may say, “Revival, it doesn’t much sound like the world is crying for revival”? I would say guess again. Since we lost our original peace in the garden and between us and God, humanity has been on a desperate quest for the revival of peace within and without. That sense that tells us everything will be okay – I can rest now.

But unfortunately, without the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that He alone can provide, not as the world offers, rest will not be found for the weary. And the protesting will continue – unabated until “peace” is offered like a carrot on the end of a stick.

The Coming Protestant Revival will look nothing like that of Luther’s day, except for one detail. People will be pro-testing.

Check out this definition of Protestant: capitalized a : any of a group of German princes and cities presenting a defense of freedom of conscience against an edict of the Diet of Spires in 1529 intended to suppress the Lutheran movement b : a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth; broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church 2 : one who makes or enters a protest.

Okay, don’t get lost in the Reformation part of this definition, that’s for another blog. But focus on the second definition; simply put – one who makes or enters a protest. Hmmm. Do you think we could be on the verge of a Protestant Revival? A revival of people protesting and crying out for something they are not presently getting from their governments or their dictators or their legislators, or whomever?

I think we are, and the day is coming when one will appear on the scene that has the answer; the bridge to PEACE and SAFETY. And across this war torn, heart sick, blinded planet – people in mass will swallow the offer, hook-line-and-sinker!

The Coming Protestant Revival should not be mistaken for a move of God. Be very aware, we have been warned. We have documented proof that God will set the stage for this level of delusion and illusion, so the masses who are in demand – will get exactly what they want. PEACE and SAFETY. They will be offered freedom, reciprocity, equity, justice, safety, food, protection, and most of all PEACE. Oh yeah and cheap gas. Don’t laugh. Someone will come on the scene very soon who will broker all of this, and even the likes of Rick Warren may jump on board (maybe); or at least Bono will.

End of story: The Coming Protestant Revival will force the hand of global leaders to find someone who can speak to the masses, so as to avoid global rebellion and revolution. So keep your media device tuned to the pulse of what’s happening all around us.

This Coming Protestant Revival or revival of protest; will be like no other ever seen or imagined in the history of mankind (Matthew 24, 25).

See you at the revival; or should I say see you from above the revival?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Divine Guidance System

I blog for many reasons, but one reason is to clear the logjam of thoughts in my heart and my head. When it clears I can; a) better hear from God; b) better hear from myself; or c) better justify my waste of time blogging. You be the judge.

Regardless of my reasoning, God has a powerful influence over us. Oh He will not pull the strings of our life, like some lifeless marionette, so as to have capricious control over us, but He does exert His will over us, and that’s unmistakable. Not to remove our free will, but to place before us, choices.

And at every turn, or choice, we can opt to do things His way or ours. That’s the beauty of free will. That’s the beauty of His love and the freedom He has given us. The only problem with that freedom is my ways tend toward spiritual entropy. My ways often seem right, but in the end destruction is my lot.

Now that may not have always been the case, take the Garden for instance. Adam’s lot in life, before he disobeyed was really a destiny of glory. A destiny of great contentment, provision and relationship, but only after that initial deception and poor choice, did our destructive destiny emerge.

Never in the history of mankind have we needed God’s exerted love, grace and perfect will like we do today. The reason being, every person on the planet is headed to the End. And as we move on that slanted continuum we need a Divine Guidance System like no human can provide. We need the deep and unmistakable Voice of God. We need the gravitational pull of the Holy Spirit and the codified Word of God to mark our steps and speak us back into line with the Father’s best for our lives.

There are many guidance systems out there for us to choose from, but only one Divine Guidance System, that will lead us in the perfect will of God. Isaiah 30:21 tells us; “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

That is powerful. But it is also very dicey, because hearing a voice and obeying a voice are two different things. Many years ago I heard someone say, “Let your conscience be your guide.” That sounds so noble, as long as your conscience has been made alive by the Life of Christ. As long as faith exists in God and His Word, it’s likely your conscience will be safe to follow, but be careful. Because if faith in God is absent or waning, your conscience may be your worst enemy.

We must be able to discern the Voice of God above all other voices. We must be guided by His divine influence and no other. But oh how difficult it can be some days. And do you know why?

Because we are creatures of comfort, habit and self-preservation; and hearing the perfect harmony of God’s Voice in our ear, tends to disrupt our flesh. It will disrupt the selfish ambitions so inherent within every one of us, nonetheless that Voice will come. And when it does we need to heed.

Because the day and the hour IS coming when God’s Divine Guidance System will no longer be signaling directions to us. Paul the Apostle writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

Now granted Paul is writing about the great deception plied by the Lawless one, but take note of something in this passage. Refusal to love the truth, the true Voice of God, brings not only destruction, but “a powerful delusion” so people believe “the lie”.

The only hedge against a God sent powerful delusion is LOVE OF TRUTH. And the only truth is the Voice of God – written or Spirit. Now you may argue with me at this point, and say you love the truth, but let me ask you, when this powerful delusion is released upon humanity – how will they know? Isn’t that the point of a good lie or delusion or deception? Believability is what lies, delusion and deception is all about!

We need A Divine Guidance System NOW!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In a World of Hair Triggers

This morning I just read an article about the pending use, by Iran, of the Suez Canal. Since 1979 Iran has not been allowed to use the canal, but since the ousting of Mubarak and the subsequent takeover by the military, they’ve conceded to allowing two military ships to pass through the canal on Monday. Israel states that they take a very “grave view” of this move.

Now this may turn out to be nothing, but on the other hand it could be just one more precursor to the final chapter. Oh, you may say “that’s ridiculous Russell”; but let me tell you in a World of Hair Triggers – nothing is ridiculous, when it comes to considering the End. Because like it or not, it’s coming.

Maybe not this Sunday at 5:30 AM Central Standard Time, but it is coming nonetheless. So what’s my point?

In a World of Hair Triggers, somebody is bound to fire the first shot, and it may not take much provocation; especially when everyone’s view of the End varies so widely. And that even includes views within Christianity.

Just yesterday, while waiting for my daughter in the lobby of a hair salon, I engaged in a short but curious conversation with two men about the 2012 predicted end of the world. Interestingly enough, the eldest of the two men (at least 75) asked me if I thought the world was going to end on April 12th. I told him I didn’t know, but I suppose we should be prepared. The other man said it’s just one more prediction that likely won’t come true. And he’s probably right, kind of. Maybe?

He’s right in the fact that we will never know the exact date or time of the End, but we can read the signs; because God never blindsides anyone with justice or mercy. As a matter of fact He goes to great lengths to forewarn people of pending judgment or blessing. Go ahead and search the scriptures and you’ll find out. There are no surprises in the economy of God’s will and plan for creation. Yet how often do we think events and circumstances just sneak up in some capricious manner and bam! We’re caught off guard. Murphy’s Law maybe?

Many people think this way, but the fact of the matter is, God has and always will prepare and forewarn people of His pending movements in the earth. And today is no exception to that rule.

We live in a World of Hair Triggers, therefore we must take note of all the prophetic information God has already given us, and hold that as a lens so as to properly keep all these matters in focus. Because one of these days, in a World of Hair Triggers, somebodies gonna blink, somebodies gonna twitch, somebodies gonna fire, and the Apocalypse will be unleashed.

May we be ready!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Early Distant Warnings

Every so often I toy with the idea that soon Jesus will return. When I do, I get kind of jittery on the inside, almost nervous, you know what I mean? Not because I’m fearful of being left behind when the Rapture occurs, I’m certain I’m going, but I think I get nervous about the run up to that moment.

Over and over in the scripture we see prophecy being fulfilled. Time and time again from the Old Testament even into the New, God warns people of things to come. Sometimes they are prophetic announcements that bring joy, hope and encouragement and other times they are warnings of pending judgment. In my spirit, my gut, I believe the days of joy, hope and encouragement this side of heaven are rapidly coming to an end.

I’m sure if you studied Christian history, you would find generation after generation, believing that they were the ones to see and live the Eschaton, but one thing is for certain, some generation will.

I’m no prophet, but the closer I draw to the Lord, and the more I put my ear to the rail, I’m telling you I can hear something coming. When I was a kid, I used to ride my mini bike down at the slough just North of Lower Beaver Road on the North West side of Des Moines. There was a set of railroad tracks that ran alongside the road and then swung into the trees and around the slough, then over a small trestle over the Beaver Creek and off into Johnston.

To get from the slough, where I would ride, to my friend’s house, where I would also ride, I would have to ride the railroad tracks West and North and over the trestle. I found the faster I would ride the smoother the ride. Anyway, many times before I would get inside the rails, I would turn off my bike and listen. Then I would put my ear to the metal rail and see if I could hear anything.

Now you might say that’s not possible, but let me tell you, there were times I heard nothing, felt safe and raced my way out into Johnston over the trestle and then down into Chris’ bean field. And there were other times, I heard something resonating from the rail, and voila a freight train would soon come lumbering down the tracks and around the bend through the woods and over the trestle, while I stood and watch from under the Interstate 80 bridge. Once the train passed I was clear to go.

Here’s my point: I’ve been putting my ear to the rail these days and I’m getting an Early Distant Warning. That’s right, something’s coming and it’s coming faster than any of us anticipate.

But here’s the problem, after 120 years of preaching and building an ark; Noah, his family and the selected animals boarded the ark. For 120 years an Early Distant Warning had been sounding. Rumblings in the earth, bigger clouds than ever before, animals acting skittish, an overarching sense of foreboding rested upon the people, plus Noah’s gospel preaching, but no one heeded the signs; no one.

That is profound to me. Because how long have we had the Message of the Eschaton? You check it out; it’s been a long time; much longer than 120 years and people are still ignoring the Early Distant Warnings.

This morning in church, I was prepared to deliver part two of my series “The Secret Things”; when God interrupted the flow. As I was singing and leading worship, Matthew 25:1-13 came to my mind. Out of the blue the Ten Virgins parable dropped into my heart. By now, after 20 plus years of preaching, I know to go with God, so I bailed on my sermon and PowerPoint slides and we turned to Matthew.

Read it for yourself, but let me tell you this, the Early Distant Warnings that the Holy Spirit led Christ to speak of in the latter parts of Matthew, and elsewhere are coming to pass. Be very aware, that God never blindsides anyone with judgment or blessing. His Word always declares His pending promises, be they judgment or blessing.

So I say to you this hour, put your ear to the rail. Set your heart and mind on things above. Now is NOT the time to slack or sleep, because be rest assured. All ten virgins were part of the party, all ten fell asleep as they awaited the Groom’s coming, but only half were prepared when he came.

Only half had extra and enough oil. The other half, much to their chagrin, had no extra or enough oil to keep their lamps lit. And panic set in, because they had been warned, they were part of the “church” party, but they were not ready. They did not heed the Early Distant Warnings.

Now Matthew 25 is speaking of the Eschaton, but one can extract another truth from this section of text. And that truth is this: God will show up from time to time in our lives, and we need to be ready. We need to be ready when He shows up at church Sunday mornings. We need to be ready when He shows up at work for that outreach of love opportunity. We need to be ready when He shows up and a missions offering is needed. We need to be ready when He shows up through the life of a broken and needy soul.

So the question is: Are you ready for God to show up, not only when the End comes, but tomorrow morning at work or school? Because let me tell you my friend, He’s sending an Early Distant Warning, and we’d better be ready.

Are you ready? You’ve been warned.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hey what TIME is it?

I am in no way shape or form an expert on time. As a matter of fact time tends to be my greatest nemesis, yet the thing I covet most in life.

I’m not sure why I have this love-hate relationship with time, but I know it exists. I think it’s funny how many books on time management I’ve read or even own, but it’s still the ongoing battle that never seems to go away. And the older I get, the more I’m convinced that some people, more than others, are able to navigate the invisible tsunami of time management, better than others.

Now day’s people talk about Attention Deficit Disorder and other non-pathological conditions that tend to malign one’s ability to effectively function in the rat race of life. And for many there are effective treatments, yet for others there is not.

My thinking, leads me to believe that some folks are simply hardwired for organizational effectiveness and others are not. Some people have a built in mechanism that I call a healthy paranoid view of the end, whereas others simply don’t. Meaning a full and concrete grasp of the end goal produces a depth of desire that motivates ones proper use of time. Whereas the person that simply cannot see nor even cares about the end, time tends to be misused more often than not.

Quoting John L. Spalding; “What we love to do we find time to do.” And that makes sense to me. It even simplifies and demystifies time management for me. Because there are many things in life that I do not like to do, so they tend to go to the bottom of the stack. And the things that tend to feel good I do.

Okay before you go off and start criticizing me for doing things that feel good, ask yourself this; Are you good at time management? If so, it’s one of two things; 1) you’re naturally gifted at administrative things and you can see the gravity of the end (my healthy paranoia concept), or 2) you’ve by default through numerous failures found the greater good of keeping up on things.

Either way, you are doing time management pretty well and are experiencing the “good feeling” of accomplishing goals set before you. And that’s great!

But what about the one who is not good at time management? My thinking is; we like the way things are, we wish for things to be different, but we opt to move in mediocrity and we’re okay with that. Now granted from a big picture stand point, if the world only had poor time managers, we’d all still be in the Dark Ages. And I for one am glad we’re not, but if the world only had effective time managers, administrators, leaders and the like, we may not have Art or Love. We might all be wearing the same colored clothing. We could all be living in very efficient little apartments with antique white semi-gloss walls.

We just might all be using PC’s instead of Mac’s (Mac users are a cult you know?). We’d all be singing the same song and marching to the same beat (because that’s more efficient). We’d all be dull; you know the saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Okay before you time managers all send me a letter bomb to silence me, understand what I’m saying. We need efficient people, but we also need people that are more relaxed and are willing to stop and smell the flowers; just because “they smell good”. Or we need people who will attempt the art of Art and Love just because they produce a “good feeling” in those who embrace them.

And don’t get me started on food and fun, because I fully understand that we would not have food and fun if it were not for some project manager somewhere ordering, shipping, meeting, calling, and planning for a powerful food and fun experience (the time managers). But likewise the raw materials of food and fun are nothing without the wide eyed dreamers and schemers who simply cannot tolerate the same old, same old, for efficiency sake alone.

Disclaimer: the ideal human is the gifted administrator that also loves fun and will indeed stop and touch, taste, see, hear and say nothing, but simply wonder and enjoy.

So, now that I’ve wasted (so say the time managers) the last 30 minutes, yet thoroughly enjoyed doing so, I will end this by saying remember Einstein. That’s right; remember his work on the time-space-continuum. The theory is this (my paraphrase); the faster you move toward the speed of light, TIME SLOWS DOWN; which sounds great if you’re trying to get a lot accomplished (more time, more time). But once you reach the speed of light and go beyond it, TIME GOES IN REVERSE. And you actually lose ground, you go backwards. And that’s not good.

My Hypothesis: Albeit we need time management to get the job done, we also need wide eyed boat anchors of daily ease like myself to keep the entire human race from ultimately going backwards, because the healthy paranoid time managers’ have attempted to push us beyond the speed of light, ultimately ending in the reversal of all human advance.

Conclusion: Have another cup of coffee and blog first. Then go ahead and tackle your task list, and along the way, play very loud music of your choice, be kinetic as much as possible, so as to avoid Thrombophlebitis, and if you don’t get the list completed, enjoy a hug, a kiss, or even extra dessert (or a frosty cold one for those inclined) to reward yourself for not being so anal retentive that you missed the actual fabric of life, that all those effective time managers made actually made possible, yet few actually enjoy, because they are thinking about the next day’s task list.

Carpe Diem - 'Carpe diem' is usually translated from the Latin as 'seize the day'. However, the more pedantic of Latin scholars may very well seize you by the throat if you suggest that translation. 'Carpe' translates literally as 'pluck', with particular reference to the picking of fruit, so a more accurate rendition is 'enjoy the day, pluck the day when it is ripe'. The extended version of the phrase 'carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero' translates as 'Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future'.

Think about that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Suitable Idols

I’ve never fancied myself as an idolater. As a matter of fact, I truly love God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I’ve never wanted nor have I allowed anything to be set before or above my God. Or at least that’s what I’ve always thought.

Most of us have so many little rituals and habits and things we do with our lives, that if any suggestion would be made that they might be dangerous; just might produce outrage if not outright fisticuffs. And why? Because most of us pick and choose our idols so as not to offend ourselves or those we want to impress. Oh you may disagree, but hear me out.

How much time do you spend on the internet? How much time do you spend watching TV? How much time do you spend reading? Or exercising? Or playing video games? Or working for that matter? I know this may sound legalistic (and it may be), but how much time does God garner of your waking hours?

Yeah I get what you’re thinking. “Hey… I’ve got a life you know!” “I can’t always be cloister away somewhere humming and thinking about God.” And for that I would say yes, I agree. But have you actually ever considered how you spend your life? I mean as to how you budget the life God’s given you, so as to please Him and put Him first? Sorry, my bet’s on your idols.

I say that because in the name of noble pursuits and just plain living – it’s easy to ignore God and adore a life that’s just plain full of Suitable Idols. Please understand that I too am guilty as the rest of you, and I get Romans 8:1 so I’m not going to bed scared tonight, but seriously, for the average Joe (sorry to all my friends named Joe), we interface far more with life than with the Life. Do you get what I mean?

And therein lays the real problem, because life in of itself is not a sin, we dive right in and determine to make the most of everyday. All the while God is patiently waiting for us to recognize that our Suitable Idols are actually not. Oh wait, this doesn’t count for all my friends in the ministry – NOT.

Of all people we ministers should be devoted to the demolition of anything and everything that even remotely usurps the proper place of God in our lives.

Maybe you think I’m just sleepwalking and when I wake up your conviction will be gone, but guess again. This isn’t a dream and I’m not sleepwalking and WE HAVE TROUBLE WITH OUR IDOLS. And that trouble is we’ve made them suitable. We’ve dressed them up in everyday clothes and noble aspirations of work ethic and devoted religious lingo and activity; all at the expense of missing the thing that matters most; a deep and personal abiding relationship with God.

So the next time you see some pagan doing something you think is idol worship; check your weapon at the door, because you may be packing something far more dangerous; a Suitable Idol.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Better Than You Thought

Wouldn’t it be great if that statement became a reality in your life today? You know, so you could say; “I’m really more better than you thought.”

What a wonderful butcher of English grammar I could be, all in the name of causing someone else to feel better. Yet far too often we seek to be proper and steadfast in our approach to restoring others, but what did God do? Seriously how did he bring about the restoration of humanity?

He did what most of us would not do; He let His Son be killed by very evil people. And He stood by; correction, He even turned His back on His Son, when it happened. I couldn’t do that. Aren’t you glad I’m not God? I know I am.

And why did He choose such a dramatic display of love and affection for people who hated Him simply because they didn’t know Him? Because it was more effective than just using bad grammar. Albeit bad grammar makes a point, it saves no one from their sins and their self.

Oh it might make us feel good for a little while, but in reality nothing changes the distance between us and God except the shed blood and death of His Son. And that in itself; should be bad grammar, but it’s not.

Jesus really is More Better Than You Thought. You just have to get passed His bad grammar.

As for me, I’m not Jesus, but I too am More Better Than You Thought! And you?

Keep in mind, as God looks through His Son at us, we all are More Better Than we actually are. Think about it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

FITNESS or FEEL - what worship seems to be to this generation

I would think that throughout every generation there have been worship trends befitting the cultural and religious climate of the day. And today is no exception. Wherever you go in Kingdom circles, people are doing something they often call “praise and worship” during a time they call church or worship service. And for that I’m glad. Better that than the alternative – no worship of God at all.

But something unique happens when we mix dust with the divine. The dust of our humanity with the divine mandate and empowerment to worship invariably produces something less than perfect and most often something imperfect and proprietary to each and every faith community.

The unfortunate fact is, if we see something that “works” in one place or another, we believe it will and should work where we’re at, but unfortunately that’s not true. The reason is that genuine worship of the Living God should flow from where we’re at to where He is; not from where someone else has been. That means worship is indeed a very personal thing.

Oh granted, if we love God we’ll all express some sort of jubilance toward Him in our approach to His presence, but that being said, that is where the commonality of worship ends. It’s only common in the fact that love and adoration are to be expressed, but only in and to the degree of our vernacular or our common behavior.

Again, what that means is; people in Eastern Europe, South America or Southeast Asia may all in one voice express love and adoration for the Living God, but nonetheless they will all do it with slight different nuances that vary from people group to people group.

So how do we gage genuine worship? Well for one, we do not base it wholly upon if it feels good or not. Yes that’s right, just because something feels good, doesn’t make it appropriate worship of our God. If we use the feel good measurement for worship we must then subscribe to the assumption that the one doing the worship is A) in right standing with God; via Jesus Christ through faith alone, and B) the one doing the worship is NOT determining their worship base upon their subjective assessment of “self” feelings, but upon God’s worth and value alone.

All that to say this: Is God pleased with our worship? Is it a befitting format for the God of the universe? Or is it just kind of the next big music trend, proprietary to each generation?

That’s really the big question. For if God IS PLEASED with our “spiritual act(s)” of worship then go for it! But if He IS NOT pleased with our format, candor and even language, it’s all wasted time and energy.

So here’s my take on this always hot topic: start with the basics. What’s in your hand Mosses? That’s right, what do you have at this very moment that you can implement so as to express love, adoration, jubilation, devotion and worth to the Living God? A crooked stick? A bright colored banner? A solitary voice? A mind filled with enormous vocabulary? Simple and empty hands that can be raised? A CD player? A six person live band? Breath being exhaled from fragile lungs? What do you have that you will offer to God as an expression of worship?

Hymns, choruses, interpretive dance, silence, isolation, a crowd, flashing lights; whatever you have offer it with a right heart (Psalms 51:17) and God will not turn you away. On the other hand offer it with a wrong heart and you end up with the next trendy thing that someone else is doing or trying to sell. Meaning He won’t join you in the moment.

I say all this to convince you of one thing: external factors mean little when worshiping the Living God, but it’s ALL ABOUT the internal, it’s all about the HEART.

If my heart is not right before God, it doesn’t matter how show stopping my worship experience is, God will not be there. Oh we may experience some level of emotional catharsis, but a genuine connection with the Living God, nope. For worship IS ALL about relationship and intimacy. If my relationship with God IS NOT intimate and personal in expression and affection, power will not proceed from Heaven (the anointing will be missing).
But on the other hand, if my relationship with God is honest, real and deeply connected to God, by constant use and fellowship with His Spirit, then no external force can thwart my worship nor can it enhance it.

So when it’s all said and done, even though doesn’t have the powerhouse live worship band, lights, smoke, mirrors – or even an eye popping building – we do have one thing; broken, tender, hungry hearts that are willing to encounter God without fear or presumption and transparency of relationship with each other so as to buoy one another up in the times of shelter and storm.

Relationship – That’s what worship is all about. Fitness and Feel must never be interchanged, for without worship that is befitting to God, we’ll have nothing less than a group of feelers; and rarely if ever a group of believers.

So how’s your worship Fitness these days?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Isn’t that a great word/phrase? Notwithstanding holds so much content, one can hardly get one’s mind around it. I suppose it depends upon context, but then again everything depends upon context.

Paul the Apostle said, if we live by the “letter” of the law we’ll die, but if we live by the “Spirit” of the law we shall live.

I ask you: do you daily live by the letter or by the Spirit? For therein lays the most essential component of the Christian life. In 1 Corinthians 14:11, Paul is teaching about the gifts of the Spirit, specifically the gift of tongues and interpretation. But veiled beneath his words are the Words of God; the Words of the Spirit.

The Amplified Version puts it this way: “But if I do not know the force and significance” of the Words being spoken. Essentially I’m lost or like a person hearing an unknown foreign language if I don’t understand the real meaning behind the voice. The NIV puts it this way: “If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying” I’m again like a person hearing an unknown language. That means I won’t know what to order at the restaurant or how to ask where the bathroom is located.

Let’s put it this way. Either you understand the “meaning” behind what is being said by God or you don’t. There is little in between room for error. And unfortunately masses of people are getting things WRONG.

If you look at Jesus' teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6 and beyond, you can see that Jesus is teaching on subjects that most of His hearers are familiar with, yet they simply don’t understand the gravity or the implication of each. Or can I say they don’t know the real “meaning” behind the voice or the message. Granted it’s easy to look at Mosses and think you know what he meant when he codified the Laws for Israel in that particular century, but do you understand what God really meant, when it comes to us in the 21st Century?

Therein lays the ongoing issue: We don’t really know God. Notwithstanding our church experiences, do we really understand His meaning behind the Precepts? For as a friend of mine put it, paraphrasing his words; “living in the presence of God is more important than in the principles of God”. Now granted my friend acknowledged that God’s principles are essential and good for us, yet formulas and tables and lists of holy to-do’s or not-to-do’s are not what this thing is all about.

This thing IS about RELATIONSHIP. Without genuine relationship, we have nothing more than old dry religion. And few if ever are really turned on by formulas and tables and to-do lists (well maybe the anal retentive’s). I know I’m NOT.

So I ask you: Notwithstanding what you already know; are you ready and willing to LIVE IN HIS PRESENCE? The choice is yours, but my advice is this; avoid the formula based religion/relationship thing, because in that you’ll find nothing but “fear” and that is not where God is for this generation.

Oh wait… before you log off and call me a hairy-tick… I just want you to know that I love Proverbs 1:7 as much as the next guy, but being scared of a god who’s ready to spank you all the time IS NOT what Jesus came to reveal. As a matter of fact, we are called to fearlessly approach the “Throne of Grace” and find mercy and help in time of need.

That doesn’t sound like a scary place, but it sounds like a tender and warm place where we CAN find shelter in the time of storm.

So: Notwithstanding all your religious upbringing; God IS WAITING for you to engage in a RELATIONSHIP… Not a religion.


PS: this is the blogging you get when snow falls and I can’t go water-proof a basement.