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Jesuslike

The only prophetic voice that spoke on Golgotha was from the middle cross. The man on the left cross-needed the man on the middle, and the man on the right cross-needed the man on the middle also.

The only redemptive work taking place that day was from the man in the middle. He was 100% man and 100% God. God in the middle was showing the world the only way to eternal life. Choosing the man in the middle makes you the only alternative society that has the right answer.

In a world of ugly, beauty can only be seen through the lens of the cross and what Jesus accomplished by willfully submitting to His Father’s will. Only by following the suffering of the cross can we live as sheep among the wolves of the left and right.

The only thing that will ever change the world is when His followers simply follow Him. When we choose the left we are not choosing Jesus. When we choose the right we are not choosing Jesus. Only when we choose the man in the middle do we choose the path that leads to Heaven and Earth coming together.

The cross of Christ takes away resentment and fills our hearts with hope. Down through the centuries, resentment and power have crucified many. However, resentment and power met its match the day it confronted Jesus.   Resentment and power  was confronted by love and love won forever!

Jesus took the dreadfulness and ugliness of a Roman cross and painted it with the beauty of God’s own blood so that humanity could be free from evil forever.  Freedom comes when you choose the man in the middle. Once we choose the man in the middle, we are called to a different way of living. We are no long left or right. We are now the middle. As the writer Brian Zahnd says, “We are to model what it means to be Christ-like in a Caesar-like world.”

Along with Paul, we cry out, “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. (Gal 2:20)

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The restoration of our true humanity began at the cross and resurrection and will be completed at the second coming of Christ. The first step of the journey of restoration is to give your self in complete dependence to God who is the shaper of the clay. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.”

The resurrection of Christ gives to us the gift of being valuable signpost pointing to the one true way. By surrendering to Christ working through us, we are helping to restore the world and point others to the only hope humanity has. We are called to be a part of building for God’s kingdom.

We are being shaped by Christ, and His Spirit has filled us to  shape the world around us. We are called to dependency on Him in order to show the world His glories power working through weakness. Our very lives announce redemption is possible through Christ alone.

Salvation is at work in us. We are rescued, and we are being rescued in order to open the eyes of the blind.  We are vessels God finds joy in working through. Yes, He works in us and even for us, but the work through us is of greater value to a lost and dying world.

As Christ followers, we are pictures to the world of God’s kingdom that is now and not fully yet. In the words of N.T. Wright, “Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”

As you walk through you day, remind yourself again and again that God is walking through you for the sake of others. It will change the way you evaluate your day. I promise.

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I’m not a big fan of cursing the darkness. As a Christ follower,  we should be primarily concerned with being salt and light. While it’s true, the Bible calls us to reprove the works of darkness, reproving darkness and cursing the darkness are two different approaches entirely.

Cursing the darkness is throwing condemnation at those who are outside of Christ, while reproving darkness is shining our light as to awaken the sinner from their sleep. The first is done in the same spirit Jesus rebuke James and John for when they wanted to call fire down on those who rejected Christ. (See Luke 9:54)

The latter is done in the Spirit of love that understands that those outside of Christ are under condemnation already, and we have no need to throw more their way. (See John 3:18) If we are to win the world to Christ, we must do so in the greatest power know to man, which is the love of God.

Hate never reached or rescued anyone, but love has proved time and time again to rescue the most hardened heart. Jesus died to prove love real. We are called to do more than talk about grace; we are called to demonstrate grace to everyone. Yes, Even the ungrateful and evil. (See Luke 6:35)

In Ephesians 5,  we are called to take no part in unfruitful works of darkness. We are told to expose them. We expose them by  letting our light shine, and be visible, not by trying to curse the darkness and win a religious argument. When we love like Christ, His light shines and awakens the sleeper from darkness to light.

Many Christ followers need to return to trusting in the love of God to win the lost. We need to  stop trying to win them by persuasive arguments of men, arguments of condemnation.

Allow me to say it again, Hate never reached or rescued anyone, but love has proved time and time again to rescue the most hardened heart.

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God has no rival when it comes to His lavish kindness to the ungrateful and wicked. In our own power,  we are not capable of loving the way He loves. He is love. He is Kindness. We are but mere reflections that only get it right when we allow Him to love through us those that position themselves as unlovable, unreachable, ungrateful and wicked.

We can’t love our enemies without submitting to the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of us. Yes,  you will be hurt loving like God but remaining gracefully vulnerable after being burnt time and time again is a bi-product of God’s love through you.

We are called to observable and working love for our enemies. The love that Jesus wants to operate through our lives is not abstract. It’s not a concept hidden in the treasure chest of your mind as just another hopeful idea. His love demonstrates itself by radical counter-culture actions.

The supreme absolution of all is to convert an enemy into a friend of God through the God pattern of kingdom love. When you love like God you’re not losing your mind; you’re imitating His heart and causing God’s kingdom to break into the world.

Matthew 5: 43-45
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

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Authentic worship shapes the Christ follower into God’s image. Whereas; counterfeit worship run the extreme risk of shaping God into our preferred image.  We are called to live authentic lives of worship that is free from the smell of the counterfeit worship of religious array.  For His glory; for our good, and the hope of others, we must live authentic lives of worship before the world.

It’s easy to have a form of godliness; but a form of godliness will never awaken the world from its zombie like apathy.  Authentic lives of worship shows  the image of God in a world that desperately wants their own way instead of wanting and embracing what they truly need.  As Christ followers, we are called to awaken the dead by living and giving them the true life of Christ.

We awaken the dead when we turn the other cheek. We awaken the dead when we move beyond being regularly offended at everything the world does and simply reflex God regardless. We awaken the dead when we feed the hungry, cloth the naked, give water to the thirsty, love the unlovable, visit the sick, take in the stranger, and go to them which are in prison.

We are called to help people see God. However, in order for us to help people see God we must not live lives that show  the idolatry of shaping God into our own images. There must be a daily death of self and a daily obeying of entering the harvest field of the walking dead.

Humanity that has long suffered in darkness calls to us to be awakened. Light has come into the world by Jesus Christ and His light is the only light that defeats darkness and awakens the sinner.  We must show them Jesus and not our religious routes. Jesus is the only way. We must show them Him. In John 14:9 Jesus proclaimed the amazing by saying, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

Let’s show them the Father! Let’s awaken the world from their sleep! Let’s show them the redeemer and lover of their souls. It’s our call; it’s our duty; it’s our grand privilege, and it can’t be done with religion.

The awakening can only happen when we start showing the world the true Jesus that is beyond the religious version that idolatry tries to shape. There is an echo from the future calling to us, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Let’s answer that call!

Let’s go awaken the dead!

Whisper

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now. Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here. Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.” A. W. Tozer

“Anything that God has ever done, He can do now.”

That’s correct. You serve a ‘now’ God.  God can move in your life at this present time or moment. Take a breath and then Whisper to your soul, “God is closer than the air I just breathed.” I challenge you today to be mindful of Gods presence in your life. He doesn’t just drop in for a visit. God lives inside of you if you are a Christ follower. You are submerged in the unconditional perfect love of the God of the ‘now.’ The future can’t be experienced, and the past is consumed in the annuals of time.  You only have this moment and God has you in this moment. Whisper to your soul, The ‘now’ God is completely loving me right now!

“Anything that God has done anywhere else, He can do here.”

The scriptures declare that God is the great “I Am.” You don’t have to  look back at a past event God has performed for His glory and wonder if He can do a great miracle where you are in the present. If God can do a miracle anywhere, He can do it where you are.  He is not the “I was” or the “I might be.”  He is the “I Am.” Whisper to your soul, “God is here.”

“Anything that God has done for anyone else, He can do for you.”

You are His child. He loves and cares for you. Be awake to what he wants to do for you in order to bring Him glory. Be awake to the fact that it’s not about you in the first place. Life is about bringing God glory. You have been chosen to bring Him glory, and therefore, He will do for you in order to make much of Him. You are a branch attached to Jesus, the source of life. He is the vine, and we are just branches that produce fruit for His glory. Whisper to your soul, “He will do for me and through me what best brings Him glory.”

May this day be the great day you have hoped for! Whisper to your soul, “Let it be.”

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Is it possible for your life to be a prophetic voice to the world? Can your life and mine as Christ followers be lived in such a way that our everyday life can describe and predict what will happen in the future? I believe the answer is an indisputable, “yes.”

The moment you trust Jesus as Lord, a work of God begins in your whole life. God’s goal is to finish what He has started in your life. You have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus, and you have the power of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you.

To put it in very simple terms, you are being shaped by God’s will and purpose. Every act of obedience He calls you to obey is shaping you more and more into His image. You are being shaped in the now from the viewpoint of His revealed end of Revelation 21:1-5.

As Christ followers, we are to embrace God’s end story reality and set our life in the full direction of that goal. We exercise faithfully our living faith in the now, how it will one day fully be when heaven and earth come together once and for all.

There are many examples that do well to illustrate this profound and exciting truth. I will share just one. Let’s say you wanted your body to look a certain way. You would first envision a preferred future for your body to look like, and then you would begin working daily toward that preferred shape by exercising and adjusting your eating habits to attain your goal.

This same is true with your kingdom life and this world. When we come to understand and live the virtues of the future kingdom we are announcing with a prophetic voice that Jesus is the one true Lord. When we live God’s future now, we show in advance His future will one day be a present reality for eternity.

In God’s future,  there is no more crying, pain or death. You can be assured there are no more injustices. All things will be made new, and all the old will have passed away.  I love Matthew 25 where Jesus says, for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

When we give someone that is hungry something to eat, we are saying to him or her, “One day you will never hunger again.” When we give to someone who is thirsty a cool drink of water, we are saying to him or her, “One day you will never thirsty again.” The same is true with the rest of God’s kingdom works. In each act of kindness done in the name of Jesus, we are a prophetic voice shaping the world for His glory.

Is it possible for your life to be a prophetic voice to the world? I believe the answer is an indisputable, “yes.”

YouAreTheTemple

You are a meeting place of heaven and earth if the Spirit of God lives inside of you. You are God’s temple. Everywhere you go your create a sacred space of His presence. Each of us stands individually, and yet at the same time, we don’t stand alone but rather we stand corporately as the body of Christ, the dwelling place of God Himself.

In this broken world, we stand as witnesses of His glory . In this broken world, we stand as a testimony in advance that the world is indeed being healed and will one day fully be so. Brian Zahnd once wrote, “Christianity as the ongoing expression of the Jesus story lived out in the lives of individuals and in the heart of society is a beauty that can redeem the world.”

Because we worship Him with all of our lives we take on something of the character of Christ who we worship and when the world sees that beauty, they want to belong to it. It is our call, and our duty to help the world to see and recognize its true creator that lives inside of His followers by obeying Him to love our enemies and standing up for justice.

From Genesis forward, God has dedicated Himself to working through His creation of humanity. We are His image-bearing human beings that are called to shine as light in the darkness. We have failed Him often, but yet He loves us and seeks to bring Himself glory through our lives. He plans to set all things right in the end and still yet He uses our lives to push everything toward that day of final redemption. We truly are a meeting place of heaven and earth for an unbelieving world to witness because Christ is living in us.

We serve the rescuer of the world and to Him alone belongs all the glory. We exist to worship God and to labor for His kingdom that will never be shaken. With knowledge of this magnitude, we can live with an abundant song of joy and victory in our hearts right now. As one writer has so eloquently put it, “It is about practicing, in the present, the tunes we shall sing in God’s new world.”

God is at work in you today. Walk meek and rejoice that He desire to use you to bring Him glory in the world.

Overlooked No More!

April 26, 2013 — 2 Comments

Jesus And Woman At Well1

Have you ever felt overlooked? Have you ever been overlooked? The answer to both questions are probably a resounding, “Yes.’ In John Chapter 4, Jesus meets a woman at the well and takes away her feeling of being overlooked.

She wasn’t overlooked because she didn’t have others around her; she was surround by people in her village, but she still felt alone. It’s been said, “Being lonely isn’t having no one around you, it’s the feeling that there is no one around you who cares.

She was undergoing feelings of being unwanted; which is poverty unto itself. The women of the town was ostracizing her. The tale-tale sign was the time of the day that she went to draw water from the well.

Sure, she had some bad choices happening in her life, but don’t we all? We find out soon enough that she had experienced 5 husbands in her life, and the one she was living with at the moment wasn’t her husband. Jesus said to her, “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband…” Her choices in life, right or wrong (I think wrong) caused her to be overlooked.

However, the great news was God hadn’t overlooked her. In fact, He was led of prayer to go to the very spot she was going to be that day. Her life was about to intersect with the one who never overlooks anyone.

The day before life was dark and depressing. This day, the day she met Christ, changed her forever. Jesus shared with her about the true water of life that would transform her. Jesus didn’t overlook her but gave her life and true love. He rescued her.

She now belonged to someone greater than herself. She would soon come to understand; as it has been said, “Who you are is rooted in whose you are.’ She could now drop all the unnecessary baggage in her life. She was now under the power of Jesus’ watchful eye.

It was now impossible for her to ever be truly overlooked again. God is always mindful of you, therefore, you can’t be overlooked with Him in your life.

When it seems you are being overlooked; instead of getting down about it, cheer up! You just might be getting ready to run into Jesus and have a day changing (life changing) event.

 

MountDiabloEmilieHike

You were not meant to be alone and isolated from people. You were never meant to say, “All I need is God and no one else.” God created us for fellowship with Him and fellowship with others. It’s God’s perfect plan.

I once had a friend who began to pull away from the body of Christ. He became disenfranchised for many reasons and finally allowed things to pull him away from those that loved him. He didn’t leave God, but he did say over and over to others, and me “All I need is God and no one else.”

Somehow, he had bought into the lie that he could do it with just God. By cutting off the flesh of humanity, he thought his life would be richer and fuller. Over the next several months,  he systematically cut off his best friends also. I was among that number, and it hurt and grieved me horribly.

He would touch base with me by phone from time to time, but it was shallow, and I could hear in his voice that he was slipping over the edge. The fellowship of the body of Christ had been traded in and replaced with a pseudo kind of Christian fellowship that consisted of just him and God.

It sounds good on the surface to say, “All I need is God and no one else,” but the fact of the matter it’s impossible to have true biblical fellowship cut off from the body. You and I were designed to have a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with each other.

My friend came up with a thought in isolation away from the body because he said he heard the voice of God tell him to do something. He didn’t run the voice through scripture to see if it contradicted anything and he didn’t run the voice by any believers for accountability. He simply “heard a voice,” and obeyed the voice.

The story is long;  therefore I will make it short and more bullet point for your reading.

  • He said he heard God tell him to drive out to the Mt. Diablo and climb to the top to be alone with him for many days. (Temperatures can reach high 90’s and above)
  • He was told to tell no one and to take only water
  • He drove his truck to the park and parked it at the bottom of the mountain.
  • He took his keys and threw them into a pond and threw his cell phone into the pond also.
  • He hiked up the mountain and found a place to worship and talk with God.
  • He used up all his water before reaching the top and over the next few days he dehydrated and began to see things.
  • He saw and heard angles telling him to do things and many other things that would be just too strange to share with you.
  • Finally, with the heat being too much to handle he unclothed himself wholly and lay down to die. That’s correct, he was naked on the mountain.
  • He was found the next morning almost dead. He was hanging on to life by a thread.
  • “All I need is God and no one else,” had taken him to a place of death and not life.

He finally made a full recovery in the hospital. His parents, family and friends were all happy he was alive. I would love to say he fully learned his lesson, but it wasn’t over night. Even after almost dying, he still had a grudge against the body of Christ. Over the years,  he has slowly worked through his issues, and last I heard he was doing well.

Pastor Rick Warren once said, “Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. You can spend a lifetime searching for the perfect church, but you will never find it. You are called to love imperfect sinners, just as God does.”