Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If We Can Come Close

One of the most profound and pathetic conditions of our modern day religious culture is this: We see how close we can come to the current culture without crossing biblical precepts. Oh we blush at the thought of anyone figuring out the principles that dot between the precepts; but if anyone ever really did get the message sent from heaven, our budgets may be in trouble.

I say that because, no matter how you slice it, we are a consumer culture. Several years ago, the fellowship for which I am presently in union with, had some teaching curriculum entitled, “Give Them What They Want”. Seriously? Yet that may be what we are doing in mass.

There is so much debate over what God’s will for this current generation is I could choke; that is if I were a Democrat. But, I haven’t been since I voted for Jimmy Carter.

Don’t get me wrong (and many do). I am one who lives to find His will for this generation, but while we are on pursuit and propaganda missions, for what we like or dislike, ARE WE MISSING the real deal?

For all too often, I’ve stood in the company of influential evangelical leaders (just today actually) and had to hold my guts in, so I wouldn’t just bust at their persona that suggested their divine aristocracy above any and all who would vote blue… or is it red? I always get that messed up.

I sat with some dear friends today who, by my circle of professional relationship, would have otherwise been lost and destine for hell, had they not professed the same creed as me, and wondered. Would my other friend, the one with significant evangelical influence, looked at the context of their lives and loved them, or would he have taken a bitter view of their bohemian philosophies and lifestyles? Without even a single glance at their human struggle for truth in a vain and confused culture?

So here is my Basket Issue: I have friends on both sides of the argument. Oh not on both sides of God, per se, but on both sides of culture and education. And for that a grate gulf emerges.

On the one hand, we are the ones who decide what is “worldly” or not and thereby incorporate such patterns and fashions into our worship culture and faith communities, yet the world does exactly the same and we condemn them. Really? Is that what we are all about?

I mean on the one hand, we “wanna be like them… to attacked them” but where does anyone draw the line, since we’ve rejected the Holy Spirit from our midst. Please understand, I’m not just spouting sour grapes, but I believe God has called me and equip me to be a voice… a voice to this and maybe last generation.

My thoughts for the afternoon, without regrets. Will let you know the address of the new blog site. Watch it, it’s gonna come. Basket. The place where we put all our thoughts and stuff.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Searching for Anything to Prick My Heart

Recently my life has been in a valley. Now I’m not unfamiliar with highs and lows in the Christian life, for we all grow through stages in life (hopefully). We grow through the very act of faith stretching, yet nowhere in scripture does it tell us it will be easy. As a matter of fact, on the contrary, we are promised that challenges and tests to our faith will indeed come; yet He can and will sustain us, if we make the right decisions while in that valley. Could we call it the “valley of decision”? I think we could (Joel 3:14).

By right decisions, I’m not talking about something we decide, based upon logic (logismos Gk 2 Corinthians 10:5) or imaginary reasoning or reckoning of data compiled simply by experience or even book learning (an intelligent and informed choice); but decisions based solely upon His Spirit’s touch and leading (backed by scripture). Decisions that often move outside the realm of logic and reason; the kind that to human understanding makes no sense whatsoever, but to God they are right and true.

Several weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that God was trying to free me, yet it felt much to the opposite. And for that, I know there are numerous scriptural examples of such experiences, but while you’re going through it, you may find the difficulty level almost overwhelming.

For years I’ve “used” worship music, and devotional reading to set my frame of mind and mood as I entered into my own devotional time, or even to prepare me for ministry. I guess that’s not bad, and it’s probably far more common than I realize, but something happened in this most recent valley season of my life. I discovered that I was sandbagging my faith, with things that by all outward appearance would not be wrong (and often recommended) for the use of devotional time or encouragement; but I was using it in a way that actually diverted my attention away from my soul / sole provider.

Please understand what I’m saying. For many of you, those tools for “setting the mood” of your spirit so you can awaken to His ever present closeness are not wrong. At least as long as you don’t idolize the experience as a precursor to the Real Thing that you’re really seeking. That is: constant awareness (feeling) that He IS NEAR… and understands.

Granted, we are programed to “get into the mood” of church and preaching and worship by use of such godly tools, but what if and when those tools fail to elicit a “feeling” of His presence? What then?

For what I discovered was; I would play the songs, read the devotionals, and turn even to the scriptures that had once pricked my heart open – no longer did. Wow! What a revelation, what a terror, what a void, abandonment and abasement.

When the systems and tools no longer “work” to get us into the presence of God, then what?

What I discovered was this: He simply wants to be with me and me with Him; at least at this stage of my journey. For in all the things we use to remind us He is with us and loves us, there can be a trap. That trap is the functionality of “anything” other than His Spirit to affirm our place in Him and He with us. For most of us, we are so accustom to having things a certain way, that when change comes by compulsion or election we cringe or collapse at the thought of our little bubble being violated.

May I say, I didn’t ask to be where I am now in this “valley of decision” but I did ask, many years ago to know Him and to be with Him – above all other things. So what has His sovereignty allowed and provided for? Me to be in a valley where I will look to my left and right and see nothing but steep walls – and then I look up to the sky and cry out – Lord I need You and You alone.

And for that most recent cry and the honest request that is decades old – He is letting me find Him even as I am unsuccessfully Searching for Anything to Prick My Heart.

Thank You Jesus – You are always there – even “when the music fades”. May the deep awareness of Your strong and constant love, assurance and steadfast promises keep me in the valley of decision so I may never choose anything other than You to prick my heart. Psalm 51:10

Amen and Amen

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Every Eye Will See Him

Just a brief thought regarding the passage below and how it may come to pass.

Revelation 1:7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.

What a great way to start a revelatory warning and celebration. Indeed we, who believe in Christ and His work and kingdom, read these words with a sense of celebration for the Victory that is and will be ours. But also, this passage along with many others, respectfully projects a revelation in the form of a warning. Jesus IS returning someday, yet “all peoples on the earth ‘will mourn because of Him.’”

As much as we don’t want to face this fact, each and every person living on this globe will be personally aware that Jesus is returning and there will be an immediate realization of their loss and missed opportunities, as well as what they are facing with His arrival eminent.

But here’s my thought: Years ago, I didn’t understand, nor could I comprehend HOW all people everywhere would be able to “see” His actual decent with and through the clouds. But today I think I do.

It became very evident over recent months and years that internet use and social media ARE the coming wave for ALL communication. Which is nice and fun and technologically exciting, but what this instant social media boon actually means and facilitates is instant communication on a global basis.

All of which will provide billions of global residents the ability to “see” literally Jesus descending to the earth. Then beyond the techno digital images that people will “see” we can count on the Holy Spirit, to help spread the “seeing” experience.

For not only will people literally and physically “see” His descent, but they will also have a “seeing” moment in their souls that tells them, judgment day IS upon them.

So God has covered all His bases regarding the “seeing” of the Son of Man returning to this earth. God’s allowed digital social media to connect so many of us in “real time” and He has put in the souls of everyone, a place where our judgment awareness WILL BE awakened to its full revelation.

So when we hear about and see an earthquake on the east coast; that the TV or radio media and even phone lines couldn’t keep up with, but Twitter and Facebook could, you can begin to understand how the internet and social media will continue unabated as the emerging IMMEDIATE and visual sources of all global communication; to include the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.

Have a good Twitter and Facebook day! And remember, Jesus IS coming back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Book is Just a Book

Right? Well, maybe not. A book may represent many different things to many people. For some, it’s a sentence to deep and difficult learning. For others, it’s an ecstatic escape to another world or a better inner place.
For some, it represents work and tireless efforts at self-advance. For others its leisure time on a beach in south Florida. But regardless of how we use books, they represent one thing; a place where we’ve not been before. That’s right. Regardless of how familiar we are with the content of such pages, each letter, word, or sentence, stands alone as invisible territory we’ve never trod.

We can say that because, even information quoted verbatim, that many may be familiar with, is used to sand bag the authors own thoughts. So when we consider the “written word” of myriads of authors, we must consider that writing is a compilation of experiences and research both combined to make a slightly different path than trod before. Understand?

As for me, I am an excruciatingly slow reader, but concepts stick. Albeit, I may be funny from time to time, I cannot for the life of me remember jokes, but lofty thoughts have a way of sticking with me. I’m no better or worse than anyone else, I just tend to mock myself and the human animal; and that makes for some very spontaneous fun as I consider our way of being.

The reason I say A Book is Just a Book, is because books, or anything else in life are only as valuable as the reader / user deems them. Do you understand what I just wrote?

Our own personal quests, in life, lead us to find answers and assistance. Whether it’s the new piece of scaffolding I purchased for the last job I did, or the twenty dollar book on leadership or the Holy Spirit, I purchased to help me walk in greater effectiveness and communication, books, like proper tools, help us get the job done better.

So, for the person that shy’s away from literature, my heart goes out to you. For in a spirit of unwillingness to bring other views into our lives, we demonstrate PRIDE. We demonstrate our arrogance that believes we alone have the answers to what we seek. Not to mention we demonstrate abject fear that other opinions may taint our thinking. And they might, depending on our level of grounded faith in any one given subject.

May God help us to understand that there is wisdom in the counsel of many. And the many, includes more views than we could personally emit from our own little brains.

Finally, keep in mind, I’m not saying that any human ideas surpass that of God or His Word and Spirit, but what I am saying is, the more “raw” material we have within us, the better equipped we are for the Father to use us.

I still don’t know what to do with my books. Yet I must keep in mind; A Book is Just a Book.

Or is it?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crisis Zombies

Over the course of this last year, many of my friends and loved ones have found themselves in the depths of struggle and crisis; myself included.

Struggle and crisis in life are simply part of the journey. Our goal obviously is to remain in Him where we find strength to maintain and arrive victorious on the other side. But something I’ve noticed in myself and others. During such times or valleys, it can be very easy to find ourselves going about daily life, fulfilling our duties for making a living and just doing life, yet tottering back and forth as we walk, kind of like how zombies walk.

I would call that condition, Crisis Zombies. When people go through the motions of life, and even faith, yet all the while, being dead to the Life that lies just around the corner of the next crisis, is zombie like. I’m not saying we should look for or even anticipate the next struggle or crisis, but for most, the answer or relief is found just past the line when they gave up. Get it?

Far too many of us find ourselves walking around like Crisis Zombies; not really alive, just somehow resuscitated so as to totter through daily activities not really in touch with the Promise that comes to those who wait; those who wait upon the Lord.

I’ve not got this thing mastered yet, but one thing I do know, Crisis Zombies are in need of the Touch, the Breath, and the Voice of the Living God!

When Jesus approached Lazarus’ tomb, He did not call forth a zombie, but a fully alive human. He called forth, specifically by name, a man that might have otherwise been stuck in his tomb until the Resurrection day.

Please understand this; far too many of us have become adept at going through the church and life motions so as to put off nosey inquiries. But in reality we’re just going around like Crisis Zombies, only faking the fact that we’re upright and alive.

If you can admit to going through the motions just to get by, like a Crisis Zombie, then you’re not alone and you’re on the path to Life. There is Hope. Not hope in just one more day to call tomorrow, but Hope in a relationship and Life that produces far greater than just zombies. A Hope that IS LIFE… and not just some tottering facade.

For me, I’m really tired of accepting the Crisis Zombie condition in myself. Are you with me? Are you ready to experience True Life and not just some stop gap resuscitation pep-talk for the next day at hand? I know I am.

So the next time you see me, no Crisis Zombie! Only a living, breathing, listening and speaking resurrected child of God!