Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Live By faith

We are to walk by faith. We are to carry out every single aspect of our lives by faith.

Faith must have an object. It has a direction. It is a vector. (A vector in physics is some property that has both magnitude and direction. Speed is a scalar. It has only magnitude. 55 MPH. Velocity is a vector. It has both magnitude and direction. 55 MPH north going toward Boston.) With a direction, something must point the way. Direction is given to men by the Word of God. So, we are to carry out every aspect of our lives according to the promises of God.

We go to work according to the promises of God. We raise our children according to the promises of God. We live with our spouses according to the promises of God. We complete the mission of God − establishing growing, reproducing churches among every people group in the world − according to the promises of God.

What does God promise about His mission:

  • That His message will be proclaimed in all the world.
  • That He will be with His people as the go into the world.
  • That the evil one cannot stop His people.
  • That, as a result, God will claim as His own some from every tribe, nation and tongue.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hearts and the Spirit

The heart controls the person. Everything that he\she does arises from the heart. That's one reason why it is important for God's Spirit to reside in our hearts. He motivates our actions and words. He is the agent of transformation.

If anyone proclaims that Jesus is Lord, he is one of God's children. He is a channel for God's Spirit. Everyone of God's family is a channel for God's Spirit. 

Everyone of God's family has a special spiritual ability. This way everyone of God's children has a place to serve, to contribute, within the family. Everyone of God's family is a servant to God's family. This ability is a manifestation of the Spirit channeling through a person.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Community is important to God. But community is not important to western society. It is a buzzword we pass around. But our lives show that we are lying to ourselves.

There are values and practices that God esteems. We say we esteem them also. . But our lives show that we are lying to ourselves.

  • If we believe in community, why is it so hard to become involved with a small group of people?
  • If we believe that life is really in Jesus, life without Him not only results in eternal condemnation, but is also inherently meaningless, and we are God’s ambassadors, why is it so hard to talk to people about Jesus?
  • If we believe that we need to be “devoted to prayer”, why is it so hard to spend time at it?
  • If we believe that love is the most important work in life, why are we so focused on our own lives, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else?

We all believe that works demonstrate beliefs. What most followers of Jesus seem to believe is life in Jesus is going to weekend meetings, and following a list of rules that defines what is bad and what is good.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Living in the world tends to create a tension. Tension is caused by opposing forces acting on each other. One force is God’s Spirit pushing us to live obediently to his call and lifestyle. Another force is the world spirit pushing us to obey its call and lifestyle.

Human beings do not like to live in a state of tension. They will work to resolve the tension. Usually by yielding to the tension.

The family of God will relieve the tension by immersing themselves in a lifestyle surrounding by the “things of God.” Meetings, concerts, and radio\TV. They fill their time with “approved” spiritual events. As a result, they fail to obey God to engage the world in transformational ways.

Or they yield to the worlds values. They may not outright embrace hedonism, but the they will seek personal peace and prosperity. They engage the world, but not in ways that challenge the need for transformation, for reconciliation with God.

God call us to live within the tension. To live with uncomfortable forces demanding from us. To embrace values and a lifestyle that honor God. To engage with the world in ways that bring the transformational power of Jesus to bear on the world’s issues. To serve it with mercy and generosity. To challenge it will speaking truth, and radical living and loving.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

God's Heart for the Nations

I have been considering for the last couple weeks how to view the average disciple’s responsibility to the world. God calls his children to adopt his heart. We should want what he wants. We should yearn for what he yearns. We should aim for what he aims. Jesus taught his disciples to pray:

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

We call for the realities of God’s kingdom to be imposed on this world. For God to infuse his DNA into the structure of the world, and cell by cell, to transform it.

Modern Jesus-followers has come to picture this as a type of “sharia” being imposed on the land. This seems to me to be a type of religious spirit. Disciples assuming the same mind-set as Islamic radicals. Maybe with a gentler face, but with the same constraints on behavior − rather than an inner transform.

God’s picture is very different in a number of ways. One of his pictures can be described this way:

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne, and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice.

“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”

From the beginning, God’s heart has been for the nations – recreated by a heart transformation. And God’s role for his family has been the same, whether it is the church or the nation of Israel.

  • As priests, mediating between God and the world.
  • As a blessing, taking what God has given us and sharing it with the world.
  • As witnesses, declaring what we have seen, heard and experienced.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine on us, that your ways may be known on the earth, your salvation among the nations.

I tend to interpret the phrase about God’ face as a reference to experiencing his presence. If that is true, and worship is in its essence communion with God, (being in his presence) then, at least one purpose of worship is a proclamation to the nations of the nature of God, and what it means to live with and for him.

(I can see it could be a reiteration of God bestowing blessing on his family. Sill, many speak of God’s presence with us as one of the primary blessings of having a relation with him. And worship is often described in terms of communion and intimacy. Then, intimacy with God becomes one of the primary weapons of the gospel and kingdom propagation – at least, one that transforms our hearts to be like his heart.)

It may not be God’s desire for all of his children to travel to the “uttermost parts,” but it is his desire for them to have his heart. And we can see his heart by his expectation that all nations will be present with him, united together for eternity. And this should be our heart too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


People have religious structures surrounding them, and in them. People work out their philosophy, theology and often, depend on them more than Jesus. So, there are numerous people that Jesus has worked through a process of stripping away these structures that people build.

The stripping process is very scary. The ground we stnd on seems to vanish beneath our feet. All the things we were sure of do not hold up anymore.

God want us to trust Him, so He needs to be the foundation. So, He intends to shake, sift and remove anything “false” that we rely on.

I put “false” in quotes, because often our foundation may even rest on true or good things. But, if the truth distracts us from real devotion to the person Jesus, we will eventually find ourselves going through the a stripping away.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Designed for Communion

Seems to me that I mentioned this idea previously, but I don't seem to find it. Maybe I need to start using labels. (I really like to understand embedding pictures and links. I'll experiment with those one day.) But this will expand a little on what might have been said previously.

God made us. God designed us. We are designed for communion with Him. We are designed for communion with a community. We seek out naturally our spiritual centers. We seek out naturally people to share with. We need these things. We are not whole if we do not have them. They are our fuel. We do not run correctly if we do not have them.

We seek them out and find them, one way or another. Whether they are the right sort of communion is another matter.

Many people find spiritual communion in counterfeit philosophy. We may find community outside of God's family. But it is not the proper resting place. Our hearts will still long for the correct place ... if we listen to them. One of the tactics of the enemy is to suggest a place, get us to stop there, and then try to drown out the calls of the Father, or the calls of our hearts. He tries to convince us to settle for a counterfeit. And our souls do not function well on polluted fuel.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I witnessed a conversation yesterday between two people. The basic topic was about the goodness of God versus evil in the world. The discuss hinged around God's control and man's part. Not much was settled. There seems to be almost an unsolvable paradox surrounding these questions. Rather than regurgitate the arguments, I would like to list several things that seem to me to be true, and pertinent.
  • God is good.
  • God is in control.
  • Mankind has free-will ... even to the point of defying God.
  • God limits the use of His power to allow mankind to partner with God.
  • Mankind does play a part in carrying out God's will.
How this all connects together and works out in any particular situation? I'm not sure anyone can answer that question.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Salt of the Earth

Thor Heyerdahl, in Kon Tiki, was half way across the Pacific on a balsa wood raft to prove that it was possible for the Polynesian islands to have been populated from South America. The water they stored in barrels was beginning to run out. They would not have enough to get them through to the islands.

They could call in the support boat and leave. But it would mean the purpose of their voyage would remain unanswered at best. Failed at worst. What would these south American sailors have done? They could not drink the sea water. They did not have enough fresh water.

Someone asked the question about supplementing the fresh water with sea water. By using a small amount of sea water mixed with the fresh, could they stretch out the consumption of water enough to reach their goal? So, they tried an experiment. They mixed a small amount of sea water with some fresh water.

They created a mixture that they could drink. And it did increase the supply of water. But it did something else. They discovered that their need for water decreased. They rate of consumption went down.

This probably has something to do with electrolytes. Salt is more than a spice. More than a preservative. It is a component of the body that facilitates proper hydration. Proper hydration is necessary for proper functioning of the human body. Electrolyte imbalance can result in sickness and death.

Jesus compared His family with salt. He said they were salt for the world. Followers of Jesus are necessary for the earth to function correctly. Without them, it will slowly die.

Friday, June 08, 2007

For my regular readers, (LOL) you will probably notice that I have not been posting recently. That's because of the marriage mentioned in my profile. It is getting very close. So, I have been trying to help get ready. (That plus graduations, graduation parties, ... Why is the beginning of summer so busy?)

It's not just getting ready for a wedding. It is also helping setting up a new family. Apartment. Furniture. Kitchen supplies. (All of which is now stored at my house. Makes breathing difficult, let alone blogging.)

Hopefully, I will be back exploring the dimensions of the God\man relationship soon.

Friday, May 11, 2007

4 Soils - Good Soil

The last soil is “good soil.” The seed penetrates the ground. It is received. Good soil means there are no rocks. The plants can sink their roots deep into the soil. It can draw on resources deep in the soil, untouched by the heat. ood soil means there are no thorns. So, there are no influences to draw the resources away from the plants. All resources can be concentrated in the growth of the plant. The end result is that the plants grow abundantly and thrive. They produce abundant fruit.

Does this mean that growing and producing fruit in living as a disciple of Jesus resolve down to a couple of basic things?

  1. Learning to draw life from Jesus. We might call “life” in this sense emotional, psychological and spiritual wholeness. It is restrictions in this life hinder people from taking risks and making changes that could propel them to greater living.
  2. Learning to focus on profitable areas that build a person’s heart. We cannot totally focus on spiritual things. Even monks need to maintain their bodies. People living “normally” have to focus on jobs, cooking and cleaning, paying bills. So, at least people need to minimize the effects of these legitimate distractions. Then, we need to eliminate or minimize other distractions. Some distractions could be lethally draining. All the addictions that people discuss nowadays. Other distractions could be acceptable (TV watching for example) by still suck up time and energy that could otherwise be spent more profitably.
This identifies the general what’s of growth and fruit producing. What about specific what’s? Can “playing hopscotch” enable us to tap into Jesus’ energy reserves? There are how questions too. Material for future posts?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

4 Soils : Thorny Ground

The third soil is "thorny ground." Thorns grow beside the plants and draw important resources away from them. So, the seed is received. It penetrates the soil. But it grows in a situation where it is competing for resource. And often, losing the competition.

Thorns are anything that siphon off time and energy. So, life is given to unprofitable areas.

We all know people who begin to follow Jesus, and then begin to focus on unprofitable areas. They are divided in heart. So, they don't really progress in either area. They may grow some. But they don't produce fruit as they would, if they were whole-hearted. And part of Jesus' purpose for us is fruit.

Monday, May 07, 2007

4 Soils - Rocky Ground

The second soil is “rocky ground.” The seed is received and penetrates the ground. The plant begins to grow.

But the soil has no depth. There is no room for it to put down roots. The plant does not gain a firm hold. When the sun rises, and parches the ground, it loses easily accessible reserves and withers.

Some people are lured by a life of blessing — provision, protection, guidance, power to overcome. They expect to glide along easy street. And when the inevitable trouble comes, they are not well-connected enough to Jesus’ resources to stand.

People like this have expectations of what life with Jesus is like. And this conception is no where near reality. In awhile, when their expectations are not being met, they fade away, and go back to their old way of living.

Friday, May 04, 2007

4 Soils - Beside the Road

Jesus told a story about planting seed in four different types of soil. The four soils represent four different types of hearts.

The first soil “beside the road” does not even receive the seed sown on it. The soil is hard. The seed is not able to penetrate. If you have spoken to anyone about Jesus, you met people like this. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to hear about it.”

Jesus said we are witnesses. Meaning we should talk about what we see and know. We are supposed to give a defense. Meaning we should be able to give a reasonable explanation of why we believe what we believe. We are examples. Meaning we should demonstrate what life with Jesus is like. And each of these should be compelling. However, some people will simply refuse to be engaged. And it is not our job to make them curious about Jesus. We shouldn’t feel guilty about just walking away. The job of touching hearts and arousing interest is God’s.

Monday, April 30, 2007


There was a Roman centurion, who had a sick servant. He sent to ask Jesus to heal the servant. Jesus was about to go to do this, when another messenger came. Jesus did not need to come. The centurion understood authority. He had authority. He was under authority of others. Authority seems to be the ability to give commands and to reasonably expect that they will be obeyed. The centurion could give commands, and soldiers under him would obey not because of his tremendous power, but because he represented the power of the Roman Empire. It was the Roman army that backed him up with its power.

The centurion recognized that Jesus had similar authority. Because Jesus could command demons and disease to leave people, he concluded that God must be backing Jesus up with His power. So, Jesus could command the disease in the servant to leave. So, Jesus did not lay hands on the servant as he usually did. As far as we can tell, Jesus did not verbally command the disease.

Has Jesus given us authority? Is he backing us up?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Following religion hinders relationship. The rules, the rituals and the standards (set up for usually good reasons) become shackles that hinder us from walking with Jesus.

Jesus did not set us free from following the Law to establish a new set of rules. Rather the only rules that should govern us are (1) love God with all your heart, (2) love you neighbor as yourself. These fulfill the whole law, and are the basis for relationship.

We create religion because it is easier to get ones brain around it. It is easier to judge progress. It is less messy. Paul writes to different churches so they will not settle for religion. He wants them to pursue relationship.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I am reading "House2House" magazine. They quote George Barna as saying, "People who change the world are very inefficient." The family of God should be world changers. So, they should be inefficient.

This not to say that efficiency or organization are bad. But efficiency means that someone has worked through the process enough times to remove all the bottle-necks. So, they are walking over the same ground time after time.

If the people of God are working together like a smooth running engine, they are functioning on their own initiative, their own strength. They are not pressing onto new ground. God is not leading them, because God will lead to his people out of the box into places where faith is important. We will need to trust him, because we will not see where our feet land or the trail leads. But we will make progress where it counts.

It's almost like the opposite of efficiency is faith. (But let's not go quite that far.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Religion seems to be a response of man to the Infinite. The question always seems to be — “How can I appease the Infinite?” “How can I persuade the Infinite?” It seeks to provide a predictable set of outcomes. So, it creates a law, a pattern of desired behaviors. Maintain the pattern and a person can maintain peace with God.

Abraham and God entered into a relationship 400 years before God gave Moses the Law. This relationship was established not on the basis of rules that Abraham obeyed, and he pleased God on the basis of that obedience. (Remember there were no rules. No temple. No system of sacrifices.) The relationship was established based on promises God gave to Abraham. And Abraham believed God.

What seems to please God are people living in a relationship with him, that is based on faith in what God says. Living out of that relationship, acting on God’s words. Yes, God speaks commands, but Abraham did not live out of the commands. He lived out of the promises.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here is an interesting thought. We tend to think of eternal life as the part of our existence that begins after our deaths. (How’s that for paradox. Existing after death.) And we think of relationship as affecting our current life. Yet Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God. (If anyone wants the specific quotation, let me know.) In other words, eternal life is our relationship with God.

So, the gospel, which most people associate with avoiding hell, is about our relationship with God. Our relationship concerns how we live now. If A= B and B = C, then the gospel really is about how we live our life now. (Just be thankful that our now is going to last a very, very, VERY long time.)

God wants us to have a life of relationship with him, resulting in people taking steps of obedience, resulting in fruit. Distortions in the gospel can occur when people add to how we enter into a relationship with God. This can also occur in how when practice that relationship.

God may proclaim a fast and we need to heed his voice. Someone else may proclaim a fast. God may or may not call us to participate in it. Our relationship comprises what optimizes our connection with God. Agreement with and participation in a good thing will not bring us closer to God. Still, God may call us into agreement with this good.

The gospel is not just about avoiding hell. This is about how to establish and live out a relationship with God. This gospel is about living in ways that:

  • glorify God
  • are free and truly human
  • completely from our hearts, and
  • fully joyful.

Being a Christian is more that avoiding hell and merely being good.

Friday, March 16, 2007

If we are serious about communication with the Creator of the universe, Lord of all. If we open ourselves to him, receiving his whispers into our hearts, it is a very frightening proposition of what he could say to us.

Only a conviction that the mercy of God is vast and he takes that into consideration in all his interactions with us.
There are the stars. The moon. Sunsets. Rainbows. Ice into water into steam. Geese flying in gigantic V's. Atoms that should fly apart holding together. Caterpillars transforming into butterflies inside cocoons. The moving tides. Leaves turning color, falling off and budding in the spring. Babies forming in the womb.

In view of all this wonder, who is man that God in mindful of him? And not only mindful, but pursuing. engaging in relationship. revealing his heart and his secrets.

Monday, March 05, 2007

When we consider relationship with God, it is hard to fathom that God loves us. God will come to us Himself.

People used to approach God through the leaders — Moses, and then the Levitical priesthood. Then, people use to approach God through Jesus. When Jesus returned to the Father, the Spirit of God came to take residence in our hearts — because the Father Himself loves us.

So, He wants to care for us, abide with us, be close to us and have fellowship with us. His communication will not be through any intermediary. It will be directly to us. Relationship with God takes a quantum lead nearer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Importance of Relationship

There was a writer who began giving a poetic description of some of the world's wonders. Kind of like:

Sunsets and rainbows. Geese flying in gigantic V's. A caterpillar spinning a caccoon, and emerging transformed into a butterfly. The moving tides. Leaves changing color, falling off trees, and then budding again in spring. Stars and planets racing through their courses in space. Two small seeds combining and growing into a human being. All the atoms of the universe should fly apart. But they hold together.

Then he asks the question, in the face of all this wonder "who is man that you are mindful of him?" Not only does God think about us, but He pursues us. He engages in relationship. He reveals His heart and His secrets.

After creating wonders, what God wants is to be your friend. It is very hard to get your head around something like that.

Monday, February 12, 2007


It seems like it is the relationship with God that empowers. He transfers life to us when we go into His presence. It flows into our hearts. From there, those who continue in His presence can bear fruit and allow life to flow to others.

If we are not connected to the flow, we dry out. The ground around us becomes hard, and difficult to grow anything worthwhile.

If we are connected, we can produce fruit in any circumstance. It is compared to a tree thriving in the desert, because it is planted along a river. It can draw life from the river.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Vines Summary

We are the branches. Jesus is the vine. God is the gardener.

Branches produce the fruit. Taken in its most general sense, fruit is the effects of the branch. It is how the branch touches and benefits the world.

The branch cannot produce fruit on its own. It needs energy to come into it to create fruit. And it receives that energy as it is connected to the vine. Jesus is the way to this energy.

The Father is the brains behind all this. He is concerned with fruit bearing. He evaluates the state of the branch. He creates strategies and tactics for greater fruit production. And He implements them.

He evaluates the environment. What should the correct light, water and nutrients be? And He is responsible for bringing the light, water and nutrients to the branch.

The branches are responsible for maintaining the connection.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Access to the Vine

The problem with metaphors is they can only be carried so far. With a physical vine, there is a physical connection between the vine and the branch. Within the family of God, there is no physical connection. So, what is the connection like? How does it work? And can it improve?

This connection is the basis for any positive effect our lives have in the world. It does not mean that we cannot do any good. It does not stop our positive aspirations or works. But they do not have the zip that causes them to stand out.

All members of God’s family need access to this resource. God pervades every area of life, so His life-energy must pervade every area of life. Moreover, the world and the enemy do not allow lacks of experience, age, temperament, or talent as excuses for minimal effects.

And it must be effective in dealing with any and all situations. This is not wisdom, it is a flavor or aroma that covers all issues and circumstances.

So it must be readily available to all of God’s family. There is no level or maturity, special knowledge or ritual necessary to tap into this resource.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Vine and Branches

We will return to prayer sometime in the future. I am off on a tangent … sort of.

There is a metaphor that Jesus used to describe what our relationship with Him should be like to produce the type of compelling, attractive life that He is looking for. The metaphor compares He and His family to a vine and its branches.

The fruit of the vine is very beneficial to people in a number of forms: grapes, raisins, and wine. The fruit grows from the branches. The vine does not produce anything. But, if the branch is not connected to the vine, it does not produce anything. All the resources for the branch to create fruit come from the vine. All the resources for the branch to continue to live come from the vine. The connection between to the two is vital.

Jesus is the vine, of course. We are the branches. We are connected to Him, and produce a lifestyle that is abundantly beneficial to the people around us. However, if we are not connected to Jesus, we cannot produce this abundance. Abundance is directly related to the connection.

Without this connection, there can be no fruit. Without this connection, a branch withers.

With the connection, there is an increase in life. The branch grows longer and larger. Leaves are produced. Growth may happen that is actually counter-productive to producing fruit.

What do we think about branches that produce only leaves? All life and energy can be found in the vine. There should be an abundance of fruit. If there is not an abundance, does this mean the connection is inferior? If so, how do we improve it?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Because man is a spiritual creature, he lives at the intersection of the spiritual and physical worlds. He lives in both worlds and exposed to influences from both.

Prayer is a heart focus into the spiritual world. This focus transfers energy into the spiritual world; and puts people into a position to receive energy from it.

Since all people live in this intersection, prayer becomes a powerful weapon to affect people. The heart focus transfers energy into the spiritual world. From the spiritual world, the energy returns to the physical and impacts the hearts of people for whom it was directed.