Thursday, August 11, 2016

"The Lament of a Body"

We speak relevant words of current culture, no matter how dark or shallow they may be. We offer “christian” morsels to the masses while partaking of their mentality. We've become content in fashioning appearances with the words we've learned to say, while the life in our reality is being lived a different way. And the culture grows darker as our words of protest grow louder still. We've played the part of a body, but the life that is seen is just not real. Until we return to and live from the source of our true identity, we’ll remain an earthly system, though disingenuously “sanitized” we may be. And all the kingdoms we have built, in your name and for Your cause, “Godly” forms without Your power, traditions of men and performance-driven laws. So in this time of historical shift, we humbly come to the One Head of us all. Denominations, titles, and career achievements no longer validate Your call. But to the Cross we now return, hungry for Your life in us to burn, burn in passion and in rest, trusting You to give Your best! The abundant Life that covers all, every aspect of our living, including our call. The call from You to reign complete, in Christ alone, our wings and feet. And we’ll live full and free indeed, as Your Spirit guides us, supplying more than we need. And as Your heart and face become all that the hungry hear and see, they’ll be drawn to You, and find unspeakable joy, glorious hope, and surpassing peace. As our prayers arise to You, oh God, we patiently wait to receive, and in child like faith, we expect above and beyond all we can ask or conceive. We humble ourselves, and return to YOUR call, believing You’ll hear us and heal us all. May Your Kingdom, Your Will, and the identity of our New Birth, be established as experiential reality in Your body, in our lives, as in heaven, here on earth.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Dear Hippy Christians"

I’m a creative person who enjoys a plethora of art and entertainment. Living where I live, I get the chance to see & hear many "artistic" type people who are christians. It's almost “pitifully” humorous to watch some of them try to be as "liberal" as they can in their views, while still maintaining their "christianity". They unwittingly are bullied by the political correctness police, and shy away from discussing the political climate or social condition from a place of conviction and passion. They try to remain “weakly” neutral in order to stay in the “good graces” of the establishment “liberalism” in the arts and entertainment industry in which they want to be an accepted and valued part. They teeter along the lines of trying to remain culturally relevant, and touting the social justice mantras, while still talking enough "safe" christianese to be somewhat accepted by the christian community. They are reluctant to discuss absolute truth or a definitive view of right and wrong. My question to them is this…How about speaking truth in love, and having a coherent, definitive thought in favor of right, and against wrong? Placating wrong isn't showing genuine "love", and acquiescing to evil isn't the way to show tolerance, diversity, or non-judgmentalism. As culture continues to digress, there is becoming more of a distinction between darkness and light. You will have to make a choice as to which you will commit to. Yes, we are in a spiritual war between good and evil, and yes, people are the pawns in the hands of the enemy. It’s people who carry out the sinister agenda of sin itself. We should reach for the hearts and minds of the misguided, loving them with the love of Christ, but never being content to leave them languishing in sin’s slavery, simply to appease them, hoping to gain their approval or trust. That is NOT love. And here's a clue that many seem to have missed, darkness doesn't comprehend light, so it will not be impressed by your disingenuous attempts to "understand" it, dialogue with it, or tolerate it as you try to be accepted by it or relevant to it. Christ never had to compromise the truth of who He was in order to “entice” sinners. He never had to defer timidly to the thunderous clamor of sin and evil so as not to offend the sinner. He knew how to reach them sincerely, powerfully, and with an unmistakable integrity and passion relative to what was right and what was wrong. He called darkness what it was, and didn’t soften His words in order to be “relevant”. He was pure. He was uncompromising, and yet He was absolutely genuine in the Love He expressed. Sinners were drawn to Him by His unwavering Love and Grace, which was NEVER watered down in order to be “socially acceptable” or politically correct to a sinful society. Jesus is still the answer for every issue of culture. What we as His body cannot do is to continually misrepresent Him, or “soft sell” who He is and His truth that sets the sinner free, and revolutionizes their very existence and identity. Light will never be “palatable” to darkness, and we can’t continue to try and “appease” or acquiesce to sin in order to appear accepting of the sinner. We need to unashamedly and full of love, reach for the sinner, while exposing and calling out that bully of sin that seeks to destroy their lives and forever enslave them in darkness. SPEAK TRUTH IN LOVE! TRUTH IS JESUS! Walk in the Light, as HE is in the Light. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"My One Obligatory Political Post"

I don't care how you spin it or lamely attempt to justify it, but in THIS election and cultural climate, a third party vote IS a wasted vote, and a non-vote—as a conservative—is a de-facto vote for HilLIEry. I have in the past hoped for an independent or third party. I consider myself an independent, politically, and I’ve been hoping for another choice for years, other than the “tainted” two party system. Unfortunately, in this election, the choice is so clear to me. It is beyond politics. It's the ideology of Hillary and the far left and their dangerous agenda that would absolutely be disastrous for a country built on Judeo-Christian principles. Yes, I said Judeo Christian principles. Trump is obviously no choirboy. But I dare say, that most of the slamming and lambasting of Trump that is going on originates from people who don't have a clue, and are only parroting the nonsense and rhetoric that they hear the biased media and "faux" fact checkers spew. NONE of them have any credible basis to formulate an opinion on him, since they have not spent one minute with the man. I see his family, and that is a huge ringing endorsement of him as a person. Personally, I do see Donald Trump as a man who God can raise up as an outsider – an imperfect person – to carry out the purposes of God's kingdom. And for those of you pouting, petulant people who tout Ted Cruz, and his principled stands, I would like to ask you, what about the principle of honesty? Does that matter? He insisted that Trump commit to not run on the third-party ticket if he did not win the nomination, and Trump kept his word and did so. However, the "reverend" Ted Cruz himself made the commitment to endorse and support the eventual nominee, even if it was not him. Of course, as millions watched his speech at the RNC, Ted Cruz went back on his word, and even his preacher persona did little to hide his hypocritical, disingenuous display of a supposed Christian.
When God raises up someone for a certain purpose, you can expect tremendously intense opposition, misrepresentation, and attempted discrediting, from those whose opinions are baseless, divisive, uneducated, and completely ignorant--oftentimes even from those who claim to speak for God Himself. It rarely fails that those who speak the loudest, and in the most derogatory of terms against someone, are usually those who know them the least. In my estimation, this election is so far beyond politics. It’s about a nation being willing to let God have a say in who He chooses to raise up as a leader—even within a corrupt system—not to improve the system, but to be willing to allow God to replace the system with His Kingdom purpose. Check history, and you will see throughout the eons of time, that God has raised up the “unqualified”, the “outsider”, the renegade, and even the unbeliever, whose heart He changed, and directed Him to greatly impact culture, and direct nations back to the heart and purpose of God. And you know the crazy thing is that often times the ones who missed His plan and resisted His direction, were the ones who claimed to speak for Him—“the insiders”.
Quick question here, of all those conservative, principled "zealots" on here who are so staunch and adamant in their refusal to vote for Trump, how many of you same folks DID vote for Romney back in 2012? You DO realize that he was a non-christian--a mormon, right? So explain your "non-hypocritical" logic in that. And also, while you're at it, remind me again how you know better than God almighty about who He may or may not be "allowed" to choose to raise up for this time. Shouldn't you be seeking the heart of God relative to His plans for this time, instead of tripping up over your self-righteous, inconsistent, pseudo saintly principles? Let HIS heart guide your votes, not your opinions on Trump, or your self-exalted conservative principles. This is just a thought. You DO know that God has a history of raising up imperfect, outsider, renegade, failing, and downright sinful type folks to accomplish many of His plans and purposes, right? And many of them turned their hearts toward God, and became great leaders and world changers. What makes you so certain that this could NEVER happen to Trump?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"The Missing 'Mojo' In Modern Christianity"

Where are the children?  O sure, there are plenty of logic driven mature "grown ups", theologians, intellectually pious pontificators of "balanced" reasoning, and even self professed "seasoned fathers" of faith, positively parched by lifeless letters that kill, void of life giving Spirit!  But where are the children?  You know the ones...those beautiful, "captured" by Grace beings!  Those truth embracing, trusting, treasured creations who are consumed with the Gospel--Love Himself--void of religious rhetoric, ritualistic emptiness, and a performance focused existence!  Where are the children?   Children know how to receive without earning.  Children know how to believe for the impossible.  Children know how to forgive.  Children know how to trust in the words of a loving father.  Children know how to depend on and rest in the love, work, and strength of another.  Children have an imagination that isn't limited to what their senses can perceive.  The Kingdom is only experienced by those who become as children!  Could this be why so many in this american culture of modern christianity are not seeing the Kingdom of God come, or His will being done IN EARTH--in their lives--as it is IN HEAVEN?  Has the body of Christ in this culture lost it's "Kingdom Mojo"?  Have we lost our childhood? Journey on....back into childhood! 
Matthew 11:25 (ESV)--"At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
Matthew 18:1-4 (AMP)--"At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.", 
Matthew 19:13-14 (AMP)--"Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.",
Mark 10:13-16 (AMP)--"And they kept bringing young children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples were reproving them [for it].  But when Jesus saw [it], He was indignant and pained and said to them, Allow the children to come to Me—do not forbid or prevent or hinder them—for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] positively shall not enter it at all.  And He took them [the children up one by one] in His arms and fervently invoked a] blessing, placing His hands upon them."

Luke 10:21 (ESV)--"In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"United We Tweet, Divided We Facebook"

Tweet this!  Follow me!  Retweet that!  Update my status!  Post in this thread!  Comment on her comment!  Click "like"!  Blippity bleep boo bop blah blah blah!!!!!  It's interesting how we live in a culture that "seems" more "connected" than at any time in history, and yet is obviously more disconnected with reality and life than ever.  Texts, Tweets, Posts, Follows, Re-tweets, epic threads, and more!  There is no distance in the world anymore it seems.  You do something incriminating, embarrassing, or just plain stupid one minute, and it shows up on YouTube the next.  Ours is a world that has grown accustomed to instant access, endless information, quick downloads, immediate response, and instant gratification!  It really is an amazing, and sometimes dizzy-ing phenomenon to take in! Do you remember the days of phones with chords?  Digital pagers?  Rotary phones?  How about the days before call waiting and voice mail?  Today, those things almost seem like folklore from the "dark ages".  There was a certain freedom in being able to leave your house WITHOUT a phone.  There was an eager anticipation in getting an actual "snail mail" letter.  It was an enjoyable experience to be able to sit down and have a substantive conversation with someone WITHOUT competing with text tones, notifications, and phone calls about nothing from people who were simply bored, and just wanted to call you to tell you about the latest app they had just downloaded.  We communicate in bite size morels.  We listen in "tweet" sized spans of time.  And our "relationships" have become "on-the-go-status update"-meals that temporarily satiate a craving or a need, but once the need is filled, we trash the "expendable" relationship like a half eaten McFriend sandwich with cheese. Life is lived through the lenses of gadgets, gizmos, and digital timelines. But where is the heart?  Where are the relationships of substance?  Where are the worthwhile investments of time, personal growth...AND patience? As I write, I'm a bit disheartened by people who I've attempted to have relationships with who have a hard time even keeping in contact with a 2 minute phone call, cup of coffee, or at the very least, a quick email. Communication with them is in sporadic nugget form, at best.  They have no margin in their lives.  Their schedules, their cultural philosophy of achievement and "keeping up" determine their time and their priorities.  Many of their "relational" connections are opportunity-motivated instead of being developed and motivated from a meaningful "heart" connection.  So many people desire that sense of community and connection, but are unwilling to be an active, involved, and committed part of helping to facilitate that.  THAT would mean gettin' off "the treadmill", not settling for a text or a tweet.  That might involve you seeing someone face to face, having a genuine heart to heart conversation, and perhaps even putting your phone on "silent" while your full attention is outside the frantic pace of your mad mad world, and instead, on the life of another. I've taken a long, hard introspective look at how I've defined relationships through the years, and it's been interesting to watch my relational "philosophy" morph and evolve during that time.  I'm at a place in my life where the people that matter most to me are those who are "lifers".  People pass in and out of your life, and for a dude like me, it's kind of tough to "let go" of any relationship.  But the reality is, some people are seasonal--there for a moment or two, then they're gone.  I think as I've gotten older and hopefully wiser, I can recognize certain "indicators" early on that kind of "foretell" what type of relationship it's most likely to be with some people. The key with me has been learning to accept the fact that some people are only capable of being "seasonal" type relationships.  And I can no longer take it personal when they "move on" from me to their next "ever changing" season.  They may even "cycle" back around in a few months--even years from now.  You can engage them on a certain level while they're there, but don't expect much depth, longevity, or substance. And after years of struggling in identity crisis and personal insecurity, I'm finally at peace with that!  After all, I'm defined by only ONE, and He is perfectly pleased with me, and nothing I do or don't do can change that!  What security!  What love!  What a relationship! And in the meantime, I look for those people who are on a journey, who enjoy adventure, who are looking to share their stories, and who have a passion to grow in the wonder of Love Himself and the amazing community that is born from finding others who are traveling the same "trail"!  I am learning to live life within the "unforced rhythms of grace", and simply observe what Love is doing in and around me.  So many naturally occurring relationships are all around us, waiting for us to engage them!  Don't waste your time trying to force people into your expectations, live up to theirs, impose a relationship into existence, or chase after people who hardly understand the concept of what it means to be a friend.  Just open your eyes and heart and watch Love Himself organically and creatively connect lives and hearts on this journey.  I have found that being patient in discovering those life relationships is well worth the seasons of solitude, "alone-ness", and stillness you may experience along the way.  I'd much rather embrace those "still" times, where I can have room to grow, listen, learn, and connect deeper with Love Himself, than to waste those times cluttering my life with the noise of superficial relationships, or trying to gain some pseudo validation or acceptance from those people.  There is certainly a freedom in re-connecting with the God-given original passions of Life, and the people created to be a part of your "life mosaic".  These connections will grow naturally, authentically, un-contrived, and deeply!  Keep your soul aimed in THAT direction!  All other stuff, and people.....simply distractions!  Journey on!  Stay Alert.........Colossians 3:1-2 (The Message) [ He Is Your Life ] So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Monday, July 18, 2016

“The Black, White, & Blue, The Terror, and the AWOL Church”

In the light of the events of the past few weeks, I thought I would post a few thoughts here. Admittedly, they are a bit “buckshot”, and not as organized as I would prefer, but that is by design, and is indicative of the volatility in the hearts and emotions of so many people right now. My intent in these words is not to offend, but to speak out against the broken condition of the human heart, which is where the issues spread from, and to refocus us on the only Hope for humanity. When people insist on living under law, and remain rebellious and lawless, then, as a result of their own reckless and selfish choices, they must face the consequences and be treated as and dealt with as lawbreakers, according to the law. Evil must be confronted, but not with weaponry of the world; the enemy is not people groups, but sin, satan, and his spirit within the hearts and minds of broken humanity. We must not give ground to evil any longer! Let the church BE the church, the very expression of Christ in this earth, the ONLY Hope!
Who started that ridiculous term "white privilege"? That is nothing more than a politically correct, disingenuous and incendiary term that further alienates people, and fosters the attitude of entitlement from non-caucasians. AND, it perpetuates more divisiveness while fueling the fires of victimization. If you're alive, and you live in the USA, regardless of color, newsflash, you should count yourself "privileged". You are only a victim when you allow yourself to remain so. Dwelling on the injustices of the past--though they are indeed unjust--keeps you enslaved to that mentality, and embittered toward those who you feel perpetuated those circumstances. They become your focus, and even obsession, and that sabotages your future. As long as we use the terminology and politically correct clich├ęs (including but not limited to)--African-American, Asian-American, White-American, Spanish-American, white privilege, "black, white, yellow, green lives matter"--which promote division between races and classes, and disingenuously tout the need to "have a conversation" or put ourselves in each others' shoes without honestly addressing the heart issues, we will continue to be a divided nation. We will remain pitted against each other by those who profit and gain control through divisiveness, including those hucksters who claim to speak for minorities while shamelessly exploiting them for personal gain or political expediency. Even in many churches, we enable divisiveness, and use flowery language, while continuing to skirt the core issues, for fear of offending, or not being relevant. Our culture has a sin issue, and a desperate need for Christ. It's not more "dialogue" we need. It's not more "understanding" and tolerance of other religions or views that we need. We need Jesus Christ and Him crucified--the ultimate and only genuine expression of Love. Standing resolute in the reality that He IS the only way to God, and that He IS the only answer to every issue of life, does NOT make me judgmental, intolerant, or unloving. As the body of Christ, we have to quit being afraid to speak absolute truths in love! A failure to speak them out is evidence that we are not genuinely sharing the true love of God with others, but rather we are being complicit in the decline of culture, and contributors to the continued brokenness of humanity. We have a distorted, misrepresented, and misunderstood view of what it means to accept them, validate them, or to be diverse and "inclusive".  This does not mean to comply with, tolerate, or condone behavior and choices that will harm the heart and damage the soul. THAT is NOT love! I will readily admit that, as a white person, I cannot fully understand the plight of black people in the past and awful and unjust treatment that they endured, and still endure in some places. But here's a newsflash, many of the black people today who espouse violence, hate, and racism (yes, THAT is two-way street) also do not fully understand the pain of the past, they are simply parroting what they hear in media, the news, and the propaganda. My point is this, as long as we focus on and dwell on the injustices of the past, and frame ourselves or others as victims of the past--beating the drum of entitlement, revenge, or blame--we will remain enslaved by the mindsets and attitudes which perpetuated the past. Focus on the true source of hope, change, justice, and healing--Christ alone. If you're not representing, perpetuating, facilitating, and promoting the purity, redemption, and power of that message, then you remain a part of the problem, regardless of your cries for social justice, reparations, or any other religious rhetoric. Shine the light instead of continuing to curse the darkness. Terrorism--domestic and foreign-- is a reality. Our weak, politically manipulative leadership has acquiesced and created an environment that is conducive to the spread of this cancer. It IS a spiritual war, which unfortunately, the politically correct obsessed fools do not understand. The Godless agenda, and the moral relativism of a culture that has grossly distorted the meaning of love, and the distinctions between right and wrong--including a refusal of absolute truth-- has blinded a nation that has been given so many blessings from God Almighty, and the potential to be the most enlightened, and informationally astute nation on the planet. But since the media has manipulated so much of the information, many people have become fools, while still claiming to be enlightened. Even many Christians have been duped into a grossly distorted worldview, unwisely adopting an emotionally driven, worldly motivated philosophy of “inclusion” and a permissiveness toward what is wrong, for the sake of appearing tolerant or relevant to a world that is in dire need of an uncompromising Love and Grace that ONLY the Gospel can offer. The "never Trump" crowd, and those misguided “hippy christians" who insist that we let every refugee into our borders, or we are not being Christ like, are two of the biggest groups of misguided folks that have graced this terra firma in a long time, in my estimation. They seem to have no clue about being guided by God's wisdom in our choices and dealings with people, or the reality that God can raise up anyone he so desires for his purpose, YES even Donald Trump. He doesn’t need your sanctimonious, principled opinions or self-righteous approval relative to who HE can set up or take down. You don’t establish His Kingdom by embracing evil, or being tolerant and understanding of it. Evil isn’t interested in a conversation or dialogue. We can’t afford to “entertain” evil spirits in humanity for the sake of accepting them. God’s love does accept them, but NOT the evil that they are allowing, or even unknowingly perpetuating and facilitating. Black Lives Matter, the Ku Klux Klan, New Black Panthers, and these disingenuous protesters should be treated as domestic terrorists. In this cultural climate, I'm of the opinion that the term "peaceful protest" is an oxymoron. And in the lead are these reprehensible agitators like George Soros and Louis Farrakhan. They are no better than Osama Bin Laden. And the sad reality is that this poser of a president currently in office is facilitating and perpetuating a completely divisive and false narrative of "gun control". I am sick and tired of watching people--namely Christians--tiptoe around political issues, trying to remain "cool and relevant" by keeping everything "love and roses", afraid of making a definitive statement for fear of criticism or persecution. They choose instead to market their brand, build their kingdoms, have their faces attached to the sexy “social justice” issue of the day (again, to be perceived as relevant), while celebrating their “services” and programs. Obviously politics is corrupt and unable to address the deep-rooted heart issues of this country caused by sin and a rejection of God. BUT, we have to face the situation, which is that politics is an active part of our culture presently. Trying to remove God from politics for the sake of keeping faith separate from politics is a mistake. Our faith in Christ should permeate every aspect of our life--including politics. There is no God but Jehovah, and no savior except Jesus! If I offend other religions by stating the truth, so be it. Their offense or rejection doesn't change truth. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. We are praying that His kingdom come, and His will be done in earth as in heaven. But God is inviting us-His body-to engage in the process of this becoming a tangible reality. Our choices as citizens will reflect whose Kingdom we are promoting.