Thursday, October 30, 2008

Velveteen People?

From the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Maybe we turn from humans to Persons when we begin to realize how much He loves us. I think it is interesting that the word anoint means to be rubbed on. Just like the Velveteen Rabbit, it is the annointing that transforms us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Exploding Ducks?

Foie gras in English is "fat liver". It is the liver of a duck or a goose that has been specially fattened by gavage.

The technique of gavage dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food and deliberately fattened the birds through force-feeding.

Gavage-based foie gras production is controversial, due to the force feeding procedure, and the possible health consequences of an enlarged liver, and a number of countries and other jurisdictions have laws against force feeding or the sale of foie gras due to how it is traditionally produced.

One company that produces foie gras measures its production quality effort by measuring how many ducks prematurely explode during the force feeding process.

I think that is what religious obligation does. We are force fed man made traditions, rituals and rules until at some point we explode. Early on in the process we simply think we are being fed, never mind that it doesn't taste quite right. We try to ignore those that fall out of the feeding line thinking they just didn't have the faithfulness that we do. At some point we try to say "wait a minute, what about...", but many ask to late and end up as damaged as an exploded duck (spiritually speaking). Many become ritualistic lame ducks.

Jesus came to feed us His bread of life. He never tries to force His nourishment into us. We are free to grow with Him at the rate in which we will not only survive but we will thrive!

John 6:34-35

Friday, October 24, 2008

What to do with a Pharisee?

My postman (he was not our regular one) greeted me today with, “It is a beautiful day the Lord has given us”. I answered, “All the days He gives us are beautiful”. Having established our brotherhood in the Kingdom he next asked where I go to church. I replied that I don’t go to church but was beginning to be involved in simple church, and in fact we are praying about establishing a house church in our home.

With eyebrows raised He asked on whose authority we would do this. I said, “Well since Jesus in the head of the church and I serve Him I guess it is by His authority.” He didn’t buy that at all and launched into a lecture on hierarchical structure. He asked if we have a bishop, or pastor or elders, I said we have none of those at the moment and that elders probably would emerge once we actually began meeting. I tried to describe that each one would participate through the exercise of their spiritual gifts as the Holy Spirit led. He couldn’t understand how that could happen without a professional clergy guiding and directing.

By this time I am wondering why when two followers meet for the first time that the focus of our discussion isn’t of the joy of knowing Jesus. I was starting to begin to feel like he was going to ask to see my papers as he took me away to be questioned. I tried to lighten the discussion by offering that my definition of an elder is the person who prays with their eyes open just to keep a protecting watch on things. With that comment I had in his mind crossed over into heresy.

Now he thought it was best to teach me the importance of foundational doctrine. After we were sure we were not in any doctrinal error there might be some small chance of gathering without actually committing sin by doing so. I suggested that attempts at doctrinal accuracy were precisely why we have a divided body with thousands of groups in dis-fellowship with each other. He actually said that there were scriptures that encouraged these “factions”. I stood my ground on this one and said that I am sure it grieves the Lord that some of His children could not accept some of His other children.

I dared to suggest that our focus should be on Jesus and our calling would be to love one another. The evidence of our success would be the recognition of that love by those we came into contact with. He agreed that “loving one another” was something we could do but true love was doctrine properly understood, applied and enforced.

By this point I knew I was in the presence of a modern day Pharisee. I suggested that I may never preach or teach doctrinal subjects again but only how much God loves us and how He wants us to love others, and once we have mastered that we could move onto other things.

He then asked what we would do if someone didn’t believe in the orthodox teachings on the trinity, virgin birth, communion, etc. I told him that people are free to believe whatever they want; my calling was to point them to Jesus though love. If some ones expression of their doctrine was disruptive to a gathering several of those present would suggest they take a spiritual time out regarding the divisive topic.

I went on to suggest that having the Word (Jesus) in me was my foundation. To me that is the most tangible, the most concrete reality in my life. Everything else is temporary or shadow. He is Light, He is Love. He (the postman) knew the words, I know the Word (Jesus). The postman studyed the words written about the Word; I live in relationship with the Word. The postman knew about Jesus, I know Jesus.

Just for the fun of it I suggested he read The Shack. Actually I don’t think he will once he sees the book is on the Christian fiction shelf. We had talked for about 30 minutes and by now I was exhausted, Pharisees are so draining. It is so much easier sharing the love of Jesus with meth heads, hookers and serial killers.

I wished him well in his journey and asked him to read John 5:39-40 "You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want.

I am sure that I will be on his “church” heretic list, but that’s ok.

When I was in Bible College we used to pray, “Lord please don’t send me to Africa”, now I pray, “Lord please don’t send me anymore Pharisee’s”.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a Greeting!

Galatians 1:1-4

From : Paul To: All of Gods adopted children in the central highlands of Turkey (Galatia) in 50 A.D. (approximately). Galatians is a most remarkable letter. Not only is it among the earliest of Pauls writings but it is revolutionary in its mesage and candor.

The orignal is in blue, my amplified interpretation is in green.

1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),
2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the of churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
Definitions:

Apostle - messenger
Agency - a recognized authoritative association
Jesus - God Rescues
Christ - Annointed One, Messiah, rubbed on by God
Churches - Gods adopted people
Grace - Divine love and protection freely bestowed
Peace - calmness, tranquility, without stress, without anxiety, without fear
Lord - bread keeper, loaf kneader, baker
Sin - anything that cause us to not recognize God's love in our lives
Evil age - i.e. religion, attempting to gain Gods favor by rule keeping
Will - plan, desire

Expanded to include definitions and explanation:
Definitions are shown in - [ ]
Explanations are shown in - { }
1 Paul, an apostle [messenger] (not sent from{by} men nor through the agency of man [a recognized authoritative association], but through {sent by} Jesus [God Rescues] {the} Christ {the anointed one, the Messiah, rubbed on by God} and God the Father, who raised Him {Jesus} from the dead),
2 and all the brethren {Silas and Timothy} who are with me, To the churches [Gods adopted children] of {in} Galatia {an area in the central highlands of what is now Turkey}:
3 Grace [Divine love and protection bestowed freely] to you and peace [calmness, tranquility, without stress, anxiety and fear] from God our Father and the Lord [bread keeper, loaf kneader, .i.e. baker] Jesus Christ,
4 who gave Himself for our sins [things that cause us to not recognize God’s love in our lives] so that He might rescue us from this present evil age [attempting to gain Gods favor by rule keeping], according to the will [desire, plan] of our God and Father,


Amplified meaning:

1 Paul, a messenger (not sent by a recognized association, but sent by Jesus (our Rescuer and who is God’s Anointed One) and God the Father, (who raised Jesus from the dead).
2 and Silas and Timothy who are with me. To each and every one of God’s adopted children in the central highlands of Turkey:
3 God our Father and our heavenly Baker who is Jesus (Gods appointed Rescuer) gives you the gift of Grace, which is divine love and protection, and peace, which is the freedom from all anxiety and fear.
4 who gave Himself to end the illusion of separation between God and people caused by those things that made us not recognize how much God loves us, so that He might rescue us from the useless attempt to gain God’s favor by doing some things and avoiding doing other things, according to the perfect plan of God our Father.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Truth about Truth

There is a line from the Matrix, Reloaded, where Morpheus, in response to the protest that “Not everyone believes what you believe” replies “The beauty of what I believe is that it does not require you to believe it in order for it to be true.”

This is true of His indwelling in all of us; whether you believe that His presence is in you or not it is still true. Now while it does not require you to believe it to be true, it does require you to believe it to live in the power of it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is the Bible the Word of God?

No, but before you break out the tar and feathers read this.

It is in fact heresy to equate any book, even the Bible, as equal to Jesus. The Bible is not the 4th member of the Trinity.

The Bible is a group of writings inspired by God and its purpose is to reveal Jesus to us. Each book (or letter) was written to a specific group of people for a specific purpose. It never claims to be the Word of God, it is without a doubt God inspired for the purpose I have already stated. It is best described as written words about the Word of God, Jesus. It reveals accurate and truthful information about Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself to us through His indwelling.

Until recent history the vast majority of people never read a single word of the Bible, and yet Jesus made His person and message known to billions down through the ages.

John 1:1-4

John 5:39-40

1 John 2:27

I think the reason that Jesus did not write a single word of the Bible is that He knew people would regard it as a "sacred" object and worship it instead of entering into relationship with Him.

Unfortunately many have done almost that anyway. They see the Bible as the "container" for God, as a manual and rule book. They constrain God to what they think they know of Him through study. It is like knowing every word of your favorite book but not ever having met the author and engaged in a conversation to verify what he meant by what he wrote. Instead of turning to Him for truth they "learn" a doctrine, filtered and constructed by men to serve their purposes, not Gods purpose. This is called Bibiolarity, it is a form of idolaltry that is no better then worshipping a rock.


Does that mean I discount the Bible? Not at all. I spend many hours a day studying it to learn more about Jesus. Even then, I am not dependent on written words to know Jesus. I know Him best through His presence within me. If for some reason the Bible were to disappear from earth my faith, my trust, my joy in Him would not be diminished one bit.

Are you dependent on words written about Him to know what is true about Him or is His indwelling Spirit real and tangible to you? If it is not it can be, all you have to do is seek Him.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who is Landru?

In episode 22 of Star Trek the crew encounter a planet controlled by a deity (Landru) who in reality is just a computer projection.

Here is a link if you want to watch the episode.
http://video.aol.com/partner/cbs/star-trek-the-return-of-the-archons/4zHLcRcLU_rrepwwuJ8dONAXPDsrLVhP


The entire populace of the planet observe every law and ritual that Landru insists on because the result of disobedience is "absorption" (death). The life they live is without joy, without freedom and with out creativity. When you take creativity out of the "creation" all you have left is soulless, fear numbed robots. True free will is non-existent in a law / punishment paradigm.

This is precisely why Jesus came to free us from the Law of Moses and the bondage of religion. All too often we believe God to be nothing more than a backroom supercomputer deity who is ever ready to zap us for disobedience. The truth is that God (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit) is not even keeping score!

Gal 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery [the Law of Moses, relgiion].

Heb 10:12-21

As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this:

This new plan I'm making with Israel isn't going to be written on paper, isn't going to be chiseled in stone; This time "I'm writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. "He concludes, I'll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins. Once sins are taken care of for good, there's no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.

So friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body.

Jesus fulfilled the law and moved us into relationship. The reality is that He loves us unconditionally and desires that we share His love with others. That is the new covenant!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Alienated in our minds

I believe that most of the harm people do to others and themselves is born out of a sense of alienation. The word itself is rooted in a broken bond of familial affection. To be alienated is to feel rejected, unloved, disapproved and without worth. Some people experience that in their relationships with family, friends and society. Broken people come from broken people.

Most people feel that sense of alienation from God even if only sub-consciousnessly. That false sense of alienation from Gods love and care is due to false teaching and some deliberate twisting of the very nature of God.

Paul tells us that we are only alienated in our minds, Col 1:21

It is impossible for us to be separate from Him, we cannot ever be alienated!

Col 3:11 Christ is all, and is in all.

I found a great article by Norman Grubb regarding Christ in us.
Here is the link: http://www.metrocast.net/~tdghty/Norman/thekey.htm

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sheep

What Jesus did not say!!


This is what He said:
'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'
notice He did not say, "My sheep found me."
Other things He said about sheep
(hover mouse over reference to see verse)
Jeremiah 50:6

Isaiah 53:6
Luke 15:4-6
Matt 12:12
John 10:15-16

The Theology of Santa Claus

You better watch out,You better not cry,
Better not pout,I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.
He's making a list,And checking it twice;
Gonna find outWho's naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping.He knows when you're awake.
He knows if you've been bad or good,So be good for goodness sake!
Oh, you better watch out!You better not cry.
Better not pout,I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see. Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
The Father up above is looking down in love, So be careful little eyes, what you see.
(and the other verses)
Be careful little ears what you hear
Be careful little mouth what you say...
Be careful little hands, what you touch...
Be careful little feet, where you go...

As a child I always hated those childrens songs, not so much because that I might get caught doing something wrong but just because they were kind of creepy. As an adult not only are they creepy they are completly theologically unsound.

Heb 10:12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet.
14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
16 “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.”
18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

God is not some sort of cosmic sin accountant. He is not recording sin debits and repentance credits. He is not even keeping score!

He conquered sin 2000 years ago, He undid Adam! (Rom 5) The only real power sin has over us now is in its illusion that causes us to believe that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is separate from us. Living in that illusion causes us to do amazingly stupid things to ourselves and others.

Any theology that suggests that since the Cross event that God is still "keeping His list and checking it twice" is doing nothing less then recrucifing Jesus over and over and over again.

Paul says it this way, "Where there is no law, there is no transgression". The law of Moses, the period of the old covenant, ended on the Cross. (Rom 4) Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [the Mosiac Law] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

If we need to use a childrens song as the basis of our theology let it be this one.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Now that is sound theology.

Free Book

Great Book - He Loves Me - by Wayne Jacobsen - free download

http://www.lifestream.org/pdf/HeLovesMe.pdf

It is not about religion

The etymology of of the word religion can be defined as "a return to bondage". So then it follows that to be religious means to practice being a slave. If the goal of religion is to gain God's favor then I would suggest that the effort is futile. Why? Because we are all already in His favor!

It might come as a suprise to some that Jesus did not come to set up a new religion. Christianity was not meant to become Judiasm-lite. He did not come to replace one set of impossible rules to keep with another set of impossible rules to keep. Not only did he not intend to set up a new religion He announced the end of an old one.

This is most important, He did not come to start a religion, He came to establish a relationship. A relationship between Him, His Father, the Holy Spirit and every man, woman and child on the face of the earth. That was the plan from before creation. Eph 1

What is now called "Christianity" is a man made religion that became firmly establised about 300 years after the death of Christ. It's rituals, rules and practices are a vain attempt to get God to repent.

Prior to that time to be called a Christian meant that you were recognized by non-believers as a follower of Christ. Now, as it was then, to be called a Christian is not a compliment. Today polls suggest that anything related to Christianity is not to be trusted and not to be taken seriously. The practice of the religion of Christianity has become one of the largest obstacles to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before I go any further let me assure you that nothing is more important to me then following Jesus and being obedient to Him. Nothing is more important then in spreading the good news of Jesus. And doing that has nothing whatsoever to do with religion! Earlier I said rituals, rules and practices are a vain attempt to get God to repent. I did not misuse the word repent. We typically misuse the word to mean to stop doing something. Most often that thing is related to "sex, drugs, and rock N roll". Repent really means to change ones mind.

Everything done in every religion, including Christianity when practiced as a religion, is done to get God to change what He thinks about man. Many think by practicing religious activities, meaning the things we do on a daily or weekly basis will get God to "change His mind" about us; to love us more, to not be angry, to forgive us, to bless us, to remember us. We do a myriad of things to keep on God's good side. They are all unnecessary!

How do you know if your "practicing religion"? If you think there is a single thing that you are obligated to do or not do to gain His favor or to avoid His anger you are practicing religion. His love is not variable depending upon our actions or words. He even loved us while we were His enemies! Rom 5:8 We can love Him because He first loved us.

We don't need to get God to change His mind, God does most assurdibly not need to repent. We don't need to go to someplace God is because we presume He isn't someplace we are. We don't need to numb our pain with drugs and alcohol because we think we have been rejected by every person and even God Himself. We don't need to become workaholics to avoid even the possibility of an intimate relationship with our family because we know that even they hurt us if we let them get to close. We don't need to become embroiled in one love affair after another, one marriage after another until we finally come to understand the truth about God and the truth about people.

What if what is true about God is that He is the one who knows everything about you, knows whats best about you and knows what is worst about you and yet He loves you unconditionally.

We adopt religion because we think the true thing about God is that he is absent from us. We adopt religion because we think by observing rules and adopting rituals we can gain His favor.

What if He is the one that will love and accept you exactly as you are. What if He is truly your heavenly Father who loves you more than anyone ever has or ever will! What if there is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you less?

The greatest lie ever told is that God, meaning Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit is separate from us, that there is a great divide between us. Religion is predicated on the belief that there are someplaces that God is and someplaces where He is not. He is in that temple, He is not in that bar. He is in that church building, He is not in my house. He is in that Faith Healer, He is not is that prostitute.

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Lies distort reality. They cause you to believe things that are not true. They cause you to act and react inappropriately. They cause you to do the wrong thing for the wrong reason. They cause you to turn your back from the very one who loves you most. They cause you believe that what is real is fake and what is fake is real. They cause you to live in darkness, where you stumble along in life doing ever increasing amounts of damage to yourself and others.

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