I haven’t been away … but an old trusty device checked out on me, having been replaced now by some new things that I’m still just learning how to use. Following, therefore, are some assorted thoughts that I’ve recorded, mostly while driving, since I last checked in on this page:
Way more than the confrontation between the message God has given us and our sinfulness in that or other areas of our life, hypocrisy is when we claim to be His but don't live out all that He made us to be. As long as we let perceptions of our imperfections keep us sidelined and out of the game into which God sent us, we are, for all intents and purposes, zeroes. So, don't let concerns about someone thinking you a hypocrite if you speak God's truth keep you out of the game. We are ALL hypocrites in some sense, but it's not about us; it's about Him Who is perfect Who saved us from the ultimate penalty of our own imperfections.
Everything is going to be out of kilter in your life. So what? Step anyway into that thing that He has called you to do. Not that there'll be no conflict there - no, there will be lots of conflict because He has made you to be a warrior - but He has equipped you to do that battle and He gives you unlimited backup and support.
Are you living in the perception of rejection? You won't if you connect with Him by doing and being what He sent you to do and be. And it will never impoverish you to sign up for unlimited resources, because God never sends us out without giving us all that we need to do what He made us to do.
You've got to be doing that thing that lets you speak from Authority.
You're not going to be making money (creating adequate resources, putting food on the table, keeping a roof overhead, etc.) unless you are doing that thing for which you have authority. Doing that thing is how you praise God. It is how you create. Let the works of thy hands praise Him!
Let all that hath breath, that has been created by your hands, praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
Do you love Jesus, or do you love the concept of Jesus? Do you love His person, or do you love the things that have a semblance of His name attached, things like church, Christmas, or fighting against beer sales on Sunday?
Is it really well with your soul, or does it just feel well as you sing the song because of the emotional high and its associations for you?
Many of us have paid our dues in religion, but in the ecclesia (the Body of Christ, the family of God), Jesus paid it all.
As we focus on self, we get less of what it is that we want for ourselves, and others seem to get it all. As we focus on others, not only do we get to participate in them getting what they want, but we get what we want ourselves.
Jesus was not a Christian! Shocking, isn't it? But think about it. The term “Christian” was not even used until Paul visited the believers at Antioch (Acts 11), well after Jesus Christ was ascended up into heaven. It meant that they were simply followers of the Christ. Christ was not a follower of Christ, and yet we have all of these religious appellations that mean something to us, and we make separation decisions on that basis, instead of focusing on what really matters, which is: where does that person stand in relationship to Jesus Christ? Does he know Jesus? And if he does not know Jesus, will we be the one to introduce him to Jesus, regardless of his “religious beliefs”?
In religion, we judge people on the basis of their relative adherence to our religion. If our religion includes a particular form of music, we judge somebody well who produces that music well in accordance with our standards. If we judge in accordance with a particular version of the Bible, we judge people well who adhere to that version and poorly those who do not. If we judge according to appearance, and our religion is in favor of long skirts on women and short hair on men, then we judge people well who fit that standard, and those who do not are judged as being less spiritual, or even as in sin. If we believe that the Bible teaches that women are to sit down and shut up in church, we judge according to that, as well. But what really matters is what is in our heart, and our personal relationship with God, our heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus Christ. Who can know the heart of a man? But if a deep, deep love for God is burning in your heart, it will affect how you behave on the outside, though that does not necessarily mean anything in terms of relationship to some religious standards. Perhaps some have judged writings here concerning church without listening to the scriptural basis for those comments because it made them uncomfortable or did not coordinate with their long-term religious held beliefs. Christians tend to look harshly at people who do not attend church regularly, because we've been brought up to believe that that is a good Christian thing to do, even that it is Biblically commanded (which it is not, nor could it have been, as “the church” did not even come into existence until well after the New Testament. But that does not make church a bad place; in fact, it can be most advantageous to the ecclesia if we understand what it is and use it rightly … )
For a church to remain relevant, it must rise above religion. It must become a mechanism whereby the ecclesia may accomplish its true purpose as the body of Christ. Where it is a business (and church is a business), it must do business well, by the principles of the Bible. Where it makes way for ecclesia, it must give permission - it must free up the ecclesia - to be the ecclesia.
What if church is a place where we may go to see God? Enjoy and appreciate a local church, but don't do so believing that it is of NT pattern or command.
God says, Will you trust me for something bigger than what you were planning?