Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote for Today

And today I am just going to send you a little something to spring you into the weekend:

"A great mind is one that can forget or look beyond itself."
- William Hazlitt

Looking to look beyond myself,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Best Job in the World

What a crappy job! (No pun intended, well yah there was). But can you imagine if this guy was/is a Christ follower? I could here him now, deep inside the bowels of this elephant, "God, this is the best job ever. If only I could serve you better through the work that I am doing."

This is the exact attitude we need to take as believers, whether we are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the proctologist for an elephant; whether we are on a mission trip to the deepest parts of the Amazon or just walking down the city streets of Tampa. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Cor 10:31). When we rely on God for our strength and guidance and seek to please Him in all that we do, we glorify God. Look to God in all things and I guarantee that He will bless your life. It may not be money, it may not be fame, but it will definitely be peace and solice in a world full of disorder.

With this mentality, that is, doing all we can to glorify God, we shed light on the amazing grace that Jesus bestowed upon us through His death. When we shed this light by our attitudes and outlooks, we show the world and those who do not believe that Jesus Christ will change lives and that there is someone to serve that is greater than ourselves.

Deleting my current outlook on life,

Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Blame Game

"The man said,"The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (Gen. 3:12 NIV)

Ah Ha! There it is stated in the Bible. Woman was the reason that man is sinful. See. I have been saying this for years. They gave us the apple and we listened. Okay, really, not. I was just joking. If you took me seriously, then I have some beautiful waterfront property in Nebraska to sell you. As you can see from the previous paragraph I am playing the blame game. Just as Adam did when God confronted him on his disobedience, I have shifted the blame from man to woman. Logical, right? No way.

As Christ followers, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. That standard means that we take responsibility for our own actions and not shift the blame onto others or something else. This is my favorite affair excuse:"It was my wife's fault that I couldn't be faithful because she didn't give me the attention I needed." Are you nuts? Blame feeds our selfish nature and when we sense a threatening situation, like when someone points out something undesirable, we lash out and throw around blame. Time to stop the game and pull the mirror in front of our faces.

When we can step up to our mistakes and take our licks for them, then we can be a phenomenal witness to the non-believer. We also send a message to those around us that we have integrity inspired by Christ. And then they will see Christ. Actions always speak louder than our words.

Flipping the mirror,
Jesus Freak Out!

Who's to Blame?

Think about how much responsibility you really take for your actions and keep this passage in mind, Genisis 3:12. Tomorrow we are going to talk about the blame game and how we can avoid getting sucked into it.

Until then,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Opinions are Like Butts

Yep. We all have them. Sometimes though, we just need to keep them to ourselves. I have found that as I age, my opinions become more and more like ranting and moaning than spouts of wisdom. I am really getting annoyed with myself over the fact that I feel as though I need to express my opinion just to be heard. I like to pass it off as venting, but it's really not. It's whining. I'm not a big fan of whining. For crying out loud, I am trying to break my 3 year old of the practice. It's time I break myself of the same.

The book of Proverbs is among my top 5 favorite books in all the Bible. The wisdom and teachings that lie within its pages are timeless and true. Chapter 18 verse 2 is no exception: "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion." Well there's a shot to the pride. When we spout off our opinions, we must think first, lest we dig ourselves a hole to lay in and then wollow in our self pity and centeredness. It's time we shift our focus from vinegar based tirades about meaningless subjects to thought provoking discussions with others about Jesus Christ.

The other key piece to this Proverb is "understanding." We must look at life through the eyes of the beholder and not down from our lofty perches. When we put ourselves on a pedestal, that is when our opinions become whining with no understanding in them. When we understand someone's position in life and begin to see it from their point of view, God begins to focus the picture on how we can reach out to them and clear the brush from the walkway so that He can knock on the door to their hearts.

Breaking out my machete,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blessed are the Prosecuted?

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:10 NIV)

Oops, it's persecuted not prosecuted. Persecution is bad in human eyes, until we see through our blood colored glasses. As Christ followers, we will face tests and trials of our integrity, principles, and "moral compass." We will be the brunt of so many jokes; we will be the focus of so much scrutiny; we will be tested against a perfection that we know cannot be attained. Our persecution will be painful, unwarranted (in our eyes), and mostly unpleasent. But we must perservere. We must see our circumstances as single frames in an epic movie that is the chronicle of our lives. We must look at the big picture; we could be persecuted as a strengthening of our resolve for Christ; we could be persecuted because of the example we set; we could be persecuted over the fact that we are different from another person.

Fear not because when we look at the latter half of this verse, we see something Jesus has said before. This was probably said twice because He wanted to ensure us that when we follow Him and bear our cross daily, our reward lies in heaven, not on earth. Persecution as Christ followers is not fun or enjoyable, unless we see it "Through This Lense."

In deep thought,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Elephant or Jackass?

Here is my political statement for the rest of my life: I am getting out of worrying about politics anymore. Our pastor said it right one weekend; it doesn't matter to us as Christ followers who gets in office because it has no bearing on how we will execute the Great Commission. No matter what happens, we will still strive to reach those who do not have a personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. That's all that matters; not our mortgages, our 401Ks, or our retirements. Our only retirement is in the saving blood of Jesus Christ. And that's a retirement plan that will never fail: EVER!

I will finish with the Beatitudes tomorrow. Until then, Go Rays!

Voting for Christ,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blessed are the Cheesemakers?

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9 NIV)

Okay, I had to use my other favorite throwback to Life of Brian. So what do we understand this to be? Anyone who is peaceful and serene will be called a son of God? No. Anyone who ensures that all parties are happy will be considered a son of God? No, but can I have close calls for 1000 Alex?

I believe that Jesus was talking about keeping the peace between us and non-believers. When He went and taunted the Pharisees, He was not keeping the peace for good reason. He was telling them where they were wrong in their teachings. Now, when we meet non-believers, we must not be confrontational. That is just spitting in the face of God and telling Him that He is not in control: we are. We don't want to go down that road. We want to present the Truth in a light that honors God. I'm not saying don't defend; I'm saying don't taunt or flaunt.

But we must be confrontational with the false teachers. Why? Because they do nothing but damage. I'm not talking about denominational feuds over doctrine. Those battles can be stupid as well. I'm talking about downright lies about God's teachings (liberation theology is an example). It's not about us and what He can do for us. It's about Christ and what He can do for His kingdom through us.

Jesus Freak PEACE Out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hearts of Gold

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matt. 5:8 NIV)

Hmmmm. Pure in heart. That is just a hard concept to fathom for anyone at all in today's society, even if we are Christ followers. Pure in heart can be such a relative term and so hard to define. What's pure for one person may not be pure for another. I mean, for crying out loud, teenagers nowadays are trying to redefine virginity. But is this all really consequential to what Jesus was saying? Not at all.

Pure in heart is a term that can only be defined in terms that are relative to God. We must have a heart that seeks Him and seeks to know Him. What society and "morals" define as pure are nothing compared to what God does. Our moral compass must now point to true north; that is, it must point up. Everything we do must be focused on Christ and His work for us. In the words (lyrics) of Metallica, "Nothing else matters."

We will fail. We will lose focus. We will not be perfect. But, if we can purify our hearts the best He can, then we "WILL see God." And when we see God, we see that anything is possible. The next time we hesitate to talk with someone about Jesus, focus on Christ and He will provide you the words. I guarantee it.

Pasteurizing my own heart,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blessed are the life sparers?

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matt. 5:7 NIV)

We must think of mercy in other terms than what we see on TV and in the movies. Most of the time, the first vision we may think of is that of someone sparing another's life. But having mercy in this quote means something much deeper. Think of Christ's mercy more as compassion; compassion on us for the "filthy rags" that we are.

As ad-ministers of His message, we must also show compassion on those who do not know of or about Him. We must also show our "mercy" on those in need; the defeated, the hurting, the misled, the lonely, the ignorant, the conceited. Showing our compassion goes further than any words or Bible quotes ever could. When we show "mercy," we exemplify Christ more than any other way. Our life, when lived according to the example of Jesus Christ, can be the greatest testimony ever given without ever speaking a word. Then, when non-believers ask why we are the way we are, God has opened to the door for us to speak the Truth.

Lastly, we must not concentrate on the latter portion of this quote. If we do this, then we are only compassionate because it benefits us, a.k.a self-centered. As you can see in the verse's order, showing mercy is the first priority. The rest will fall into place when we don't even think about it.

Knocking the self out of my own centeredness,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What has this world come to?

I was not going to post today, but I at least have to let you all see this one. I heard about this guy on the radio who is sueing God. I about had to pull over for fear of laughing myself into an accident at 70 mph. Please check out this article and let me know your thoughts. Have a great day at church and I pray that God will move you in new and productive ways.

Rolling on the floor with laughter,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Self-Righteous........Right?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matt. 5:6 NIV)

So what Jesus was saying was those who are self-righteous will be satisfied? Let's define righteousness, or the adjective righteous, real quick before we get ourselves in trouble. The great Webster's dictionary defines righteous as, "acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin." Righteousness then, in essence, would describe someone or something that is working in concert with the divine law or moral code as a Christian and who is free from sin or guilt. Jesus is talking about yearning for that, not being that. Being that would mean we are being self-rightneous, a.k.a. better than who we really are.

Many Christ followers act as though they are better than everyone else through judgment. "Well he is an alcoholic so he doesn't deserve to be a part of this church." "Sally sleeps with this guy because she doesn't value herself so we should just give up on helping her. She's just not acting like a Christian." Why don't we stop being "self-righteous" and just pray for, labor for, and work together with those who are struggling or do not believe, instead of just standing on the sidelines hurling our discontent at them. Let's turn that mirror on ourselves before we turn it on other people first. Strive for OUR own freedom from guilt and sin, then we can help others along their journey. My wonderful mother always said hate the sin, not the sinner.

Jesus said that we must pull the plank from our own eye before pulling the splinter from our brother's and sister's eye. Jesus loved us enough to bestow grace and forgiveness upon us. It's about time we do the same for our brothers and sisters........unconditionally! There are far deeper truths to this one verse, but that's enough for now.

With one massive set of tweezers,
Jesus Freak Out!

Blessed are the Greek?

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (Matt. 5:

Anyone who has seen Monty Python's Life of Brian knows what this title is about. It's about confusion and misunderstanding. That is what the Beatitudes are all about. Most of the times we misunderstand what God is trying to tell us through the words of His son Jesus Christ. If we look deep, with an understanding heart for Christ, we can see beyond the superficial, self-centered meaning of His word.

He doesn't say blessed are the weak and weary, He says, "Blessed are the meek..........." In other words, blessed are the humble before God, not man. Humility is something that we all learn from an early age through trials and tough situations. But humility before God only comes with a broken heart. I'm not talking in the love sense, I'm talking in the God sense. We must be broken before God, as His Son was on the cross, because that takes the focus off of us and puts it on connecting with Him. If we can humble ourselves before God, I mean really put our own inhibitions aside, then we will become closer with Him and find a connection that spurns growth, but most of all, action. God has a way of forcing us to eat crow too, but he prefers that we eat it willingly, even if we have to put ketchup on it. It hurts but it works.

Toes and fingers are not enough to count the crows,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blessed are the Cry-babies?

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matt. 5:4 NIV)

I know that I have had my share of times of mourning: the death of my great grandmother who was a very special lady to me, my father's open heart surgery, the present pain of my mother, and the fact that I am no longer twenty-something........physically. But was Jesus really telling us that when we mourn, we will be comforted? In a superficial sense, yes. We know that as believers in His death and resurrection, we can take comfort in knowing that when someone we care for dies, if they knew Christ, they will join Him again when He returns for them. But, on a deeper level, Christ was talking about the mourning that we do everyday.

It pains me deep within my soul that there are people all over this world, even in my own house and workplace, that do not know Christ yet as I do. Yes my son knows who Jesus is, but he is not old enough or spiritually mature enough to make that decision to follow Him. But there are people that we all know personally and deeply that are resistant to joining Christ in a personal relationship that will both challenge and reward them. We always ask the question why. Why do they not know Him like I do? Well, that comes down to us. Have we presented the Truth to them in a way that connects them to Christ? What avenues can we take to better show them the awesome power and glory of our Savior?

Now for the second part of this quote (I use quote because these are the soveriegn words of Jesus Christ and not just lines in some book). We are comforted. When we realize we are not affecting salvation and sanctification on them, that only the great I Am can do that, then we can take comfort in knowing that all is in His hands. What power do we have to save them? None whatsoever. But try we must still, to present them the Truth in a respectful manner that is indicative of Christ's love for us. We must be gentle but straightforward. The grace they receive will not come without some emotional "blood," sweat, tears and pain........just as Jesus experienced on the cross for us.

Hurting deep inside,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Poor in What?

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3, NIV)

It sure as heck doesn't say blessed are the poor in money, or stuff, or friends, or careers. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit......" What exactly did He mean by this? It's a mystery that biblical scholars have been trying to solve for 2 millenia now. But, Jesus was not complicated. He was't cagy and He was't mysterious when He said this. He was straightforward.

Let's step back for a second and look at the first word of the verse. Blessed can also mean happy or joyful. So we should be happy that we are poor in spirit? Nope. Jesus is trying to tell us that those who are NOT self-righteous and "self-sufficient" (NIV notes) will be blessed by God and join Him in His kingdom, as well as find joy in seeking the things of God. When we seek the things of God, and not those of this world, we see that joy comes to our life in greater abundance. Because when we seek the things of God and His kingdom, then we take away all disappointment in the failures of this world and look forward to Christ never failing us again. And He never will. Ever!

So we must always seek to be "poor in [our own] spirit," because that is when we will assuredly "inherit the kingdom of heaven."

Stepping out from under my own spotlight,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New String

My apologies to all of you for not posting this morning. My family and I just returned yesterday from Destin and I was beat. I know, it's not good enough for you and it's definitely not good enough for God. So I humbly ask your forgiveness and I will forever ask for God's on many more issues than this. And so I digress.......

For the next few days, I am going to write a string of posts on one of the most influential, controversial, emotional, figurative, and inspiring portions of Christ's famous Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes. For a long time, I have wondered what a beatitude was. Just by looking at the Latin root of the word, we can see what it means. From the great encyclopedia Britannica, the famous phrase from each verse, "Blessed are" or, Beati sunt, is the key to the title in this section of Matthew's gospel.

I, too, have a couple root words for the Beatitudes: I call them the "Be-Attitudes" (I don't know that this has ever been used before in a book or pulpit, so I am not intentionally taking anything from someone who deserves credit). Verses 3-10 of Matthew chapter 5 describe 8 "attitudes" that we should have as followers of Christ. We need and should Be these Attitudes. That is what I mean. As we go through this study of each verse, you will hopefully see what I mean. Please do not mistake this for some kind of grand expression of faith. I just believe that we should emulate all that Jesus was talking about. Can we do this always? No one is perfect. But we must keep striving. And so the series begins........

Trying to be an attitude,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the seventh day He rested......

I originally was going to do this, but never have. So today, I am going to rest, at least from this blog. I have a 7 hour drive ahead of me so I will begin anew tomorrow. I am praying for you all and hoping that your day is filled with fun and family.

Tired of driving and I haven't left yet,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pain Paradigm

Have you ever taken joy in the pain of another? It hurts me to watch grown men knock each other silly in cage fights and boxing. I always wonder why someone would want to put themselves through that kind of torture, again and again. Have you ever taken joy in someone being murdered? 99.99% of the population would probably come back with a resounding "No." But, 100% of Christians take joy in the murder of Jesus Christ. You are probably saying to yourself, "His rocker is definitely tipping back on its legs now?"

The band Kutless, an alternative Christian band, produced the song "Passion" that celebrates the pain and killing of Jesus Christ. This is a hard concept to wrap our minds around, but think about the words. "Jesus endured the pain; Paying a debt I owed and created a paradox in me." Believing in the saving blood and grace of Jesus Christ truly highlights a "paradox" that those who believe can understand, but is not out of reach for those who do not. Here is the kicker lyrics though: "Nail pierced hands they run with blood; A splitting brow forced by the thorns; His face is writhing with the pain yet it's comforting to me." Now look at the picture behind the title of this blog. I have broken down crying over these lyrics before because I finally got what Christ did for all of us and why I take joy in His death.

Everyday that we celebrate Christ and the forgiving power of the crucifixion, is a day that we, in reality, take joy in the agonizing pain of another human. Granted that human was God incarnate, but he was still a human being. The hardest part is trying to explain the joys of celebrating this horrific scene to non-believers. I'm not saying that I jump for joy at Easter and scream,"Yeah, Jesus was murdered and it hurt Him really bad!" The hurt part is not why we celebrate. The grace part is why we celebrate because each of us knows that we should be the ones up on that cross, bearing the pain of nails through our wrists and feet, a dingy crown of thorns jammed into our scalps, and a scourging we could only describe as our worst nightmare.

We must take this picture and translate it into a palatable scene for those who do not believe. If we can be moved to do this, it only solidifies for non-believers why life will change when they take up that personal relationship with Him. It's our time to show why Christ laid down His life for His friends.

Shifting my own paradigm,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tough Love Can Be Ignorant

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Cor. 8:1)

Well, I had a reality check today. Coming from the Air Force and from a family who enjoys a little good natured humor at someone else's expense, I will jump in on the banter quite often. It can be fun to throw that witty comment out there and here everyone around you say "Oh, snap!" (street slang for "Wow"). But what is it really doing for that person, or for that group? It just tells them how ignorant and self absorbed I can be.
When we are around our friends or family, there is a time when we need to set ourselves aside, think What would Jesus do (I know, it's a cliche, but effective), and set the Christ-like example for others to follow. Imagine what someone who knows us as Christ followers would say when they heard what we were saying? They might say,"Oh snap, and he calls himself a Christian?"
So today, and from now on, let's take the time to build someone up in love, instead of tearing them down in so-called fun. There is a time and a place for jeering that is in good taste and in the spirit of building up. There is also a time and a place to build up in love. When it is all focused on the mission of Christ, then good natured taunting can inspire or push someone to that next level. But when it pushes someone away from our ultimate mission, we have failed our Savior.
Humbled and changing,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Pain and Agony

First, I would like to dedicate today's blog to my wonderful, beautiful, loving, and kind-hearted mother who is enduring a barrage of tests at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I ask for your prayers, both for her and for the doctors who are working with her. She has an undiagnosed neurological condition that the doctors have been trying to figure out for a few years now. We are hoping on some answers and not looking for an ounce of sympathy.

Why do I tell you this? Because for one, this woman had to endure the agony of my child birth, and what's worse, she had to endure the agony of my childhood (and I was a hellion!). But what else is special about this woman, is the fact that she is one of the strongest individuals, both physically and mentally, that I know. Her strength does not come from within herself. She is not proud or self-righteous or conceited. Mom's strength comes from her relationship with Jesus Christ.

For a long time, with her condition and other personal issues, she shook her fist at God and asked why this had to happen to her. Until one day, she realized that God was her strength and not her enemy. She realized that when Jesus was bloodied and bruised, in pain and agony on the cross, becoming sin for the forgiveness of the entire human race, He was enduring more pain and agony than she could ever possibly imagine. And that whatever pain there was in her life, in her world, if he could do that for her, she could endure this for Him and trust in the strength of a relationship with Him.

Marilyn McBride is not a martyr or a saint. She is just like all of us. My mother is special to me as she is to many other people. But she is also special to Christ. God has a soft spot in his heart for every single person, whether they know Him or not. But, those who trust and know Him will occupy another type of spot in heaven. This is our goal, to assist our God in filling up heaven and abandoning hell. We must strive for this above all other noble causes in the world.

Mom, with all my love in the world,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Treasure Hunters

A big chest bump goes out to Brian Heckman for this post. This comes from his personal thoughts while chronicling his walk with Christ.

For several months I’ve spent some time wrestling w/ Matt. 6:19-21…chasing “treasures in Heaven” rather than treasures of life. It’s not easy. Often it doesn’t make sense, especially now, when money and time aren’t exactly in abundance. But when seen through God’s perspective, it’s actually fairly easy to see that so much of what we live for isn’t really what matters.

What does matter are the treasures we are rewarded in Heaven…treasures we can earn & enjoy right now by locking arms with God and doing His work while we have the opportunity. Individually, we can’t fix Wall St., or our national debt. But today, we can invest in a struggling friend who doesn’t know Christ. We can push a Christian friend this afternoon, to take his next step towards God. We can teach our kids how to pray to God. We can love our spouse like God loves us. We can serve big in our local church.

What has been eye-popping, is how God has responded when we obey His nudge, and do His work. Our friends (and their kids) are getting baptized, co-workers are committing their lives to Christ. Non-churched friends are checking God out in our small groups. Marriages are finding hope w/ God, and w/ other couples chasing after Jesus.

Where can you make a difference today for eternity? If you are out chasing treasures in Heaven, how are you seeing God respond?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (The Final Chapter)

So it comes to an end, but with our goal. Ever had points in your life where you felt as though there was no goal, no direction, no purpose to what you were doing? I am struggling with some of that right now. But, we must never forget that our goal is not here on earth. Our goal lies in heaven, in the form of a God that is waiting for us with open arms to hopefully say to us,"well done my good and faithful servant."

So is our goal heaven, or is our goal salvation? But wait, we have already been saved so that means we have met our goal. Negative, the truth eludes us. "The word is near you.......That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:8-9). Are we living this as our doctrine: yelling from every street corner that "Jesus is Lord?" Are we living this as our doctrine: believing in a resurrected Christ? We can say that we believe all we want to, but if we don't live it out, we are fooling ourselves and leading many people in a deception of what God is all about.

So let's put on our pads, break out "The Playbook," start digging in our feet, and let's push the whole defensive line of Hell back into the dispicable pit it came from (I had to use your analogy Hal. It was a great one). We must not rest on "our own" righteousness, but on that of the one who saved us.

Suiting up for gameday,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (Part III)

I actually took a day off from this for you and for me. Now your e-mail is not clogged and I got some downtime with the family. Plus, I was sulking (lazy) over the agregious loss that Auburn took against Vanderbilt. Now we continue........

We left off talking about the reason God created us "in His own image." Now we will talk about our mission in reference to doctrine. Just like any great warrior, we as Christ warriors have a mission. Like we said before, doctrine has a place, but it must not supplant the mission that God has for us here on earth. When we rap ourselves in a doctrine, we put ourselves on a pedestal and we judge other people based upon that doctrine. If they don't believe as we do, then they are wrong. Well, when we think like this, we are wrong. Now there are some fundamental doctrinal truths that must be the foundation for a relationship with Jesus Christ. These truths are for another post.

We all have a mission from God, though, and He stated this before He left earth to be with the Father. Jesus, after rising from the dead, gathered with the 11 disciples on a mountain outside of Galilee and had this to say to them, and us: (Matthew 28:19-20) "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." We know this as the Great Commission. In plain words that all of us could understand, Jesus laid our our mission.

We have to put aside all of our petty differences as Christ followers and set our sights on the things of God: reaching those who do not know Him with the Good News of His saving grace. It's not our mission to save people: we do not have that power. We must reach out to them though, and plant the seeds of truth. Any other distractions are just the work of another trying to refocus us on his desires.

Longwinded as usual,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (Part II)

We left off trying to define the roll of doctrine in our faith. There have been so many arguments as to who or what group is right based upon what the Bible "says." I wonder how they would feel if we told them that they were playing God, showing their arrogance, or as a friend of mine put it, "put[ting] God in a box." What, Christians, arrogant? But we love God? Or is it that we love God and know exactly what He tells us through the Bible because we have Him figured out?

Our arrogance takes many forms. Remember how we talked about knowledge as the wisdom of the world, and Not God? Now, apply that in this situation. Is our "knowledge" of God and the Bible His wisdom or ours? When we think that we have God figured out, let Him know.........and then watch what happens. Too much doctrine is what will lead us down that road. Heck, David Koresh had a doctrine he preached about and based upon the word of God.

So here is what I propose: a reason, a mission, and a goal (and please do not take this as the right answer). Christ could have something completely different in mind. I have not figured Him out, nor do I expect to ever figure Him out while I still walk on this earth. This is just what I feel led to say.

Our Reason: that is, our reason for being here. A #1: to glorify Him. We were created to praise, honor and worship all that we do! Glory to God comes in many forms. "So God created man in His own image," (Genesis 1:27). Remember how we pay tribute to and honor someone famous: stars on a sidewalk, statues, headstones at gravesites. God created us to honor Him and our intent is to glorify Him through the actions we take on His behalf.

A little different take on glory to God. More to come on the mission we have tomorrow. I don't want to make this too long.


Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (Part I)

What is the definition of doctrine as defined by the all knowing Webster's Dictionary? Doctrine is defined as "(a) something that is taught, (b) a principle or posistion or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief (dogma), (c) a principle of law established through past decisions............" So how does this apply to spreading the Good News? Well, doctrine can, and often does, interfere with what Christ really intended for us.

Now, sound doctrine is good, and a basis for what we believe in. In Paul's second letter to Timothy, he writes "For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." But define sound doctrine. Sexual immorality, adultery, idolatry, etc. are all sins that sound, biblical doctrine is based upon (don't construe that the wrong way). But when do believers go too far with doctrine? I believe that when we begin to argue internally to the "church," we begin to miss the whole context of why God put us on this earth and why He then sent His Son to die for us.

Tomorrow, I will try and define the role of doctrine, how we can try and avoid in-fighting about it, and then set forth a mission and vision that can be applied to all denominations. We all follow the same God and there are truths that have applied to believers since God created the "heavens and the earth."

Reshaping my direction,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Like a Rock

When we look at the people of this world, who do we see as the smartest and wisest of those among us? The scientist, the philospher, the author, the businessman, the professor? I think not. I am probably the most foolish person out there. "Why do you think that" you might ask. Well, I am someone who just craves knowledge and always wants to answer the question of Why. I like to learn. So how does this make me a fool?

Lately, most of the posts have come from Paul's first letter to the people of Corinth. I have been studying this book of the Bible a great deal lately, and I have found that it has some of the most valuable insight into how foolish we can be in comparison to the wisdom of the Father. Verse 20 of the first chapter sums it up in four little questions: (NIV) "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" Paul is calling out the supposed "wise men" of Corinth and putting his finger right in their chest. Wise in the world does not make someone wise in Christ. We can have all the street smarts or book knowledge crammed into our puny brains, but what good does that do for God's kingdom? Nothing. A high school dropout is more wise than us if that person is a follower, believer, and all around bearer of Christ's Good News to the world.

What's the big picture here? We can learn the entire Bible by heart and still be like a rock in Christ's eyes. He doesn't want us just memorizing His great word and then spouting it back at people. He wants us applying His great word in the work we do everyday to help bring people into relationship with Him. It is more productive to Christ tfor us to bang our heads against a wall then to just spout off what we learned from the Bible to non-believers. When we can show them how God intended His insight (Word) to apply to their lives, God's wisdom will then shine through. Make no mistake, it is not our wisdom that speaks when we talk about Him.

Searching for wisdom well above my pay grade,
Jesus Freak Out!

Inspirational Quote for Today

Here is just a little pick-me-up for today. This will be short and sweet.

"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge," (Thomas Carlyle) and I will add, "the key to all success, and the path to healthy relationships."

Trying to change the rock in my chest,
Jesus Freak Out!