Friday, January 15, 2010

theSHIFTing

Matthew 11, Psalm 9 thru 12, Genesis 7 thru 12

     This is my first blog mentioning theSHIFT, which is the whole reason I started this blog anyway. Last night was theFirst step in Pursuit, which is the Community Group I'm leading. theGroup is unique in that we're tackling a really strong subject that is a little over my head. The first study was about theChase. We basically discussed that in our "pursuit" of God we bump in to this dilemma of realizing that it's us that is actually being pursued. The discussion (with 14 people) was amazingly engaging for the first night, so much so that some of my points were unnecassary or overlooked but I wanted to go over them in detail here.

  •     First it's important to note that the dynamic of theChase is entirely applicable to our whole journey with God in Christ. When we take steps toward Him in anything, bible reading, fellowship, devotion, etc.; we must realize (as Paul does) that in us is very little good in and of itself, and the real miracle of Christ in us is that He is the God magnet that pulls us back to our creator.Think about that it's completely relieving to know that it no longer matters that i "work" to impress God but instead we, through the Spirit, "live" for Him. (Galations 2:19-21)    
19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
     Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
  •      Another interesting part of theChase is the way it affects us. If we realize that it truly is the God of reality that is chasing us it gives us this crazy ability to trust that we're going to be okay. We won't be without trouble, but we should be without fear.
  •      If He is pursuing us there is a likelihood that we're playing this peculiar game of Hide & Seek with Him.  We hide behind a lot of things, (we had good teachers, Gen. 1-3) fear of man, trying to impress people, "religious" duties, unworthiness, the list goes way on. he is still seeking us out, and it is only when we expose ourselves and come out in the open "neked and ashamed" that He can start the mending process, if we refuse to do this the consequence may be that we never become fully capable of relationship and that's a sad thing.

- anyway thos are some main points i may have glazed over last night, stay tuned for next weeks update, this whole thing is completely crazy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prayer. . .



John 20-21 // Joel 3 // Mathew 1-9

     There has been a deep burning desire (a new thing in my heart) for prayer.  I'm going through a lot of things in my life right now, unsure of numerous circumstances in and outside of my control.  But this desire is deeper than that.

     When I was young we had prayer meeting every Monday night.  We would show up (bare in mind I was 14 years old at this time) and pray.  These were prayer warriors.  My pastor, the worship leader, several other servants, and NO youth (if they did come they hung out in the foyer until their parents were finished).  I never had this mysterious desire to pray that everyone talks about, but I was taught the value and principle, so I did it anyway (unintentionally learning how to pray as worship*).

     Now, in my older life, with: more responsibilities, higher stakes, more failures [fewer successes], and the looming threat of ineffectiveness, I long for those days.  The feeling comes suddenly and I find myself questioning Eli asking whether next time I should say "Speak Lord, for your servant hears" (1 Sammy 3:11).

     I had a conversation with Curtis Wilson where the man of God asked me "What is prayer, is it something more than talking to God?"  The answer (which I couldn't come up with until several hours later) is unequivocally No.  Talking to God is what everyone does.  Atheists do it, Buddhists and Pagans do it. The writer of Job says even the devil does it.  I can easily conclude that Christians talking to God is a rather simplistic thing lacking power if not purpose. If we were honest with ourselves we would see that this low-level spiritual activity of "talking to God" is (other than shear acknowledgement) completely self motivated.

     The answer is in Samuel.  It says that Sammy ministered to the Lord day and night.  To minister, in the literal sense, meaning "to give".  Prayer is Giving (worship, meditation, bible reading, journaling; spiritual disciplines in general are giving). If something isn't taken out of us in these practices then we are fooling ourselves into a false sense of accomplishment**.  I'm not saying that you must exhaust yourself in prayer [although . . .?], nor do I believe talking to God as a negative thing, I do it all the time, but I can't settle for the good when I'm called to greatness.  When Paul says he prays without ceasing, I think he's paralleling his theme of pouring his life out as a drink offering.

     I remember praying until I couldn't pray anymore.  Can I challenge myself to commit to that kind of prayer again? Not to bring back some old glory but to seek the new one.  If I know His strength overshadows my weakness, my lack can be swallowed up in power.  This is a fight with my self; my relationship wants me to talk to God, of course this pleases my flesh (even my conscience), making God more like me and demanding little in the vein of sacrifice.  In contrast to "giving in prayer" where my spirit man is forced to rise up and endure the heavy weight of deep, insightful, and purposeful prayer, along with the weakness of my faith to give in to other pursuits.  Hence "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much", where do you think the "fervent" part comes in?

* There is something to be said about prayer as worship as well, but not now.

** That's not to say that we don't also receive something in these practices, but as the principle stands, power is in the giving, not the taking.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

In Preparation

so here are some rudementary things I say all the stinkin time. it helps to get this stuff out of the way before you get to know me.

the most valuable thing I have to offer is this truth – Those who endure to the end, so shall the same be saved. –not the smartest, not the most spiritually adept, not the one who sees miracles or talks to angels, not even the one who knows the bible front to back, only those that endure.


Hurt is the highest place.


God's way is perfect, not fun, not secure, not even good sometimes, but perfect.


brokenness, that's my thing.


Longsuffering is about suffering for a long time.


A life of sacrifice, of giving and not taking.


God creates in us, through pain, triumph, and the journey, this beautiful kind of broken.


Be a minimalist, but not too much.


He builds from the bottom up not the top down, it actually makes sense.


We are building Community.


CS Lewis says ". . ."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Spiritual Discipline

I know you guys completely expect this from me but. . .
. . . the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.
We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. …
When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is
hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder – in fact, it is impossible.”
 Thanks Clive.

In this "new" year I hope we are seeking this place, not power, or position, or even ministry for that matter, but to truly be waking up seeking the will of the Father, practicing His presence and desiring His communion. I don't make resolutions but I'm committing myself to persevere in this area of my life, will you join me in seeking His will for the day before the other desires of life start crowding everything that matters (from the largest to the smallest piece) out.

Updates by Email