Wednesday, February 24, 2010

how to loose the fear...

I've been in Dallas for the past four days surrounded by people who are following Jesus Christ and helping the nations see His radiant image and experience healing and power. The Bible studies were insane as one teacher in particular spoke the inspired words from Saint Paul to the Church in Corinth....all things will one day glorify Jesus...and it all became clear

As is the case with me so often, and as the teachings reminded us time and time again, God works on the periphery of life and if we are attentive to the movement of the Spirit we will see it. I received a great many things from the gathering, but it was with my Bishop over breakfast in Dallas Fortworth Airport that I was released to bring Jesus to the nations...out on the edges, on the end of the vine, where there is the greatest amount of light.

Brennan Manning speaks of a trust that borders on the heroic as the trust that honors God. This trust is the faith Paul wrote about in his second letter to the church in Corinth and explains why we are given this trust:for the honor of Jesus and the comfort and salvation of others (2 Cor. 1:3ff).

I read this passage this morning as I sucked down a grande Americano and had one of those "ah-ha-so-how-could-i-have-not-seen-that-moments" ...the God of all comfort gives us comfort through our conviction of the reality of Jesus so that when we walk in the dark places we will be able to be a witness to those around us.. When we are fully (well, as much as we can in our "being sanctified human state") aware of the power and scope of Christ's atonement we are set free from fear...sounds good on paper, yeah? The comfort is not for me, for he also states that we will suffer as well...our comfort is a bit different.

So over breakfast after the conference Jesus came to my aid and helped me loose just a bit more of my fear. I was able to give my fear to God, along with confessing my pride lack of trust over eggs and homefries...and the most incredible thing happened:

I was forgiven and set free. God wants me to be all he died for me to be (stolen verse, but too good to pass up).

So, how can you let a few of your chains fall? Look at times in your life when you have been afraid or felt that God had abandoned you and say "Lord, I am sorry that I felt that you could not keep me safe in this area. Please forgive me."

There may be some work to still do for sanctification is a process, and it may be a long road but this is the start. So I am grateful for the conference, and for the fact that I came to the airport eight hours before my fight, and that my Bishop took a wrong turn inside the terminal so that he happened to pass by me, and that the Holy Spirit allowed me to confess my fear and weakness to the Lord and my Bishop, and that God healed me in many ways...for in my weakness God is my strength...

Thank you Jesus that indeed you take my yoke when I ask you too... I am walking a little lighter today. A bit more of my life has glorified Jesus.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ruthless Trust...a Lenten gift

At New Hope Anglican Church a number of us are reading "Ruthless Trust" written by Brennan Manning through Lent. As I prayed for our parish and asked the Lord what it is we will need for our work, trust echoed over and over. Manning is very clear in the book that trust is the mark of a true disciple of Jesus...I've understood this for years, but why through Lent?

Trust was required of Jesus as He abandoned Himself to the Fathers' will...
Trust was required of those who followed him...
Trust is what's needed more than anything in a world where we can seemingly fix anything...

Trust is what we get when we give up our will, our lives, our autonomy....
He is asking us to give up ourselves. We do this so often in church, singing songs of surrender. But the reality comes home to roost quickly when we examine our lives and our actions, doesn't it?
Trust is our gift back to God, and He finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for it (p.2)...childlike surrender is in trust is the defining spirit of authentic discipleship.(p4).

Why is it so hard to trust? We want clarity! We need to see where were going! "Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and you must let go of it" (p5)

The stakes are enormous and seem to be irreversible, don't they? But that is what the Lord demands of us...and has not History proved Him to be faithful? Perhaps if we would just take the time to come before the Lord and speak to Him about all the times we feel He has let us down, the times when He was not there, then He might be able to speak to us.

It's a come-clean and get-honest moment with the Lord. I've brought many things to him....and I keep doing after day and sometimes moment after moment.

What are you giving up for Lent....try giving up your lack of trust...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jesus wasn't a jerk

I was struck hard as I am each Lent by the incredible power and love the early church had for the Lord, each other and the world...and how far off the mark my life in Christ is to theirs. In particular the passages we read from 2 Corinthians 5:20ff hit me to the point that I found myself standing in front of a congregation of two combined churches repenting of my failure and to be the ambassador Christ called me to be, and asking them all, young to old, to accept my failure and forgive me. How could I do this? How could I stand weeping in front of those whom I lead as well as a visiting church and their pastor? The Holy Spirit blessed me with eyes to see the ancient Church, myself and the Lord together...

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

So I repented of complaining when others mocked me, of taking the easy way out, of not staying up nights in prayer and ministry, of being overfed, of slandering others when I was angry, of being upset when my character was defamed, of not rejoicing...

So the early Church's leaders repented of this, so I did, thanks to the Holy Spirit, who put it all into perspective. And by His Grace, I am a new man today. We finished with Eucharist so that we would not attempt to live this life on our own which would lead to complete failure. Funny thing about God, He tends to hold your feet to the fire. On the way home I stopped for a coffee after a long day and long drive home. The girl who made my Americano asked me, after we talked a little, what I gave up for Lent. (guess my dirty forehead gave it away)...I didn't respond right away, I had just repented in the Spirit and guess was still processing.

"I gave up being a jerk" I told her, "and by God's Grace I won't be anymore". She was taken back to be sure. When she finally had some words together she said "that's odd, most folks give up chocolate or alcohol, I've never heard of that". "Well" I told her "we're called to give up sin in our lives that keep us from being the full image of Jesus. So when Lent is over, we're supposed to look more like Him. So what I lay down I try not to pick back up... At the end of Lent, I wanna look more like Jesus, and He wasn't a jerk."

please pray for me


Monday, February 15, 2010

Mormons in the Mall...the lies they don't tell ya

jimmy Hendrix once said it wasn't the notes, it was the spaces in between...and man did that come home to roost today when I walked behind a group of Mormon Elders today at the mall.
First, I gotta tell ya, when I see a cult such as the Mormons or the Jehovah Witness's I follow them around, praying and walking up to those whom they talk to and fill in the empty spaces. Why? I'm a follower of Jesus and when folks lie about Jesus, I have to speak up
So I walked up to this group of eight who were wearing their name tags walking around the mall and asked if they were talking to folks that day. "No, today isn't a "P" day" I was told. "P" day I asked. "Proselytizing" they said, they were just hanging out at the mall. But they were wearing the uniform and badges so I knew it was a total lie. So I did what I said I would do and just followed them at a distance praying and asking God to keep me from getting any sense of superiority.
Well it was a cat and mouse game. I finally walked up to then at one point and said "It's pretty obvious you lied and you are indeed here to talk about let me just ask you one question. Are your parents Mormon? Yes they all said. What about your Grandparents? One of the three said yes. To the two I asked, where are they now that they have died if they weren't Mormon? Well, it hit the fan. I kept asking simple questions and was told that God does not judge and all is acceptable, that Jesus saves everyone, that you don't have to have a full command of Scripture to be an Elder, that all "christian" faiths are ok...
What happened was that that I asked questions off the ones they had been trained to answer..and they were ripped when I wouldn't let them not answer the question. What they didn't say is that they believe that the Mormon "church" has the only line on the these four kids couldn't even tell me their "truth". Near the end of the conversation one of them said "please let me just speak (I wouldn't let him turn the question), and I said sure, let's just sit down here and you can tell me every thing you want that he said he wanted to go and play basketball...funny, I thought if we truly cared for souls we would take all the time needed at all heart broke for these kids and I have even more resolve to stop the lies that God hasn't paid the full debt in Jesus. I mean, these kids said we worship the same Jesus, but that His death and substitutionary atonement were sufficient....and that this is what all Christians believe.
to that I say...I will walk behind anyone, any where, at any time and make sure they tell the truth they believe and don't mislead with partial truth...