Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sin Revival

I'm thinking today's Garfield comic is a great illustration of the reaction of the flesh to Law.

Rom 7:7-12
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet." 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. NIV

Friday, April 27, 2007

Movement of Grace New Covenant Web TV

I mentioned this briefly a few weeks ago, but Movement of Grace New Covenant Web TV is officially up and running. A few things have changed since the beginning. I think the idea at the start was for it to be mostly live and interactive, and there is still going to be a lot of that, but there are also prerecorded programs that you can watch. It will mostly be discussion about living by God's grace!

When a show is "live," you can simply sit back and watch or you can join in and take part of the discussion, either with your web cam and mic, or through text chat. And the prerecorded programs are available for viewing by clicking on "View Live" and then clicking the Menu button.

This is exciting for me in two ways. For one, I LOVE hearing about and being involved in discussions about God's grace, and how we live in it moment by moment, so I will be tuned in regularly to hear what everyone has to say. Secondly, I have my own program, "Grace Roots." I've already recorded 3 programs, and the first one is loaded onto the website for viewing. Don't laugh too hard... this is new territory for me! I do feel much more "confident" about this than when I began in radio 13 years ago (oh how I cringe when I hear my old on-air tapes!), but I do see myself learning and growing a lot as I continue to do this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rest and Simplicity

I submitted my latest article, for the June edition my church's publication, "The Vision," yesterday. (The other day I posted some of the ideas I had for this article. Here's the final version:

Drummer audition joke: The band leader asks the drummer, "Can you play a samba pattern with your bass drum?" The drummer obliges with a boom...b-boom samba pattern.


The leader then asks, "can you add a Mozambique cowbell pattern along with that with your right hand?"

The drummer thinks, "No problem," and obliges with his best effort.


He is then told, "Now add a 2-3 clave with your left foot on the hi-hat." He struggles a bit but gets it happening.


Next he hears, "Now add a cascara pattern on the snare with your left hand."

Years of studying polyrhythms, practicing independence, and listening to world music finally come to fruition and the relieved drummer finds he can easily play the whole pattern.


Pleased with himself, he asks the band leader, "So, do I get the job?"


"No," says the bandleader "that's why we fired the last guy!"


This is a reminder to me to not let my mind be "led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor 11:3)! Remember when Martha was busy running all around in an effort to serve her houseguest (Jesus), all the while complaining that her sister Mary wasn't helping her? And what was so important that Mary couldn't come help her sister? Can you believe this – Mary had the gall to be sitting "at the Lord's feet listening to what He said" (Luke 10:39). Come on, Mary! Martha's busy over there banging out all these wonderful drum patterns for Jesus, and all you're doing is sitting there listening to Him! Get with it!


Jesus, of course, saw it differently. Martha was actually the one who needed to get with the program. Her problem is perhaps similar to the one the Ephesians had years later, when they had patiently persevered and labored much – all for Jesus' sake – and yet they had left their first love, Jesus. Luke describes Martha's problem by saying that she was "distracted with much serving" (Luke 10:40). Martha was busy serving Jesus, but Mary was the one who was actually doing what Jesus wanted her to do! Jesus tells Martha, "Only one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

This story doesn't sit well with the busy, performance-oriented Christian - and I readily admit how that statement is an indictment on much of my own life. I sure can preach "sitting at the feet of Jesus," but do I always walk the walk? (Or would that be "sit the sit?"). Describing His own service, Jesus said, "the words that I speak to you, I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 14:10). His service came not from a focus on performing for His Father, but from knowing His Father. There's a huge difference! In the same way, how many of us busy "Marthas" would do well to stop and consider if we're letting our service for Him get in the way of knowing Him? Countless times I've been in the homes of friends who were so busy serving their guests that they essentially spent the entire evening ignoring their guests! I don't knock on my friends' doors, and ask if I can come in, so that I can have them serve me. I want to come in so I can spend time with them. I want to know them, and them to know me. I'm convinced that God's purpose in creating mankind was not to create a bunch of weary, worn out servants, but rather that we may "know Him, or rather be known by Him" (Gal 4:9).


Are we focused on knowing the Person, Jesus, or are we focused on our performance for Him? Are we focused on keeping our various agendas and systems in place (for His sake, of course), or are we at the feet of Jesus, listening to what He has to say? To stop, and wait, in this fast-paced world is a challenge, I know. But what if we end up actually hearing what He says – and what if we find that it's not what the Marthas in our lives expect of us?

Can you imagine truly serving God with constantly renewed strength? Can you envision yourself soaring through the sky like an eagle? Can you imagine running and not getting tired??? Walking and not becoming weary? Can you grasp the idea of serving the Lord in a constant state of rest? This is the life of "those who wait on the Lord" (Isaiah 40:31).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A New Law

Yeah, that's what we need to make things work right - a new law! NOT!

I'm borrowing this from two other bloggers: 'Heather' and 'Shauna.' Shauna first posted the lyrics to this song and a link to the video, and Heather linked to her.

Derek Webb - A New Law


don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for
don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music

don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law

i don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me

i want a new law
i want a new law
gimme that new law

don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
i prefer a shot of grape juice

don’t teach me about loving my enemies
don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
just give me a new law

what’s the use in trading a law you can never keep
for one you can that cannot get you anything
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid

---

Shauna then added this quote from Webb from a recent RelevantMagazine.com article about some surprising reactions to the song:

I feel like the people who listen to my music understand me well enough to know when I'm being sarcastic. There were occasions from my last record when people would tell me about the song "A New Law"—that they totally agree with me that our main problem in the Church is that people are not giving us clear enough instruction, that we just need people to tell us more clearly what we're supposed to be doing, and that they really agree with me that we need a new set of laws that we could just keep. I didn't have the heart to [say] that's completely not the point. That entire song was total sarcasm. But that's the minority of people—I think most people hear songs like that and know where I'm coming from.

Monday, April 23, 2007

God must be ~impressed~ with me...

NOT!

Here's a joke that I'll be using in my next article for my church. I received it as a bulletin from one of my MySpace friends, who happens to be a drummer...

The band leader asks the drummer, "Can you play a samba pattern with your bass drum?"

The drummer obliges with a boom...b-boom samba pattern.

The leader then asks "can you add a Mozambique cowbell pattern along with that with your right hand?"

The drummer thinks, "No problem," and obliges with his best effort.

He is then told, "Now add a 2-3 clave with your left foot on the hi-hat.”

He struggles a bit but gets it happening.

Next he hears, "Now add a cascara pattern on the snare with your left hand."

Years of studying polyrhythms, practicing independence, and listening to world music finally come to fruition and the relieved drummer finds he can easily play the whole pattern.

Pleased with himself, he asks the band leader, "So, do I get the job?”

"No," says the band leader "that's why we fired the last guy!"

---

This is a reminder to me that God's not impressed with my accomplishments. It's like when Martha was busy running all around in an effort to serve her house guest, Jesus, and even complained when her sister Mary didn't come help her, but instead "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said." I mean, what a crime, Mary! Martha's busy over there banging out all these wonderful drum patterns, and you're just sitting there listening to Jesus! Get with the program, Mary!

But Jesus saw it differently. Martha is actually the one with the problem, and Luke describes the problem by saying that she was "distracted with much serving" (Luke 10:40). Martha was busy serving Jesus, but Mary was the one who was actually doing what Jesus wanted her to do!

This story doesn't make a lot of sense to the busy, performance-oriented Christian. But just look into the very life of Jesus the man, who said, "the words that I speak to you, I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does the works." Rather than being "distracted with much serving," Jesus spent time at His Father's feet, listening to what He said. Imagine if Jesus had been busy with a lot of serving, waking up each morning and seeing 10,000 things that needed to be done in this world, and setting of to serve His Father by accomplishing as much as He could. I'm not so sure the cross would have fit into His schedule, because He would have insisted on staying on earth so He could have accomplished so much more.

But His service came not from a focus on performing for His Father. It came from a focus on His Father. There's a huge difference! In the same way, how many of us need to stop and consider if we're letting ourselves get distracted with much serving? Are we really focused on knowing a Person, or are we focused on our performance for that Person? Are we focused on keeping our various "ministries" and "agendas" afloat (for the sake of Jesus, of course), or are we truly spending time at the feet of Jesus, listening to what He has to say?

Can you imaging living with renewed strength, and soaring through the sky like an eagle? Can you imagine running and not getting tired??? Walking and not becoming weary? Can you grasp serving the Lord from this constant state of rest? This is the life for "those who wait on the Lord" (Isaiah 40:31).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Father's Chair

Grab the kleenex...

How deep is your love

"Love" is such a multifaceted thing that it's hard to really wrap your brain around it entirely. As I said in my last post, the "mountain" of God's love has so many wonderful caves and internal caverns to explore, that in this lifetime (while we're still living in our earth suits), we'll really only skim the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discovering the fullness of it. There's a lot to explore!

And I've even found that there are some facets of it that I've wanted to deny or ignore, because it doesn't fit my preconceived notion of "love." I want everyone to "be happy and get along." In my life of love, I don't want to have to confront others or be confronted. I want God's love to be perfect peace and joy and serenity. I want to always be encouraged and to always encourage. This is just a small sample of what I think perfect love would be. But there are other facets of love that seem harder for us to understand. Hopefully I'll provoke thought here, and if anything I say doesn't sit well with you, I'd love to hear from you. I can take it. :)

Would you expect that an act of "love" would ever intentionally cause a farmer to lose his whole herd? If someone were to ask you how to obtain eternal life, would you perhaps give him John 3:16 or would you intentionally say some things that would cause sorrow in his heart? If some people were doing some evil things in your church or regular meeting place, and you wanted to respond in love, how would you respond?

As I look back on my life, and as I look at God's loving interaction with people, I see things that don't fit my mold of what "love" is. The Son of God, Jesus, revealed that the things He did and the things He said were the work of the Father in Him. Jesus walked in the Father's love. And here's how Love interacted with people in these situations:

"Legion" had entered a man. There were a ton of demons in him. "Love" (Jesus) cast the demons out and sent them into a herd of 2,000 swine. The swine went running into a lake and died. Good for the man. Not so good for the owner of the swine (which were, by the way, "unclean" animals) nor for the economy of the community. The people asked Jesus to leave. I don't recall Him staying and begging or pleading with them or explaining His reasoning.

A "rich young ruler" asked Jesus, "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17-22) What did Jesus say? Well, He had previously had a conversation with the Pharisee Nicodemus about eternal life. Jesus quoted John 3:16 to Nicodemus (literally). :) So why did He give such a different answer to the rich young ruler's question about how to obtain eternal life?

Jesus answered the man, "You know the commandments."

(That's so not John 3:16!)

Well, the man justified himself with, "Yeah, I've kept them."

"Oh really? Actually, you still lack something. Go sell all you have and give to the poor."

And with that, Jesus let the man go away sad. Love sure is strange. And again, I don't recall Jesus running after the man explaining His motives.

And then there's the incident in which Jesus' love for the Father resulted in quite a show of passion in the temple of God, when He drove people out and overturned tables and said, in love of course, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves!'"

I'm just saying.

Love is a many splendored thing.

Many tentacles. Many circuits. Many sides. Many angles. Multifaceted.

Getting back to Jesus' answer to the rich young ruler ("sell all you have and give to the poor"), here's one more thing about love that tells me that I've only just begun to explore its fullness. In Matthew's account of the story (Matt 19:16-22), Jesus quoted a few of the commandments when the man asked, "which ones?" One of the commandments Jesus quoted was from Leviticus 19:18, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

We seem to be able to pay attention to the love your neighbor part, and I've heard great sermons preached about loving others. But what does as yourself really mean? What does love look like if we love others in the same way that we love ourselves? If we searched for the fullness of God's love, and could fully express the love of God that is part of the divine nature that we've become partakers of, would we even have to think about selling all we have and giving to the poor?

Just in case anyone's thinking I've flipped my lid and I'm backsliding into legalism by questioning how well we really love others - that's far from my intention. :) I'm just saying that God's love is so deep and far and wide that we all have a long way to go when it comes to living in its fullness. And the point of it all is that day by day, moment by moment, we grow in the love that is already ours. Rather than being discouraged by how far we have to go, we take great courage and we explore with eagerness this awesome mountain of God's love.

The more I know, the less I know

The more I learn about love, the more I realize how very little I know about love, and about how very little the love of Christ-in-me is truly expressed on a moment by moment, day by day basis. And what great hope there is in that! I mean, if, up to this point in life, "Christ who is my life" has expressed love through me in ways that are great, but yet I fall so very, very short of expressing "perfect" love, then as I grow in His grace I can expect and look forward to and have great hope that there is so much more to come! I "regret" the ways in which I've not shown love, and the consequences of that. But I don't live there, in regret (although I can certainly ponder it and be hurt by it, and be sorrowful about it and learn and grow from it). I live in the moment by moment hope of Him expressing His life and love through me.

And like I said, the more I learn about love, and the more I learn about God (who is love), the more I realize how little I really know! It's like, you discover a small secret cave on the side of a mountain, and you are in awe and wonder of this tiny little cave. Then inside the cave you find an obscure pathway that leads to a much bigger cavern and you explore the wonders of that cavern. Eventually, you find all kinds of trails and caverns, with all kinds of wonderful things to discover and explore, and you realize that the whole mountain is made up of all these exciting trails and caverns! And so many of them have things you would never expect to find, and it leaves you in awe and wonder, and you just don't know how you will ever be able to explore the fullness of the inside of the mountain. And you know that you are missing so much, and so you itch to find out more.

The wonderful thing about the 'mountain of love' that is our life in Christ, is that, while we continue to explore it while we're living in these temporary tents, and while we may come across some unexpected pitfalls due to "the flesh" and "sin that dwells in our members" (two separate things, that are not synonymous), we really have no time limit when it comes to discovering the fullness of God's love. In fact some day we'll leave these temporary tents behind, and the pitfalls that come with them (see Paul's talk about the day when our corruptible will put on incorruption and our mortality put on immortality in 1 Cor 15:51-58), and we'll be freer than we've ever known to discover and truly know the fullness of God's love!

In the meantime, "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

'overchurched underachiever'

Borrowing here from a fairly new 'internet acquaintance' of mine (Walking Church):

"In the world and in the church we are constantly in peril of loving systems more than we love God and more than we love men"
(William Barley as quoted in Off-Road Disciples p.64 by Earl Creps)

And then borrowing from the comments on that blog:

"Have you read 2Cor. 11:3 lately?"

'But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.'

The Unforgiven

Before anyone accuses me of being a Metallica fan - I'll just admit that it's true! Well, ok, I used to be one. Can't say that I really 'follow' them anymore, but back in the day I really dug 'em. What might surprise some people is that on occasion, I do dig out some of my old stuff and give it a listen. These guys are GREAT musicians. I can understand if some or many who read this don't care for their music, but getting beyond musical tastes, they really do know how to construct and arrange music and vocals. Most of the lyrics, I don't care for one iota. But I love the musical arrangements. I've been brought to tears during some of the more string-intense melodic parts of a couple of their songs. YES, I'm still talking about Metallica. :) Only someone with the same tastes would know what I'm talking about!

But to the point here. About 3 or 4 years ago, I was listening to "The Black Album." I was brought to tears, not only by the music, but by the lyrics of this one particular song. I had never really paid much attention to what the lyrics of any of their songs actually meant, but this one really captured me on this day. I cried for what my life might have been, if not for people having told me about God's grace, and helping me out of the bondage of religion and its many effects. I cried for people who are still trapped in deadly religion.

While searching online for the lyrics a couple of years ago, I came across a website that had the lyrics posted, and it was also a website where people could comment about song lyrics. Many people commented that it may be a song about the rules of "society" in general. Or about socialism or communism. I was surprised that only a couple of people commented that the lyrics may be about religion. Well, I'll post the lyrics below and you can interpret it as you will.

I understand if you don't care for the music, so perhaps the lyrics will get the point across. But there is something about the "mood" of the music that adds to the emotion and the intensity of the subject matter, so I invite you to watch it if you want to. Don't worry, you won't have to brace yourself too much. It's one of Metallica's "slower" songs. :)

Metallica - The Unforgiven


New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules

With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me...

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Wont see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labeled me
I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Heart for the religious

I've been in a place of vulnerability and extra-sensitivity lately to the "plight" of those who are bound up in religious bondage. I'm not so much talking about those who teach and preach legalism, although they're not excluded from my thoughts and prayers, but more about those who are under that type of teaching and preaching, and who are feeling the guilt, anger, depression, hopelessness, rebellion, etc, deep within them, and also showing outwardly, because of the never-ending condemnation they receive from the teaching of "religion."

Those of you who know me, know that my heart's "mission" (call it "God's ministry" in me) for the past 12 years has been towards these beautiful, loved, free people-in-Christ who just don't yet know how beautiful, loved and free they are. But you know how, over time, you get kind of desensitized when you're doing basically the same thing all the time? Your heart kind of loses its "edge" towards even what is precious to you. I'm not saying in any way that I've lost my heart for those trapped in religion. Not at all! I'm just saying that it's sometimes easy to "go through the motions" of caring for others and speaking the truth of the good news, whether or not your heart is actually connecting with others and their plights.

A "real world," classic case of desensitization to tragedy is with the Virginia Tech massacre of a few days ago. You see so much on the news these days about death and destruction, that unless you were close to someone involved in this tragedy, it doesn't really affect your heart in the way that it probably should. It might grip your heart a little, and you may worry, if only for a second, "what if I were in a place where this happened?" But you can easily change the channel or turn of the TV and have a good night's sleep anyway.

The "religion" tragedy that is going on within the church today is also easy to overlook when you're not deeply involved in it in some way or another. I have fortunately "escaped" much of the effects of religion - and I'm still escaping - and while I do meet "the religious" every day, I don't come face to face with it in such a way that truly gives me an understanding of what's really going on today in the church. But I do know that there are deeply, deeply hurting people "out there" in this world, living in fear, guilt, shame and depression - which isn't really "living" at all. And there are those who have been left bitter, angry, cynical, sad, rebellious, you name it - all as a result of "religion."

I guess what I'm leading up to here is that I've had a "wake up call" of sorts lately. In addition to a wake up call that God is giving to my heart in the area of removing the masks and being genuine with others - and this is really a whole 'nother wonderful story of God's always-active grace at work - God has also been renewing my heart in regards to having deep care and affection - not just doctrine - towards those caught in religion. It's what I've been about for 12 years, and now seems to be a season of intense growth in my heart.

One recent example. Remember the other day I posted the Twisted Sister video? I did it mostly for a laugh. I grew up in the 80's, and that video was nothing more than comedy for me during that time. When I came across it the other day by accident, while searching for something completely different, I laughed as I watched it, and at the same time it did strike me as perhaps hitting close to home with what goes on in the church. In my heart, though, I didn't really carry that too far. But then I saw that Steve McVey had posted it on his blog, and while he said he saw it as funny on the one hand, he also used much stronger words than I did to relate the idea of how the video "is a fairly close metaphor showing what happens when people are subjected to constant attacks by preachers who get excited by condemning and judging instead of sharing the good news of the gospel." I know Steve meets face to face with a lot more church folk than I do, as he travels to share the good news, and I'm sure he is far more in tune with what really goes on in churches today.

So I watched the video again, a few times. Tears came to my eyes. I sank down as I watched the boy's (the "congregation") hopeless look as he shrunk back while listening to his father's (the "condemning preacher) merciless, nothing-short-of-condemning diatribe. This may have simply been a well-scripted shock-rock & comedy video from the 80's (based on a scene from the movie "Animal House"), but there is a lot of truth in it. And it re-reminded me of another song I've thought about sharing, and I think I'll do it after this blog is posted.

I have much more on my heart to share about what is going on in my heart, but in order to keep this from getting too long, I'll end here. And I'm hoping that whatever I do share, it doesn't come across as if I'm in some "dark" place. :) This is really a "bright" time for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Cat" find freedom!

My personal notes - 2/12/03

On a funny video show there was a video of a cat sitting inside a glass door waiting to go outside. There were “humans” around, so the cat was looking up at the door handle, waiting for someone to open the door. The funny thing was that the large glass or screen portion of the door had been removed and all that was left was the frame! The cat could have easily stepped outside, but was so used to having to wait for someone to open the door that it didn’t realize it could simply now go out freely. There was even someone who was walking in and out through the frame to show the cat that it could go out, but the cat kept looking up at the door handle waiting for someone to open it. After stepping through a few times, someone finally opened the door and the cat went outside.

Sadly, the same type of thing can happen in the life of a Christian. The freedom offered in Christ is there! The barrier of sin between God and man has plainly been removed. But someone who has been caught up in legalism or who has come to Christ thinking that the Christian life is dependant upon his or her own works may not understand that when they fail, the barrier no longer keeps them from God. The blood of Jesus Christ has removed the barrier completely, and you can walk through the door into God’s love and grace freely. In fact, once you do, you never go back.


----

Ahhh, the digital age... I found the video today on YouTube! I couldn't actually find the American version of the video, but it was apparently shown on a Dutch program. So, here's the video!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

We're Not Gonna Take It!

A little comic relief. :)

The beginning diatribe in this video may (or may not!) be an exaggeration of what may go on in some churches today, and the ensuing response is perhaps (or perhaps not!) an exaggerated response.

By the way, in case you've never heard a Twisted Sister video summarized in this way, I've also got a Metallica song I'll share with you sometime - seriously!

Were Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister

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Friday, April 13, 2007

More punishment?

My personal notes - October 1997

"The punishment for my sin was put on Jesus. God dealt with my sin 2,000 years ago, once and for all. Why should He bring it up again to be punished again?"

Mic 7:19
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
NIV

Ps 103:12
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
NKJV

Their own resolve

My personal notes - October 1997

"Many Christians have a goal to have more confidence in their relationship with God. So they set out or resolve to do more or better things. They wind up falling short of what they feel God expects of them (and remember it was their own resolve that got them started), and the circle begins again, only this time they feel worse off than before."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

FREEDOM

Gal 5:1-6

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. (NIV)

2 I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ's hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. (The Message)

3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (KJV)

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (NKJV)

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith. (NLT)

6 For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. (The Message)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Growing Gracefully

The teaser:

"Salvation is not accepting what He has done for you; it is receiving who He is in you [Rom. 5:10-11]. It has been my experience that if I was to ask the average believers what they understood about the nature of their salvation, they would typically respond in terms of salvation being about getting out of hell and into heaven.

And whilst that is true, it is hard to imagine a more impoverished view of the Christian life. Christianity is not so much about what happens to us when we die as it is about the revolution which occurs within us when we recognise the love of God."

- snippet from the article "Growing Gracefully" by Paul Anderson-Walsh


The full article from Paul is found here.

Colored People

In these pics you will see a bit of German descent, a bit of Turkish descent, a bit of African descent, a bit of Irish descent... and a bit of this and a bit of that.

Moreover, you will see ONE family.

1) Me and my sibs.  (In addition to more than 20 foster kids, my parents adopted 3 of us).



2) My mom and my sisters.




High-spirited Resurrection Day!

I didn't just want to say Happy Easter, so I was going to say "Merry Resurrection Day." :) I then looked in the thesaurus for something other than Happy or Merry.

So, hope you have a very High-spirited Resurrection Day! In more ways than one lately, I've been reminded of something I like to remind others of on a continuous basis, so just as another reminder to myself and to you... Jesus Christ was crucified, and so were we. But He also rose... and we rose WITH HIM!!! There will indeed be a day when our mortality will put on immortality and our corruption will put on incorruption (1 Cor. 15:50-57). "In this tent (human body) we groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life" (2 Cor. 5:4).

But spiritually speaking, the reality of our having been born again, made into new creations and made alive together with Jesus... is a very present reality that no one can ever take away from us, and that we can walk in... that we ARE walking in... moment by moment. Eternal life is NOW!

Resurrection Day - Celebrate it with high spirits!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Color Green

Well, this isn't about green coffee labels... ;)

Song starts slow, but picks up, and is a wonderful tribute to God's creation.

Rich Mullins

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Monday, April 02, 2007

"The life I live in the body, I don't."

The title to this post ("The life I live in the body, I don't.") is a quote I heard today from Paul Walsh (Senior Pastor at The Grace Project in London, England). This afternoon I joined him, along with Mike Zenker (National Director of Grace Walk Canada) and Dave Lesniak (Station Manager for Grace Walk Internet Radio) in Paul's very first Live Movement of Grace Web TV Show (Sponsored by Grace Walk Radio). More info on Movement of Grace at the end.

Today Paul was talking about Galatians 2:20 (I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me). However, his focus was on the preceding verse (19), and how it sets up verse 20. Verse 19 says "For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God."

Through the LAW, I died to the Law. In other words (and this goes along with other New Testament scripture), the Law's purpose was to bring me to the point of DEATH. Its purpose was to kill me. If I hadn't died, I couldn't have then been born again so that I could "live to God." And so Paul then read Galatians 2:20, but changed it slightly to bring out the point that is really being made.

"The life I live in the body... I don't." The life that I live in the body... isn't ME living it. It's Christ-in-me. "I" have died, having been crucified with Christ. It is no longer "I" who live, but Christ lives in me.

It's not up to "us" to live the Christian life. It's up to us to daily reckon the fact that we have died, that we no longer live, but it's a matter of Christ's very life doing the living! This takes all the pressure off of "us," and gives Christ all the glory.

And quickly, another thing Paul brought us is that whether my life is a matter of "me living for me" or "me living for God," it's still self-righteous living! It's still a matter of "me" living for something. But in Christ we're not living for God. It's really Him living in and through us.

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Check out www.movementofgrace.net. Several people are lined up to begin (or have already begun) doing live, interactive, Web TV broadcasts. This was put together by Dave Lesniak. He has spent a lot of time networking with people and working with technical issues to make this possible. You can watch anonymously, or you can log in with a stickam.com account and type messages or take part live with your own web cam. I'm hoping to be around to take part in as many of the broadcasts as I can. Paul Walsh's program is currently scheduled at 12pm (noon) Central Time every Monday. Of course, this is early evening for Paul in England.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

No small thing

The cross was an instrument of death. No one came down off the cross alive.

To say "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal 2:20) and "I died" (Rom 7:9) is no small thing!

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Resurrection from the dead means Life. No one who has been made alive again keeps going back to be crucified over and over again.

To say "you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God" (Col 2:12) and "the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you" (Rom 8:11) is no small thing!