Am I Worshiping A God That Doesn’t Even Exist??

What an incredibly mature perspective. Please take some time to ready this young ladies perspective on our relationship to God. This young lady is a cancer patient and you need to read about her to get the whole perspective. But suffice it to say she understands what it means to wonder “why me?” in ways I hope no one I know ever will.

It is amazing how God changes for us when we recognize that we are for Him and not the other way around. Because of her circumstance she is given license to say things that are no more true because she says them, but people recognize that telling her a sob story about how she can’t understand tragedy just won’t hold water. Her perspective lends credence to the realities of our experience with God.

Nothing, it seems, will remove her from the list of those who believe. Like a book I once read, I believe now I am just trying to understand. She has sure helped all who will listen understand a very deep concept.

Kim's Blog

Ok, so before everyone starts thinking I had some existential crisis and went off the deep end, I need to explain this thought, because it’s been nagging at me a little these days.

My question isn’t “does God exist?” My question is “does the God that I am worshiping exist?”

Let me start by saying that when I became a Christian at the age of 23, I didn’t know God. Not for who He really is. I had just experienced His grace (there’s a reason we call it amazing!) and forgiveness through His son Jesus, but I didn’t really know God.

There’s a tendency for us to make God what we want Him to be and then get frustrated when He doesn’t come through for us the way that we think He should. That’s not really fair, is it? It’s easy to get mad at Him when we are viewing…

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Turn the Other Cheek?

Matthew 5:38-42 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Jesus said the strangest things….

(LIKE BEFORE: I warn you this is much better in video. These is really just the outline of what was laid on my heart.)

How are we supposed to take what He is saying here?

Are we supposed to try and understand the greater meaning of scripture or just do what it says?

How the world grasps this passage in a joke – Sheriff Duke See video (This was originally a joke about an Irishman. I changed it because I couldn’t pull of the accent. So I went cowboy.)

When we hear Jesus say these words:

  • Be the lamb who is so tender that we attract people (wolves)
  • Be insulting to them so that they see that they don’t matter to you
  • Be Weird

Surprise! I’m gonna go with weird. Odd, Strange, different

A friend of my name Pam aske me about this verse once and here was my reply

“Pam – I see no where in the Bible where is says we can stop turning the other cheek. I’ve looked 🙂   But something we pay far too little attention to is that fact that over and over again the people of the Bible go to God and let him know they are tired of being slapped. Moses laments, Abraham bargains, Samuel complains, Jesus asks if the cup can be removed, and there is even a book called lamentations. But we Christians think that unless we are happy about our troubles that we are doing it wrong. Fact is… Sometime being a Christian stinks. During our time on Earth it seems that our portion is thin soup.

But Pam, when I get down and feel picked on I remember that unlike the non-believer I am never without hope. I have never been un-Loved. I am never alone.”

I have arranged for a demonstration of this. Ben and Jackie (see the video)

At no point during this was Ben’s mortality threatened.

How many of you thought that Jackie might kill Ben during this demonstration?

(Jackie Slaps Ben hard. After words have Jackie and Ben stand behind Jackie as I speak. Surprise: Ben picks Jackie up and hugs her. Then carries her off stage.)

There is one way of thinking that takes the crucifixion of Jesus and explains it as a parlor trick. Jesus life, his mortality, was never threatened.

You might think that I am going to argue with that it was, but I’m not…

Jesus was, Jesus is, and Jesus ever will be.

John 1:1-5

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

Some look to Jesus and say that what he did was not brave at all…

Your right… His mortality was never threatened. He was abandoned by His own people, unrecognized by His friends and family, drug through the streets, spit on, beaten till flesh fell off, nailed to a piece of wood, and gave up all he had, and he knew it was coming. But no that ain’t brave.

His mortality was never threatened.

But here’s the rub… Neither is yours!

John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

You don’t have to live one more minute worried that you will die.

Did Jesus hurt? Yes. Did Jesus bleed? Yes. Did Jesus weep? Yes.

Did Jesus worry? No!

Jesus says a lot more strange things like “turn the other cheek”

Matthew 10:28 (MSG) | In Context | Whole Chapter

28 “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

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He’s Coming

There is about to be a great deal of attention paid to the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is coming on because of a new movie about an old book series “Left Behind”. Believe it or not, for me this is awful. Acting oddly based on the eminent return of Christ has been around from the very shortly after His death, resurrection, and ascension. The people of that day seemed to think he is coming any minute.

Ask yourself this, what would you do any different if Christ was coming tomorrow morning at 8am? Well do that. Now stop worrying about it. HE SAID YOU WON”T KNOW and HE SAID HE DIDN”T KNOW. How can a Christian who reads the Bible keep trying to figure it out after that warning. What a waste of precious life time. Why do people fret over this? It is going to happen.

Be ever-ready and get as many people in the boat as you can.

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Bible Literacy?

I just finished reading a post that was deeply concerned about the Bible literacy of the Pastors Osteen (Joel and Victoria) (Post: http://danielbwallace.com/2014/09/01/pastor-osteen-and-christian-narcissism-symptom-of-a-larger-problem/#comment-19764). Read it, you’ll find I liked it. But I will admit that as I read it and read the replies that came in to it I became more and more introspective about the value of Bible literacy.

I recently listened to a course on the New Testament Canon (http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-of-the-bible-the-making-of-the-new-testament-canon.html) and as I listened it became daunting. Yes, I went to school for this stuff. Yes, I know that Bible scholars are historians and may not even be believers. But I begin to feel like I am placing God on a lab table and dissecting Him. I remember in College that there were people in New Testament studies whose worlds were rocked by the idea that the Apostle John very likely did not write the Gospel of John with his own hand. I am not here to argue authorship. I am saying that this was more than many could take. It sent them off to examine the basis of their faith as a whole.

The question this has me asking myself is whether we are being faithful to Jesus calling to an easy yoke and a light burden. Jesus boiled all the law and the profits down to two things, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself”. He seems to me to be repeatedly frustrated or angry at those who try to complicate it even a little bit past that. Yet we spend hours ruminating over how we have communion, whether we should wear hats, and just how saved we are.

I am not a simpleton. I get that the Pastorate needs to understand the origins of the Bible. We have to understand the Old Testament to even grasp who Jesus really is historically and theologically. We need to understand why our doctrine is what it is. (…but act like we don’t understand the other guy’s J) It is not OK for us to simply repeat the mantra from the mother ship.

How long have everyday folks been able to read the Bible? I actually had to stop myself from looking it up. J Not the point, right? How many members of the Clergy have never read the entire Bible? Who many laymen actually have?

From time to time I worry that we look past Jesus simple calling to Love God and Love His children. We fill our sermons with deep research and our songs with great content. I have to admit that sometimes have to believe in spite of my education. That my education makes it harder. Let’s not over complicate this.

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Consumed

I sit in my hotel room at my computer because I just finished work. As I sit here several things flash through my mind that I could do… would have done at a different stage in my life.  If I’m honest with myself I know that I sit at the gateway to Hell.  I am maybe 8 to 10 letters and a couple mouse clicks from a journey into the pits of Hell where hours of sludge can be consumed to fester and eat my soul.

So many men (and I’m sure women) tonight are out on the road traveling for business away from their spouses, bored, or lonely and Satan has finally reached his apex. He has arranged for a medium that allows you to consume pornography, smutty stories, pictures of anything imaginable. You can voyeuristically consume hours of perfectly tailored garbage while living out some fantasy of a relationship or have fantasy sex with thousands of people without ever having to bother to get know them. All the while telling yourself that you are connecting. 

While God created us for relationship with God and with humanity we have finally been landed in the ultimate antithesis of the Garden of Eden.  We no longer commune with our world we consume our world. We no longer have to relate to other humans we now watch them on TV or read about them on Facebook. We have thousands of friends and see the most beautiful people naked or even having sex with each other. We gorge ourselves on stories about how the beautiful ones have failed or succeeded and feel better about ourselves.  But really we may not have anything ourselves. 

We watch people on TV protest and march over a child being shot and imagine ourselves as being involved. But we never left our living room. We have the world brought to us on a screen and don’t really even know what it actually smells like. We ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the world from afar like some futuristic jury. We eat meat from a store and don’t really even know what it means to kill and gather that meat. We send our young men to stop those awful men on the other side of the world and don’t understand why these children raised on video games come home broken over real death. We have completely lost touch. 

Lord help me… Help me to touch more actual human beings. Help me to really Love on strangers and get to know them. Frankly, help me just stand up from this keyboard and leave the portal closed before the tempter consumes my soul. 

(Family and friends, if you have ventured here. Sorry if this was too heavy for you. Really, I am just fine. This is just a moment of clarity for me I needed to share. There will be more of this. So if it freaks you out you may want to stay on Facebook. Someone out there needs to read that they are not alone.)

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The Perfect Race

How many of you have ever raced a car?

This weekend in Indianapolis there was a race (Indy 500). Kind of a big deal.

Among those in the race each one had a point in their lives when they knew that they had a day and time when they knew that what they wanted beyond all else was to dedicate themselves to THIS race. All of their time, their effort, and their emotions would be dedicated to being a world class race car driver and for many of them to specifically win the Indianapolis 500.

You can listen to them before the race, one after the other, telling the story of the first time they saw the race or walked onto the grounds. It becomes a part of them.

(This writing will give you context, but really the video is the complete story. It will hopefully be a blessing.)

In the Church today there are people had that same day and time, but for them it was to dedicate themselves to the THIS race.

1 Corinthians 9:23-25 (NIV)

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

There is a God centered way of Life and we are called to it.

In the Church we call this way of life ‘Holiness’ and when you make the choice to make this your top priority in life we believe that God honors that by setting you apart or sanctifying you Holy. Some have even said that when the Lord blesses you in this way you are living “Christian Perfection”.

Please don’t stop reading when you see this, but hear me out. I believe humans can live a Holy life. Let’s understand what is meant by Christion Perfection and whether God even set that standard.

First let’s discuss what Holiness isn’t!

http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/despicable-me/ground-rules

For so many Holiness is obeying a set of rules.

How do people do with lists of rules? “Does this count as annoying?”

  • The Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3)
  • The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)
  • Lot’s Wife (Genesis 19)

Holiness, as it applies to Christians, means belonging to God.

If we look back as the history of humanity and our relationship with God what we see is God showing us again and again that it isn’t about the rules.

  • The Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil
    • God dressed them in animal skins (Genesis 3:21)
  • Mosaic Law
    • Jesus tells the people of his day that Moses allowed them to do things that were never part of God’s plan, but they were stiff necked. (Matt 19:8)

As we look at these drivers today how many of them are what you or I would call ‘perfect’? Even at racing, how many are perfect at doing what the rules say they must? What about the winner? Of course, none of them are by human standards.

See God is more about the relationship we have with him that he is about some set of rules to follow. If we look back through our Bibles we see again and again that the people God considers to be Men or Women after his heart are not those who we would consider Holy.

  • David: Committed Adultery, Killed, Danced Naked in the streets
  • Samson: Killed thousands with the Jawbone of an ass, slept around, was cruel
  • Noah: Got drunk and fell asleep naked in his tent, then cursed his son for seeing him that way
  • Jacob: Stole, lied, cheated
  • Rahab: A prostitute

With the exception of Rehab all of these people did these things after being called the chosen one of God. But if we look these people up in the New Testament we find them in the Holiness Hall of fame (Hebrews 11)

What did they do that got them there?

  • David: David was not afraid to do God’s bidding at any cost, David always returned to God… Even in his error
  • Samson: In his defeat and at his dying moment he called upon God
  • Noah: When no one else even believed in God, Noah built an ark on dry ground because he believed it was God’s desire.
  • Jacob: When he stood as a man covered with riches, wives, and children he wrestled with God and came to have a relationship with him.
  • Rahab: Did the will of God are the risk of her people, her family, and her home.

So what did God have in mind when He said to tell his people this…

“Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:1)

Well at least he didn’t say be perfect…

Then Jesus translates for us…

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

There it is again, another Church setting a standard that humans can’t follow. Right?

No… Read on.

Impossible commands, right?

No… Listen to the gospel.

Holiness is a God centered way of Life

“For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made Holy.” – Hebrews 10:14 (NIV)

Jesus has done for us and is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Praise be to God! “He has made perfect forever, those who are being made holy.” This verse is the climax of all that the writer of Hebrews is trying to say.

I want us to concentrate on is the connection that the people in Hebrew had with God. It was not adhering to some set of rules, it was a change of heart. It was about living each day as if God was real and you belong to Him.

When Jesus tells us to be perfect the Bible writers use the word ‘teleios’. The word does not mean flawless as we think of a perfect diamond. Instead it means to have matured to the place being able to reach your end goal. To be the ready instrument of God.

(http://biblehub.com/greek/5046.htm)

You are not to just be a hammer, but the specific hammer for the job.

Holiness makes us one in spirit with every true Child of God

God wants us be a part of His family. To walk with Him. Not some days, every day.

The idea of being a part of His family means divorcing ourselves from the world as our primary focus and focusing on the things of God. We find Christian perfection when we find ourselves becoming a part of His flow, His motivation, His desires. Fully ready for His use.

Paul put it this way:

Ephesians 4:1-6;11-16

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

… 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Holiness is a Holy covenant relationship with God

The book of Romans should really be called “a letter to Paul’s friends in Rome”, but it is also an incredible theology text. He does an great job of describing our duty to live this covenant life with God.

Romans 6:11-18

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace…

As we go through the next few weeks we will look more deeply at what it means to live a Holy life as human beings.

You may find that you have been doing it for years.

You may find that you once understood, but have left the trail.

You may find a deeper richer relationship with Jesus Christ than you ever imagined possible.

You just might find the relationship that you always wanted.

You won’t find instructions on how to live as a perfect human being. But you may find how to live as a Perfect / Holy Child of God.

 

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Seize the Moment

This mother does with her son what I hope we can all do with all we come in contact with. I seldom reblog, but this is great advice put in action.

Encouragement For Every Day

family 2014“And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 11:19 

I once was told by a very wise lady, “Your children will respond much better if you will take the opportunity to talk to them when it arises rather than force it on them.”

I have thought about that piece of advice over the years as my children have grown, and often wondered exactly how I would know when that moment had come. I remember asking her, “How will I know when the time is right?” With that sweet mentoring smile she would look at me and say, “You will know.”

This weekend one of those moment presented itself, and just as if my sweet aunt was standing right there next to me, I heard this…

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