Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I am so broken right now. I don't even know where to begin.
I have attended 2 seminar type thingies in the past couple months and I have felt the Holy Spirit move in my heart, in my way of thinking, and in stirring my soul. I have to say that I am done with the way that "church" is usually carried out. Done.
I am broken because I realize that over the last century we have categorized, organized, programmed, and ultimately cheapened what the true Church is supposed to be. In doing so we have robbed people of a chance to know Jesus fully, and have created a culture of unbelief in the Gospel. I have been both a victim of this and an instigator.
I grew up hearing about all the behavior change I needed to do to please God, and how my life didn't look like it was "supposed" to as a Christian. I never really understood what the church leaders were talking about other than that what I was doing "wrong" (sin) didn't make God happy. I was a young man that made a lot of mistakes, so of course I figured (and was told) that I needed to change the way I acted. I needed to be better, nicer, more holy, quit doing this and that, and now..... now my heart is broken. Was there ANY truth to it? Yeah, there was some truth, but it was never presented to me correctly.
I was told that Jesus died to take away my sins, but I was never told that His work on the cross was sufficient in every way. Nobody really ever told me that Jesus paid it all and that when I stood before Jesus at judgment God the Father WOULD, in fact, see my sin, but that it would be on Jesus and not me. All that was preached to me was what I could do to be in a better standing with Jesus, not that there was nothing I could do to "earn" salvation.
Why didn't someone tell me early on that Jesus loves me no matter what I do, and that He is NOT disappointed in me when I sin. What Jesus does when I sin is says, "Don't worry Jim, I got this one." And you know what? He does it EVERY time. Every stinkin' time he loves me, and that will never change. Why didn't someone tell me that?
For a HUGE part of my life (and even still) I struggled with things such as greed and lust, and I would beat myself up over these things after I stumbled and stumbled and stumbled and stumb.... Why didn't someone tell me about the freedom that believing in Jesus brings?!? Why is it that when I kept beating myself up someone didn't tell me about my unbelief in the completeness and sufficiency in the Gospel?? I realize now that the reason I kept (keep) struggling in certain areas in my Christian walk is not because of my iniquity, but because of my inability to claim the Truth that Jesus is bigger than anything. It is unbelief that Jesus paid it ALL. It's me still thinking that I can "do better" or "do something" to earn Jesus and make Him happy with me.
The Truth is that Jesus already is happy with me.
The Truth is that Jesus already has paid my debt.
The Truth is that Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection was sufficient to conquer sin & death.
The Truth is that Jesus stands before God as my intermediary.
The Truth is that my righteousness is not my own, but it is Jesus in me that enables me to be counted as righteous before God.
The Truth is that all the fear, doubt, timidity, weakness, anxiety, worry, hurt and stress I have is a result of my unbelief in the power of Christ and the Gospel.
So, my heart is broken because I know that I, along with the traditional "church", have also fostered this false gospel of self-atonement and self-reliance. So I am taking this opportunity to reclaim God's Truth in my life; that God has already done it all; that Jesus' work on the cross was and is sufficient. From here on out I plan to live in the Truth of the Gospel as God's adopted child whose righteousness is not found on my own merit, but in the merit of the work of Jesus. My response is thankfulness and worship.
I am also inviting YOU to come with me. I know that Jesus' work on the cross has already covered my/our sin against His people. Much of what we do week in and week out needs to be redeemed, especially the way "church" is done on Sunday rather than through our every day living. Let's get to living normal life with Gospel intentionality. It's time to get to work. Let's not prepare the way of the church program but prepare the way of our coming Lord!

Is It Really "Love"??

There’s a popular notion that has crept into our way of thinking over the past... well, since the beginning of human relationships. The issue at hand, though, is that we are glorifying this cultural mindset more than we ever have before. The issue I’m talking about is how we view love.
Let’s start by taking into account what so many of our musicians and artists are saying every day about how our culture views love, because, let’s face it, they represent our thought patterns and lead us into a specific line of thinking. Love through the years has certainly changed its tune in America over the past 60 years or so. Think back to some of the songs that have defined American culture over that time. In the 1950’s America had a “love” affair with Rock music, which centered around having a good time, hanging out with friends, and objectifying “love” to make it something that is achieved. Top 5 songs in the 50’s: Johnny B. Goode, Jailhouse Rock, Rock Around the Clock, Tutti-Frutti, Whole Lat of Shakin’ Going On. In the 1960’s we saw songs like Respect, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. We start to see a shift in the objectification of love to the searching of the feeling of love. By the 1970’s we started to see the message (apart from disco & drugs influencing everything) “love can be tough but we can get through it together” coupled with “do what feels good” take hold in the mindset of American music. Songs like Stayin’ Alive, Let It Be, More Than A Feeling, and I Will Survive defined much of the 70’s. In the 80’s & 90’s we start to see this idea of “love is an emotion” continue on, but it also began to transform into a sex driven “love” with songs like Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Like A Virgin, I Will Always Love You, I Want It That Way, and ...Baby One More Time. And in the 2000’s, well, let’s just say the love = sex/emotion is all you hear on the popular music stations. Songs like I’m A Slave For You, Promiscuous, & My Love hang entirely on presenting love as an emotion (that usually translates to sex).
What does all this have to do with anything? Well, it seems that we are confused as to what love really is! What is love then? I’d like to enter into the discussion as this point that love is NOT an emotion or a feeling (*sarcasm*) like we so often use it in every day speaking.
A good friend of mine spoke an amazing truth into my life when she made the statement “Love is a choice.” I had never thought of it that way before. At first I was a little appalled that she should say that, but then I really started to chew on that. Okay, if that’s true, then what does that look like? I figured a good place to start was looking at the example of love that we should all strive to follow... God & His Word.
If love isn’t an emotion but a choice, what does the Bible have to say about that? I began looking at the instances where God shows His love for us and I began to see a trend forming. I saw that love has absolutely nothing to do with the recipient, but it has everything to do with the giver! Think about it... can we earn God’s love, or does He freely give it to us? I began to see what love truly is, and it’s beautiful!
Enter LOVE. Love IS, in fact, a choice that is made by the giver. It is not a feeling or emotion. Feelings and emotions can come along with love, but in and of itself love is a decision. Does this cheapen love? No... not all all. In fact, it makes it so much more beautiful! God loved us while we were still sinners (and sinning). We were doing everything He hates, yet He still chose to love us and even kill Jesus for us that He could rise again and conquer those very same sins (sin = death). So, God loves us, but I’m sure it doesn’t make Him happy when we sin. The Word tell us our sin grieves God’s heart, but He still loves us! This is a love that is not happy feel-good fluffy garbage (like we want to think of love as), but it’s a love that endures.
If our spouse does something that makes us angry we must choose to love him or her. Naturally we recoil from this thought because it may not make us “feel good” to love him/her at that moment, but this is what love truly is. This is why when someone comes to me and says, “I just don’t love him/her anymore” I tell them that they just made an incredibly true statement. Then I tell them, “You’re right. You have chosen to no longer love that person anymore.” There is almost always a rebuff immediately because how dare I suggest that they may be at fault. “I just don’t have the same feelings for her anymore” or “He just doesn’t make me happy anymore” are statements indicative of a heart condition. It’s a heart condition that is filled with pride and is devastating to any relationship.
I once read this sentence and it made a huge impact on me, “If you can’t choose to love one spouse, then you will never be able to love another.” This is so true! Another quote that is specifically geared toward men is, “A man who says ‘I’ve never loved you’ is essentially a man who is saying essentially this: ‘I’ve never acted like a Christian.’”
We have cheapened the word “love” to include any feelgoodery type of mindset. This must change. I challenge you to be VERY CAUTIOUS in the way you use the word “love” as it’s of upmost importance to our understand of what love really is! To use it correctly you might always think of it like this: I choose to love you.

Enough said......

Hey everyone... Just a quick note about holding fast to belief in Jesus as the only way to God. I saw this post on Mark Driscoll's profile and thought it was worthy of posting in a sustaining fashion, thus prompting me to write this as a "note" and not just a status update. Anyhoo, I told you it was short, and it is, so here you go:

Atheist Christopher Hitchens debating a Unitarian minister, “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”