Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Devils in the Details . . . in general

let's all be honest for a second.

Love is the thing that motivates the heart of God toward us. that love is executed through us as the church. When mistakes are made, in light of this truth, the proper way to handle it is in love. When we fall God responds in love, when other's don't live up to our (unfair) expectations, love will change the entire dynamic.
Any other motivation is a slap in the grace of God. (that includes getting your opinion heard and being right) Jesus was right but He didn't allow that to get in the way of redemption. He denied His "rights" to appeal, His "rights" to be heard, His "right" to be respected. All to lift others up.

If that attribute is being reflected in your life, consider yourself the 10% of the church that get's it.

these and other truths brought to you by. . . the Bible, now in Technicolor!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Missional Schmishinal. . .

Lots of stuff to process today, I’m currently wrapping my head around (sounds better than “reading”, huh) Alan Hirsch and the Brother’s Ferguson. Of course, the overall modernist approach to ministry is the missional model, but how in the world do we bring this idea to pass in our time? It’s difficult to place a model that works, especially in the more “doctrinated” circles that exist. So what are we to do? My first response is, “Start asking the questions.” Now is literally the time to put ourselves to the test. Are we seeing any redemptive change in society? Put another way: Is the power of redemption impacting us, those around us, and the world we interact with?

Now that’s where we start, here are some thoughts that are helping me build a framework (mindset) toward action.

-Small group –What’s the point? Jesus modeled building, pouring into, doing life with (whatever else ya wanna call it), 12 guys (there were others but they were all an extension of this initial troupe). Are we finding like minded, appropriate to our station, “others” to grow with? Or are we just going through the motions of intimacy with none of the investment, pain, and true joy of intimacy

-The New Testament does not solidify or ordain an official “form” of church; allowing Christianity to integration into all levels of society and become diverse enough to build a host of traditions without apostasy or ridicule. This may mean that what works for some will not work for all, and what works for most shouldn’t be pushed to all.I became all things, to all men, that I might save some.”.

-I’m not looking/begging/trying/working/teaching for church growth (if that’s all I wanted there are proven models to get there). No, on the contrary (anti-growth), we are investing in impact. Impact in my personal life, impact in our faith communities, and impact in the social structure. That’s where the gospel matters, that’s where God wants to bring His power to save.
-There will be a point when we have to take a side between two subtly opposing mentalities that garner two opposing approaches and results.
(1)    I must do the best I can in spite of the evil that surrounds me and hopefully God can start to bring change and “fix” the problems here.
(2)    God placed me here with intent and purpose, orchestrated the circumstances and needs around me in such a way that would allow His glory and love to be fully given to the redemptive purposes of Jesus Christ.

I’m aware that in this context, with these words, it’s easy to pick which one we should believe, but just below the surface is the subtlety that so easily lulls us into inaction and “church routine. One is a stance that says “there isn’t much we can do”; the other says “only we can do it”!

There is more, so much more. . . 

Monday, May 16, 2011

You. . .

This is dedicated to C.H. Banks, a poet.

Louder than my voice, You have spoken in me
Deeper than my longing, You have sprung eternal
Beyond my foresight, You are prophesying to me
After all my reason, You are unimaginable (and speaking unimaginable things)

Before my expectation, You've exceeded what is conceivable
In the most secret place, You consume me completely
And deep calls out to deep

Above a kingdom's reach, Your reign overcomes
Beneath the meaning of existence, Your laws dictate reality
At the moment of seeking, You have sought and found
Greater than my strength, You uphold the infinite (and I within it more carefully)

In the fulfillment of time, You are waiting

With the wisdom of the ages, Your ways are everlasting
And deep calls out to deep, whispering your fullness:

"If there is faith, You are believed."
"If there is hope, You are looked upon."
"If there is love, You are reflected."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Regenerate Soul. . . [ Conviction ]

I wanted to (briefly) touch on some key concepts I believe are vital to an authentic growing relationship in Christ. These are not foundational truths, nor are they doctrinal; they are merely noticeable differences between salvation and regeneration.  There are those of us who do not feel specifically challenged with day to day level of gospel-centric teaching in our lives; these concepts are for us to wrestle through. Take it at face value for what it’s worth (or not).

I’ll Tag these regenerate so the ongoing posts can be easily tracked.

#13: Convictional Repentance-
-          Our repentance must always be a response to the burden He brings, no man can give you conviction it comes in self-examination, human’s can create shame or guilt in you, but only the Voice can bring true conviction.

-          The Holy Spirit is grieved by all things that separate you and God. These things are not always sin; they are often good things competing with our devotional life toward Him and the relationship He draws us to.

-          This call to deeper fellowship w/ the Holy Spirit is dependent on His leading. Others facilitate this level of repentance by encouraging our relationship alone, our piety and our personal devotion should not come into play until we hear the Voice of God. In the community Jesus is trying to build no one gets “called out”, but everyone gets “called”.

o   There are things we are all called to and other things that are specific. Some are Samson, some Job, some are John, some Paul, most are Ananias, few are David, but all are called. Finding the difference is the key to personal devotion and patience with others.
That wasn’t so bad, I’m really looking forward to rolling these out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just Enough is Not Enough. . .

Are we ready for this. . . it's been sitting on the back-burner for  little too long:

it's not enough that we have passion, passion fades;
it's not enough that we give; we haven't even struggled unto death yet.
it's not enough that we love and live; we must be a people that are more than called, more than intercessors, more than conquerers;

He is seeking us out, pursuing our inner lives. If we are going to find Him at work in this day we must understand this principle:

"We are the vessels of the Living GOD, and His desire is to pour His Love, His Passion, His power into our lives; not so we can say "Gee He sure is a good God" but more so that the overwhelming, yolk-destroying, bondage breaking, truth revealingSpirit of the Living God can have what He wants: which is the salvation of the lost, the return of the prodigals, the restoration of all broken things."
The passion that is mustered up in us at retreats or annual conferences or even Sunday morning, while it may be genuine, is still mostly us. When will we see that we must decrease so that He can increase. He doesn't want you to "get involved" in the movement; He wants to be the movement, the revolution, and for the most part He wants us to open our lives up and let Him pour more in. We run out of steam (often on the last lap) but His power not only sustains, like the old evangelists used to say, "He quickens us". (leonard ravenhill, get on it people) The passion that comes from God can't be found in expository teaching (you know that's what i'm into) it can't be paid for at "Passion International's Give Away the Spirit Rally Coming Fall 2011" (I know, right?). He must be sought day and night, on our knees and if you're already on knees then on our faces, humbling ourselves, emptying it all out, letting go of the guilt and agendas of men, embracing what Job said in the end "i was talking about things i knew nothing about, things far too full of wonder for me." The LORD desires to surround us with wonder that is too much for us to accomplish. Bigger than us is what He wants to reveal to the nations. He is bigger than our strategies/programs, our ideas, our fears, and our ambitions. There is so much more, He is so much more. . .

Monday, May 9, 2011

We Grow, We Regress. . .

So today I blog my sermon notes, which is different for me cause my filter during church is usually absorbing stuff from the Holy Spirit “for me”.  But Last week’s sermon from Pastor Randy was phenomenal, and deserves an overview.

This is a powerful statement: (btw, I love the idea that the word “powerful” evokes, it literally means full of power, flippin genious)
                “Once you stop listening to people, it’s only a matter of time before you stop listening to God”
There is a slippery slope we risk in closing off others, God desires us to be open, yeah we’re gonna get hurt, but more importantly we’ll be available when the Holy Spirit brings those who truly need us.Here’s the dandy, that’s not even the point of the message; that was an aside (crazy right?)

There are four stages that Christians grow through, the trick is to continue growing through them and not to get stuck without maturing.

These four stages are: Give Me, Use Me, Search Me, and Take Me.

Give Me –
-          A selfish motive for self preservation
-     This stage, while a necessary starting point, can be a trap
-          Involves the immature state of desiring and seeking all rights perceivably owed to the receiver

Use Me –
-          A selfish motive for self promotion
-          This place helps us understand the work involved in growing while babying us with praise and notoriety
-          Moves us into a phase where being noticed is as important as the work itself. In the faith it’s expecting promotion along with performance. Paul teaches that we move on beyond our glories and our failures into what God wants to do right now. Jesus teaches that the full reward for our good work is experienced in praise, if we are praised by men we are paid in full, if we go unnoticed and God gets the credit He repays us Himself. (this isn’t an injunction against being noticed but instead a surety that being noticed isn’t something worth getting hung up on)
-          Moving beyond this point requires great sacrifice and self denial infringing on our “rights”. This death-to-self is violent, the old-man will not go silently, he is a fighter (his life is at stake)
-          God is overly-concerned with our character and inconsiderate of our comfort (he will do whatever it takes to build you, His desire is a passionate and genuine relationship)
o   You don’t get passionate by passivity
o   You don’t get genuine by going the easy way

Search me –
-          The first step into a selfless motive of self-examination
-          Growing up involves seeking God’s opinion about us and setting our won opinion aside. Self examination is necessary but ultimately untrustworthy (Psalm 139:23,24) this level of maturity leads to the crucifixion of our pride, and a continual place of Brokenness where we share in Christ’s glory and suffering (Romans 8)
-          True repentance is born in this stage
-          Blame will not work here, blame will hinder [bring to a stop!] the process God is bringing me through

Take Me –
-          Loss-of-self motive that affirms God’s sanctification process in us
-          A secret is found in having the knowledge and right of royalty and still taking on the place of a servant. Do not lift me up, give me the strength to lift others.
-          The complete abdication of self is a life altering state of awareness
-          At this place God becomes more than a force to be “reckoned” with, and steps into the place of Master.
-          Another secret (I know I need to stop calling them secrets, I’m working on it) the advance of ministry (my ministry) begins in this place. No matter the age or level of training, our submittal in this phase automatically brings us the weight of ministry

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