Sunday, February 28, 2010

GIG 230 - Communion - Ritual or Relationship?


What comes to mind when you think of "communion?" Do you think of some sort of ritual or ceremony or do you think more along the line of relationship and intimacy? We don't get into a deep teaching on this subject this week, but we throw out a few suggestions about what communion may be and what it may not be. Jesus simply told His disciples that when they ate bread and drank wine, to remember Him. Remember His body which was broken for them and remember His blood which was shed for them. Perhaps communion can be as simple as remembering the finished work of Christ and celebrating the life of Christ.

And of course, what would a conversation about communion be without mentioning food! Everywhere Jesus went, there was eating and drinking going on! (Well, except for that 40-day desert experience). :) Food, fellowship, relationship, remembrance... could this all be a part of communion, rather than it being a religious ceremony or ritual?

gigcast.graceroots.org

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ralph Harris - Better Off Than You Think - Part 2


Part 2 (of 2) of my chat with Ralph Harris, who is with LifeCourse Ministries and has written a book called Better Off Than You Think - God's Astounding Opinion of You. Part 1 is here.

Last week Ralph mentioned that during the last few years, he's seen more and more people "getting" this truth about God's astounding opinion of them and the truth about their new nature.  He shares some of his experiences in telling people about the wonderful way that God and everyone in the heavenlies sees them!  Ralph also talks about various authors and various books he has read that line up with what God has shown him over the years.

Among other things, Ralph also talks about what he terms the "Monster Mash" - the conflict within that is between the Holy Spirit and the flesh - but that is not our conflict.  We are not the Spirit and we are not the flesh.  We are who we are!  The monster that I sometimes think I am, because of what's going on inside of me and because of my outward behavior, is not me at all!

I think you'll be highly encouraged all throughout this conversation.  The truth will make you free as you see and accept the wonderful truth of who God has already made you to be, and of His astounding opinion of you!

Find out more about Ralph Harris and LifeCourse Ministries, as well as the book, at lifecourse.org

Listen here: gigcast.graceroots.org

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When Mrs. Law Meets Mr. Grace

My 9 year old daughter had a run in with "Mrs Law" last week, and here's what happened when Mr. Grace stepped in. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

GIG 229 - Intimacy and Communion with God


This week we're talking about intimacy and communion with God. Is it possible that a person can be doing all the 'right things' in their walk with God, and still miss out on intimacy with Him? You bet. Even if a person is doing various things such as praying, reading their Bible, taking part in numerous church activities and other spiritual activities, which in and of themselves aren't "bad" things of course, they can still miss Jesus.

So we encourage you to relax and trust Jesus, and enjoy God and your life in Christ! We also talk a little bit about the 'ritual' of communion, and how we can all have communion with God anytime, no matter how many people are there or not there.

gigcast.graceroots.org

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ralph Harris - Better Off Than You Think - Part 1


"Are you prepared to think better of yourself than you have been?"

In the relatively short time that I've known Ralph Harris (through his blog and Facebook, during the past year or so), I have immensely enjoyed both his shallow humor, that is similar to mine (hehehe) and his passionate and captivating way of sharing the good news that not only does God have a high opinion of you - but His opinion is right!

Ralph is with LifeCourse Ministries and has written a book called Better Off Than You Think - God's Astounding Opinion of You.  The book is an excellent and easy-to-read resource for learning and being encouraged in who God is and who you are, and what God really says about you and thinks of youl

You don't think God has too high of an opinion of you?  Has your behavior or other people's opinions of you (or any number of other things) quenched your view of God's astounding opinion of you? In our chat, Ralph says that people in general have an opinion of themselves that is not nearly equal to what God thinks.  That affects our daily approach to life and to God.  So, are you prepared to think better of yourself than you have been?  :)  Listen in, and I think your understanding of God's view of you will be refreshed and your countenance will be lifted up!  Let the truth of God's passion for you set you free!

Find out more about Ralph Harris and LifeCourse Ministries, as well as the book, at lifecourse.org

Listen here: gigcast.graceroots.org

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New, or Improved? (repost)

(First posted here, 7/23/07)

I get a kick out of those commercials with products that they say are "New and Improved!" If something is "new," then how can it be "improved" (and vice versa)? :) I've actually heard the technicalities of the "truth in advertising" rules that explain how this phrase can be used legitimately. A quick example of a "new and improved" product would be a certain type of toothpaste that has new packaging! And perhaps they've changed one ingredient slightly, to give you "whiter teeth" or "sparkling cleansing action" (I made that one up). The point is, it doesn't take much at all to advertise a product as "new and improved."

What about Christians? Can we legitimately use terms such as "new" and "improved" to describe our life in Christ. Yes, on the first one. No, on the second one... at least as far as I understand who we are in Christ.

Just taking a look at one verse in particular that tells us about the reality of who we are in Christ:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." (2 Cor 5:17a)

In Christ, we've been made NEW. We haven't been "improved." We've been made new.

To make the point, let's substitute various words in place of "new" to see if they really tell us the truth of who we are in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a repaired creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a fixed up creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is an overhauled creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a polished up creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a reorganized creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is an improved creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a PhotoShopped creation. LOL

How about using these words: reconditioned, refurbished, mended, patched, adjusted, renovated, recalibrated, tuned up, enhanced, modified, revised, altered, corrected, balanced, refitted, revived, refreshed, rejuvenated, made over, covered, doctored, reshaped, spruced up, changed. I'm sure you can think of more.

All of those words seem to work well in some "brands" of Christianity, but I personally don't believe they have any place in describing the reality of who we are in Christ! When we came to Christ, did God begin a process of "fixing us up," and then helping us to "improve" our lives to be better people?

Let's try another verse, using the same words above in place of two missing words. Do you know what the real missing words are?

For you were fixed up, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who mended our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

For you were enhanced, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who revived our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

For you were spruced up, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who changed our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

For you were refurbished, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who improved our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

For you _______, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who _______ our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

What are the missing words?

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:3-4)

If you're a Christian, at one point in your life here on earth, you died and were created anew. Paul obviously isn't talking about physical death, but about the core of who we are - the reality of who we are - our spirits. God didn't take the "old us" and change us into a "better" or "improved" us. Rather, we died ("I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live" - Gal 2:20), and we were born again as a brand new creation. We haven't been revived. We've been regenerated ("re-created," "produced anew") completely! In other words, God didn't take the old us and pump some life into it. Rather, we died and God made us into something completely new. A new creation. Our old life wasn't changed. It was exchanged with a real life - the very life of Jesus!

God didn't just "cover" us, or our sins, with the life of Jesus. The Old Testament sacrifices "covered" sins, but could never actually take them away (see Hebrews 10). But, "behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

The person we were in Adam was dead to God. There was nothing God could do with that old creature. All the work in the world, all the touching up, all the revising... could never produce real life. So we died, and we became a new creation. Righteous and holy, clean, purified, justified. You can't improve on that! Our "job" in this life is not to become a better person, because God has already made us into a new person. Rather, I believe our daily walk with God is a matter of growing daily in the understanding of who we already are - who we've already become as a new creation by God's grace - and walking more and more "in" that.

We are truly His workmanship, not our own workmanship. He has created us anew so that now we live and move and have our being in Him. It's a life that's so much better than having merely been "improved."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This Blood

I'll just say it... for a short time in life, I really liked Carman's music, but my like eventually turned into a realization that much of it was either cheesy or legalistic, or both.  :)  This song in particular, however, is one of the better ones (according to my own tastes), and for me it does bring out some of the passion of Christ.  There are some graphic scenes from Mel Gibson's movie in this video.

GIG 228 - Present Day, Real, Living Jesus in Us


Some ask the question, "WWJD - What Would Jesus Do," almost as if we're looking at some historical Jesus who did some things 2,000 years ago that we are now trying to imitate or copy. But this week we look at the reality of the present-day life of Jesus who indwells us and with whom we're in union.

Rather than looking at things from a perspective of us "trying to be like Jesus," we look at things from the perspective that Jesus has already made us all that we need to be, and we are living from that reality. The foundation of this life is what Christ has already done, not what would He do. We don't look to a historical figure to try to decide how to live, but we live from who He has already made us to be and what He is doing in and through us right now.

gigcast.graceroots.org

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dolts and Hacks

"Any dolt can guilt others into bluffing God's life. You just use language of Law and moralism. i.e.-'Why aren't you getting this and doing better by now? Huh?!' Ah but to woo our new nature to come out and play, so I can live out of heartfelt obedience to God, well, that is the art of grace. Any hack can get external right behavior, but my new nature living in love, without complying or pretending, that's new life."
(Saw that John Lynch, one of the coauthors of Bo's Cafe, had posted this on Facebook this morning).

Speaking of John, lately I've been listening to some of the messages from his church in Phoenix, Open Door Fellowship.  Click the link and go to Media, and then Launch Sermon Player... I think you'll enjoy the grace-based sharing from John and others.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Why Can't the People Just Sing?"

My daughter Noelle and I were flipping through the channels last night, and we landed on American Idol.  We are not among the millions of people who watch this program regularly.  :)  We have viewed the program together in bits and pieces over the years, but it simply isn't something that has really grabbed our attention.  And since 9-year-old Noelle was oblivious to the point of the program - somebody winning something when it's all over with - she was watching the singers and the judges with such innocent eyes, and I loved watching her watch the program, and I loved hearing some of the things that came out of her mouth as she watched.

Up till now, the connection that Noelle has made with talent judge Simon Cowell has been mainly from his appearance as "himself" at the end of the Shrek 2 DVD, in which there is an added bonus spoof at the end called "Far Far Away Idol," with acts such as the Three Blind Mice singing "I Can See Clearly Now," Pinocchio doing some robotic movements to "Mr. Roboto," Captain Hook singing "Hooked on a Feeling," and the Three Little Pigs joining the Big Bad Wolf on "Hungry Like the Wolf."  Cowell's comments to these "acts" were of course judgmental, but comical, such as "Come on, get real, Pinocchio," and his agreement with Tinkerbell on Captain Hook's performance: "Hook, line and stinker."

But Noelle didn't consider Simon as being very comical while he was doing his stuff on American Idol last night. After hearing some of Simon's remarks and after seeing some of the contestants crying as they were rejected and sent home, she protested, "Simon sure is picky." Indeed, he is, and you and I 'get' that. It's about ratings. It's about judging performances and eventually picking a winner. But Noelle also said something else that made this daddy well up, even though she had no clue how profound and life-affirming it was. See, you and I, with our "mature" understanding of "the way the world works," may have grown oblivious and cold to what "immature and naive" eyes see. What innocent little children see, before having tasted some of the nastiness of the world, is so sweet - and encouraging and uplifting.

Again, after hearing some of the harshness of Simon's judgments toward the singers, and seeing how sad and dejected the contestants were, Noelle ever-so-innocently spoke what was in her heart and said, "Why do there even have to be judges anyway? You know how everyone has different opinions anyway, right? Why can't the people just sing?"

Let me repeat that last sentence, for emphasis:  Why can't the people just sing!

Why do we have to pick apart each others performances? Why do we have to judge one another according to what we see outwardly? You know I'm not talking about the show anymore.  American Idol will continue, and people will continue to be put on display in front of millions of other people, only to be told by three or four judges (and eventually by the votes of millions of viewers) how wonderful or how pathetic their performance is. But you and I - why do we have to judge the outward appearances and performances of each other?

Aren't we all different? And diverse? And isn't that a good thing?! Don't we all have different tastes and abilities and ways and styles? Don't we all have different journeys? We give lip service the idea that it's a good thing that we're all unique, but by the way we judge and pick on one another, you'd think that it's only good to be unique if your uniqueness is something I like!  If I don't like your uniqueness, then it's no longer a good thing, and so I'll judge you for it and pick you apart for it.

I don't want to be like that.  I want to celebrate who you are and I want you to know that you are wonderful just as you are, even if you're not anything like me!  I want to celebrate that God has not made you like He has made me, but has done a perfect job with both of us!  I don't want to care about what it sounds like when you sing.  I just want you to be free to sing!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

While we were still sinners...

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Rom 5:8-11)

While we were still sinners...

We are not sinners anymore.  As this passage says, we have now been justified, and we have now received the reconciliation.  We don't stand in relation to God as sinners, but rather as righteous, as justified, as reconciled.  We are no longer dead in our sins, we are dead TO sin.  We were sinners, and Christ died for us.  We are now addressed and identified as sons of God, as saints, as holy and sanctified.

While we were still sinners...

We were enemies.  We were subject to the wrath of God.  This doesn't mean that God didn't still passionately love us and pursue us!  Wrath and love are not incompatible and they are not opposing ends of the spectrum of who God is.  In fact, while we were still sinners, and while we were enemies and while we were subject to the wrath of God, Christ DIED for us.  There is no greater life than for someone to lay down his life for another.  God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While we were still sinners...

Now, we are not sinners anymore.  We are holy, sanctified, justified, righteous, reconciled saints.  Our actions don't always line up with the reality of who we ARE now, but that doesn't change who we are.  And if while we were still sinners God demonstrated His love in such a huge way, why would we ever think that as the legitimate sons of God that we are now, He would ever love us (or demonstrate that He loves us) any less!

Rest assured, you are loved.  You are passionately loved and pursued constantly by your heavenly Father.  He is never angry with you or disappointed in you.  His focus is WHO He made you to be.  He is VERY PLEASED with who He made you to be!  Let's think of ourselves more like God thinks of us, eh?!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

GIG 227 - God is Good


Even with all the "bad" that goes on in the world, we make the case this week of what we believe to be true - that God is only good!

gigcast.graceroots.org

Friday, February 05, 2010

Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows

Jars of Clay remake of Petra's Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows.



Another sleepy Sunday, safe within the walls
Outside a dying world in desperation calls
But no-one hears the cries, or knows what they're about
The doors are locked within, or is it from without...

Looking through rose colored stained glass windows
Never allowing the world to come in
Seeing no evil and feeling no pain
Making the light as it comes from within, so dim...

Out on the doorstep lay the masses in decay
Ignore them long enough, maybe they'll go away
When you have so much you think you have so much to lose
You think you have no lack, when you're really destitute

Looking through rose colored stained glass windows
Never allowing the world to come in
Seeing no evil and feeling no pain
Making the light as it comes from within, so dim

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Taking My Time

What's the rush, eh.



Oh, but I won’t worry
‘Cause there’s no hurry
The world’s not passin’ me by
‘Cause the Lord he knows
Just where each day goes
I know He won’t leave me behind
And I won’t be bringin’ a single thing
That my heart can’t carry inside
‘Cause I’m goin’ home
And I’m only takin’ my time

Tammy Trent dancing

I guess this in unintentionally 90's Christian Diva's music night. :)

Here's a gal who knows how to get down...

Hold On



When you get discouraged
Just hold on
You're beginning to worry now
But hold on
Don't get in a hurry, no
You know it won't be long
Your change is gonna come...

Deep Calling Deep

Great video from Margaret Becker
Deep Calling Deep