Archive for July, 2010


This song really reflects the true Good News. So often I think the truth in it is what we teach when a person is coming to Christ then switch it up to where God is upset at our performance. Let’s remember His Love is constant and not fickle.

I remember back about 6 years ago my family and I went through an experiential seminar that really helped me to experience the truth of God’s grace beyond just the head knowledge. If you feel your journey is in a box limited by your own wounds or scars and would like to begin the journey out of the box, I would totally encourage you to check out the Breakthrough Seminar if you are open to what God wants to free you from it is truly worth it. If you decide to do it and you want to share it let me know I would love to journey with you where I can!  Here’s the link.

http://www.heartconnexion.org/index.html

Come As You Are- Pocket Full of Rocks
He’s not mad at you
He’s not disappointed
His grace is greater still,
than all of your wrong choices
He is full of mercy and he is ever kind
Hear his invitation, His arms are open wide

You can come as you are,
with all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
The pain you hold in your heart,
bring it all to Jesus
You can come as you are

Louder than the voice that whispers your unworthy
Hear the sound of love,
that tells a different story
Shattering your darkness and pushing through the lies
How tenderly he calls you,
His arms are open wide

You can come as you are,
with all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
The pain you hold in your heart,
bring it all to Jesus
You can come as you are

You can come as you are

You can come as you are with all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
The pain you hold in your heart,
bring it all to Jesus
You can come as you are

As we have been going through Romans I have been reminded of how the law of God brings me to my need for my savior. It’s interesting  how much rebellion fires up within me when I try to keep the rules. Even when my motivations are noble. I don’t do what I want to do then I do what I don’t want to do. UGH!  I have noticed in my life when I am drawn in by the fact of God’s love for me and allow that to be the source of my life I don’t even think about rules I just live loved and love others. This in turn doesn’t result in the rebellion that saying “I can’t, I shouldn’t”  produces in me.

I want to live like this all the time but by tendency is to be a noble rule follower most of the time followed by self-condemnation and self loathing when I don’t live up to the standard I set before myself. I know God’s grace covers me but when I am focused on rules then that becomes a principle I live by and that doesn’t produce much victory or confidence in the work God is doing in me.

My struggle is to remember I can’t do anything (even with noble reasons) consistently. When I am “doing” it for a reason. I want to remember who I am; I am God’s kid who was made in a unique way truly loved and accepted right were I am at the moment and to let this truth transform me rather than becoming a principle I live by.

I finally got to see this movie last night. Let me just say it is nothing short of absolutely awesome. Dan Merchants film shows the heart of so much of the problems we have in the modern church in America as someone put it in the movie “part of the body of Christ for the Last 50 years or so has had its hands and feet amputated and just had big mouth”

Watch this movie I could feel the Spirit within me weeping for where we at now. Why has it been so easy to politicize Jesus? I have been basically a pretty conservative guy for the past 15 years or at least as long as I paid attention to things. I am starting to wonder if I may have been a victim of good political propaganda. Don’t get me wrong I am not disliking our country or thinking that conservative ideals are un-christian. I have just been at a place where I felt Jesus is not about politics whatsoever.

These are some the thoughts that have already been percolating in my brain for awhile but this movie just gave a little bit of a voice to. The main thing Jesus wants from me is to love people where they are like he loves me right where I am.  Another quote from the movie that is golden “compassion is to be given, not earned”. WOW, how contrary is that to how I am wired but it just makes sense. I typically subscribe to the maxim ‘God helps those who help themselves’ but doesn’t that cause me to look down on and judge those in the position that they can’t help themselves?

One thing that really bothers me is the idea of a culture war. I am not at war. Jesus told me to love my enemies and pray for those who would persecute me. I am afraid parts of the conservative church has rose colored glasses in regards to history.  America has a lot of christians and that is awesome to me. I want faith exercised by all.  I just hope the politics can just hope the side I typically (okay always) vote  with can lose the pretended grip on Jesus.  Also, that the church will be known by her unconditional love for all and not as a judgmental tool of politicians.

Evan Almighty

We just had a good night with the kids watching Evan Almighty.  I’ve seen this before and Bruce Almighty and absolutely love these modern parables.  If you haven’t seen them then I would encourage doing so.  Anyway, the premise is funny but the beauty throughout is so evident and I think far closer to the true heart of God than we may realize.

In the movie there is a part where Evan’s wife is leaving with the kids and doesn’t know how to deal with her ‘crazy’ husband. God (played by Morgan Freeman) shows up as her waiter and through some caring conversation asks some thought-provoking questions.  Something like “If you pray for patience does God give you patience or the opportunity to be patient , or for courage the opportunity to be courageous and finally if you pray for God to make your family closer will He give you warm fuzzies around your family or give you the chance to love them, be there for them when it is really needed.”

Wow! I think this is a hard reality for me at times. I keep waiting and praying for God to use his magic wand to affect the changes I want in my life.  Rather it seems He wants me to lean hard into Him as I journey through different crap and as I come through on the other side of things I can see the changes He is doing in me with my active cooperation. Although I still am waiting  on the magic wand at times.

Thanks hollywood  for reflecting some truth I need to be reminded of.

This has got to be one of my favorite parables. I think in part because it has been such a challenge to me over the years.

Luke 18:9-17 (New Living Translation)

Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Perhaps this parable could make a very cool modern play or skit with the Pharisee part unfortunately played by a know-it-all stereotypical judgmental christian and then who could be the tax collector hm mm… take your pick of anyone marginalized by the church such as: an unbeliever, a homosexual, a muslim, a scientist, a person on welfare or maybe just a person with the “wrong”  look.  How do you think it would go over? Do you think it would make folks uncomfortable? I must confess that at times in my journey it definitely would have made me very uncomfortable.

I think Jesus wants us (me) to see this parable through today’s lens so we can still learn from it.  The pharisee was a good guy who followed the rules. He did have the problem of trusting in himself  a bit too much though. You don’t think that ever happens in the church today do you?  We don’t normally have the same problem of direct comparison of actions that the pharisee did.  We actually are a bit more subtle , ours can be the direct comparison of what we believe and our head knowledge of God. We can let ourselves off the hook for works because what  we believe is what is right, right? So the tough thing these days is looking down on people for not believing what I do.  Is it possible to be arrogant about this free gift of grace that I didn’t earn? You bet! Earlier in my journey I had a real struggle with  looking down on those who didn’t “get it”.  I am not saying belief and faith are the problem. It is arrogance before God in any form that is the problem. Particularly an arrogance that causes us to look down on anyone else.

May God continue make our community a  safe place for His Kingdom to come for all people. Even the slow learning recovering pharisees like me.

Okay, I’ve had a couple of thoughts recently on terrorism and islamic fascists. Normally my thoughts are to blow them all away by any means necessary. A typical american thought and response. Why, because I fear there ability to destroy our way of life and it is the only way that I can think to deal with those whose belief is ‘convert or die’ . Look, they are burning churches and shooting Nuns! How do you negotiate with that kind of ideology. Anyway I have know idea if that is right or wrong to view it that way. I do know that they are my enemy. Jesus told me (us) to love and pray for our enemies. It struck me that that doesn’t necessarily mean we will cease to be enemies, does it? How often have you heard to pray for our enemies (terrorists)? Not for conversion but for them(not that conversion is bad by any means)? What if the church in america had a national day of prayer for our enemies? I would be game. I don’t know how to sort out these issues but I can pray and will. I trust God knows what is best for them so I will leave their needs to the Spirit praying within me. Maybe if the church did this collectively than possibly the Kingdom of God will begin to reign in a new way.

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