Monday, January 29, 2018


If you dare to squint the eyes of your heart to see the good in people, you may get blinded by the twisted, the broken, the parched, the frayed, razor edges of their darkest garbage thrown at you by the wind of their God empowered will. The blood of the Healer is a theory unrealized beyond our mind when it’s chosen a path from which culture won’t allow you to recover. We stumble and fall, we fall hard and far, and we are lost.

Lying broken and bent on the canyon floor of our fallenness, the walls of the chasm bearing down on us, taunting us to climb with limbs shattered and jutting from gaping wounds of guilt and shame. Jesus’ words echo down the walls and grace comes like the rain and the sun together conspire to cure the cold and the thirst that sin has left us with. When we did it right we hated the Healer who resurrected our scapegoats. We tore into Him with more than words. When we did it wrong we found no other friend than the one hanging next to us on the cross. 

I have been the common thief hanging in a state of guilt next to sinless perfection. I catch His eyes and I know, Jesus loves me. Jesus doesn’t have to squint His eyes to see goodness in me. It’s all He sees. He put it there. And now I know that I’m not meant to remain in this state. Redemption and resurrection conspire to restore and regenerate until we are lifted beyond even where you were to heights above the clouds where shadows of darkness, secrets, and lies have nothing more to hide behind. Born in flight upon eagles wings, the Son of righteousness carries you in healing into a resurrected abundance with Him. And there you are at rest in the agape of the Father forevermore.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hard Lessons

Hard lessons from 26 years of marriage that I want my kids to know. (1 minute 26 seconds of read time) 
You're going to do some things well, and you're going to do some things badly. When you do well and get praised, give it to God. Don't let accolades make you complacent. Success is a combination of dreaming and work. One without the other will not serve you well. 
When you hurt someone, own it and make it right. It's God that defines your eternity, and only He knows how forgiven you are. But it is your relationships with people that define the experience you have in this life. 
You won't gravitate to those who love you the most, but to those who accept you the most. When you allow those who accept you to rise above those who truly love you, somebody is going to get hurt. It will only be the grace of the people you hurt and the people who love you that keeps your life from being defined by your lowest moments. People who love you will protect you if you hurt them. People who merely accept you will destroy you if you hurt them. 
Surround yourself with people you can be completely transparent and vulnerable with. Choose those people wisely when you don't need them, because you're rarely thinking wisely when you do need them. But don't limit your council to your friends. Get a professional counselor in your life who has dismissed themselves from ever being a friend. That person may the most honest person you ever talk to. 
Rejection can be a brutal teacher. When people don't want to stand close to you, it's usually because you stepped in something. Selfishness is when you step in something on purpose and blame others for not accepting it. Selfishness is a rocket ride to a lonely life because when you step in something people don't want you walking into their house. 
Live a life filled with abundant experiences that you wouldn't mind telling your grandkids about. Judgement and grace are inevitable, but you only get to keep what you give away. Finally, everything, every moment, every breath, every heartbeat, will hinge on this question from Jesus Christ, "Who do you say that I am?" There is nothing more important than your answer to that question.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Life in Austin, Texas Was Like...Nicky the Stranger

(I never want to forget what it was like to live in the weirdest city in America. Austin will always be a home to me. This was in 2014.)

After an evening at Kerby Lane for a late night pancake gathering with friends, Traci and I pondered what else to do. Just up South Lamar was an English style pub that had late hours and the word 'grill' in the title, so we assumed they might serve food. Screens scattered around the faux old English decor were showing shark week, so we were hooked. Did you catch that? And that... I digress.

Being that is was open mic night we ordered fish and chips and settled in for some random amateur entertainment.  After a few jangly guitar tunes were plinked out by a variety of nervous bearded hipsters, a guy got up who was never gonna be famous but looked like he might die trying. He was a glorious train wreck of Pat Boone, Cirque du Soleil, a slam poet, and a game show host. He started out like Leonard Cohen or Barry White singing to a track and suddenly shed the white suit coat for a blue sequin coat underneath.  A couple of spins and a backflip later this guy (who goes by the name Nicky the Stranger) is leading the pub in a singalong of a song that was entirely made up of words impossible to decipher. It was so oddly mesmerizing that I didn't even think to snap a pic.

When he finished to a chorus of cheers the MC said with a hint of semi sarcasm, "Thanks, Nicky. Always a nice change of pace from the usual." Shark week, a fake British Pub, and Nicky the Stranger in his sparkly blue glory. What a wonderful, weird Sunday night in Austin, Texas.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A New Covenant Clarity

Everything from the Old Covenant needs to be interpreted through the New Covenant. In the New Covenant we have 1 Corinthians 13 (Love keeps no record of wrongs, never fails, etc), 1 John 4:7-8 “…Love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” And the words of Jesus leading up to the cross, “Love your enemies” Luke 6:31.

The New Covenant didn’t change the nature of God, but it did shift how He deals with mankind. "Now, in Christ, we who were afar off have been brought near by His blood” Eph 2:13. The blood of the New Covenant abolished the old covenant (detailed in Ephesians 2) and brought us into adoption as heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ.

We now revisit the old covenant simply to celebrate what the cross and resurrection accomplished. We don’t throw away that glorious New to re-embrace the blind fearful foreboding of the old. I don't view Old Testament verses on hate as elevated above the New Covenant verses on love. Ephesians 2. The Old Covenant was nailed to the cross. Romans 8. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. I don't know what was happening back then to cause them to interpret what they were getting as the hatred of God towards man, but in Christ we get a different picture. If He commands us to love our enemies, what do you think He does with His?

Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is the exact representation of the Father's nature. So anything I find in the old covenant that I can't substantiate in the life of Jesus Christ, we have reason to question. The Old Covenant was one big question to which Jesus is the answer. John 5:35. So I'll never exalt an old covenant perspective of God over the clear representation of Christ. When you have a contrast between the old and the new you don't have to try to reinterpret the old, rather simply align with the new covenant and thank Him for it.

Friday, June 09, 2017


"Busyness is artificial significance." Bill Johnson.

Busyness isn't the cure for laziness. To me, laziness isn't a lack of activity. It's a lack of productivity. To be unproductive is to be unfruitful. And if a person is killing themselves with activity that bears no fruit, that's poor stewardship of time and energy. Make every action an investment in which you attempt as much as possible to be conscious of a return. It's not saying, "What will I get out of this?" because it's not always about you. But saying, "What fruit could this effort produce?" It is the second question that fuels the dreams within you. In the Kingdom of God, His priorities are paramount. If you take care of what's important to God, He will take care of what's important to you.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Why I Believe

I believe in God because of Jesus. I believe in Jesus because of the resurrection. And I believe in the resurrection because of the disciples. We can argue the existence of God, the validity of Jesus, or the legitimacy of the resurrection. But the life and death of each of the disciples is the greatest historical case for the resurrection. These men, one moment huddling in fear, have an encounter with the resurrected Christ, and that changes them forever. Ordinary men don’t die for a lie. And each of them separately, with no way to easily contact the other, was killed or tortured and none of them ever said, “Stop! We made the whole thing up.” That’s simply astonishing.
How did they die?
James was the first Apostle to be martyred. Herod Agrippa seized him when he was in Jerusalem in the year 42 and had him beheaded. Andrew preached the Gospel in Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia. He was crucified in Achaia at Patras in the year 61. Tied to an X-shaped cross after being scourged, he hung there he preached to people for two days before he died. Peter was martyred by Nero in the year 67. Peter was crucified, by request, upside down, out of reverence for Jesus. His request was granted. Paul was beheaded on the same day as Peter outside the walls of Rome. Simon was crucified at Edessa in the year 67. Matthew preached in Africa and was martyred by the sword in the year 65 in Ethiopia. Thomas was stabbed to death at Mylapore, India, in the year 74. Matthias (who replaced Judas) was crucified in the year 65. Jude was clubbed to death the same year in Persia. James the less had it rough in Jerusalem. The religious leaders took him to the pinnacle of the temple and told him to renounce Christ before all the people who were gathered below. Instead he proclaimed Christ resurrected and they cast him off. Still living after he hit the ground, a man stepped forward and smashed his head in with a club. Philip preached the Gospel in Greece and he was martyred at Hierapolis in Persia in the year 62. Like Peter, he was crucified upside down. Bartholomew was skinned alive in Armenia in the year 72. John was the only one not martyred. However, in the year 95, he was taken prisoner at Ephesus and sent to trial in Rome. Sentenced to death, he was boiled in oil before the Latin gate. Miraculously he survived and was exiled to the island of Patmos. He was later freed and died at Ephesus in the year 100 when he was eighty-eight years old.
So this Easter, I’m compelled to look around me at the arguments of people against the existence of God and the validity of Jesus, and each one has their theories. But the resurrection has moved from theory to fact in my heart because of my own encounter with the resurrected Christ. I understand now, how these men found a cause worth living and dying for. And it’s their lives, message, and deaths that solidify for me the truth of the resurrection, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the everlasting love of the Father. May Easter weekend bring each of you a life changing encounter with the resurrected Christ.
(For anyone who wants to do research on this, I highly recommend Historian Michael Licona’s incredible work called, “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach”. At 700 pages and more than 2000 footnotes, Licona has done his homework. Also for the especially studious scholar, see the writings of historian, Josephus, Eusebius, and the early church fathers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Dionysius of Corinth, Irenaeus, Tertullian and the list goes on.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Interwoven in Christ

Col 2:2-3 Paul’s outlining the priorities for what he wants to see in every believer and every church here in this verse and it’s staggering and incredible.
…that their hearts may be encouraged…
When you face loss or disappointment it’s called “hope deferred”. The result is that it makes the heart sick. But Paul is stating the clarity of focus here is that you would have an encouraged heart. A heart filled with courage stands in the present with confidence and looks toward the future with bold expectancy. Whatever circumstances lie between you and your destiny, we are continually strengthened by the knowledge that the end of this journey is a joy that nothing can take away.
…having been knit together in love… 
Jesus declared that we would know that we are one with Him in John 14. Then He prayed that we would be one with each other in John 17. In Christ we have been interwoven into a tapestry of Love Himself. The Holy Spirit has a high value for union and unity. The declaration itself doesn’t make it reality without our willful alignment to the desire of His heart.
…and attaining to all the wealth that comes from full assurance of understanding that results in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The boundless riches of the Gospel are accessed when you have settled on this singularity as the foundation of every moment and movement of your being. Christ. So then when Paul makes statements about Christ in the rest of the letter, He is unveiling that wealth with statements like “Christ is all and in all” and “in Him you have been made complete”. Our union with Him is the source of all wisdom.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Deep Lessons

We learn some of the deepest lessons in some of the darkest valleys. But we don't often realize what we've learned in the valley of the shadow until we have walked far enough to see the sun again. Don't stay in the valley. Keep walking. When you feel the sun, then turn and teach another what you have learned. Words forged by experience are far richer than untested notions. ~ Bill Vanderbush

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What Pain Sounds Like

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! But for many their experience with Christianity as a religion is not life giving. We recently invited thousands of members of a closed study group to bare their heart and share the honest and uncensored condition of their heart from their current perspective. Sometimes people need to be heard before they want to be healed. Here are some unedited statements.

Can you relate to any of these?

I feel like if I let go that people won't like who I really am.

I believe there is something inherently wrong with me, that I never fit in.

I have thought of myself as a failure and that God couldn't possibly love me because I fail continuously.

I often believe that I'm unlikeable, or that there's something wrong with me that I'll never fully understand.

I believe that I am the one person who is not deserving of what God has done for me.

I've often felt unforgivable for the terrible things I've done.

That I am the unwanted child, saved because God promised I would be but not wanted, adored, or loved.

I have often felt like a failure because of continually falling back into the same sin. Why would God extend grace to me if I keep breaking His heart?

I tie how I think my husband feels about me to how God feels about me.

Quite honestly I am mad and feel abandoned. I bow my head to pray and then I stop because I think what is the use - he may be listening but he doesn't care. Or is he really listening - really? Is he even there?

Is there really a God that loves and hears me?


I feel like if I let go that people won't like who I really am.

I believe there is something inherently wrong with me, that I never fit in.

I have thought of myself as a failure and that God couldn't possibly love me because I fail continuously.

I often believe I am stuck in life, going nowhere.

I often believe that I'm unlikeable, or that there's something wrong with me that I'll never fully understand.

I believe that I am the one person who is not deserving of what God has done for me.

I've often felt unforgivable for the terrible things I've done.

I often feel like I'm a burden.

That I am the unwanted child, saved because God promised I would be but not wanted, adored, or loved.

I have often felt like a failure because of continually falling back into the same sin. Why would God extend grace to me if I keep breaking His heart?

I tie how I think my husband feels about me to how God feels about me.

Quite honestly I am mad and feel abandoned. I bow my head to pray and then I stop because I think what is the use - he may be listening but he doesn't care. Or is he really listening - really? Is he even there?

Is there really a God that loves and hears me?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What's the Point of Prayer and Fasting?

Disciplines like prayer and fasting don't make God. They make me. There's no arm twisting or begging of God in these things. They are reminders of Spirit, a focused intention tending to the roots of faith in the soil of the heart. The disciplines of of prayer and fasting kill unbelief and give rise to an awareness that we are more than mere flesh and form. We don't do these things because we are becoming something. We do these things to become aware of who we are. When you lose yourself, return to prayer. When your heart is darkened by foolishness, return to fasting. When you forget who you are, pray and listen. When you're offended at God, fast and detox. These aren't dead religious works unless they become lifeless habit. They are an infusion of Presence in purposeful acts of life-giving worship. In prayer and fasting, I awaken and align to who the Father has always known me to be from before the foundation of the world. These disciplines keep me from becoming consumed with me. The desire for things diminishes as the awareness of the Spirit is illuminated in clarity. If you have lost and let go of these disciplines in an effort to rest in a revelation of grace, I encourage you to revisit some of these disciplines that were so important to Jesus Christ. Let the Spirit draw you to them and them to you and in that drawing you will find the Spirit life and depth of soul tie with God that you longed to discover when you said your first prayer. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

God and Sin

Anything that dulls my sensitivity to or awareness of the presence of God or perpetuates the illusion of separation. But what if someone doesn't believe in God? I think it's commonly stated that without God there is no sin for it is believed that sin is purely a religious construct. But I would say that the ONLY way there is no sin is with God. Without God each person does what's right in his own eyes thereby creating their own system of conduct and rules by which we govern our interactions. It's that condition of defining right and wrong apart from God that perpetuates the distance and separation between people. Everyone has their own rules and definition, and who's to say that one is more valid than another? But Jesus lifts us beyond our own definitions, destroys sin, reconciles union, restores relationship, and speaks a word of grace that makes genuine love manifest. It is that love and grace that makes us one. It's that oneness that manifests peace.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Is God Disappointed In You?

  • God is not disappointed in you. That's a statement I've made often in talking about The Forgotten Way. So a question I get often is how is it that God isn't disappointed in us? The bigger question would be is God infinite and complete? If so, then temporal expressions of loss and lack cannot take away from that which is infinite and complete. We all wrestle with the temporal vs the eternal. Both time and eternity have progression. Time moves from the beginning to the end. That which is eternal has the beginning and the end together as one. To subject God to time would be to adopt the perspective that God is enslaved by His own creation, which would make Him very weak indeed. And weak is certainly one thing that God is not. After all, in 1 Corinthians 3:21 Paul says that all things are yours, and in the list he includes time.

    So back to the issue of disappointment. The verse we're going to look at is Ephesians 4:30-32 which encourages us to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit. The Greek word here is Lupeo which means to affect with sadness or heaviness. Matter of fact in 1 Peter 1:6 the same word is translated as heaviness and the context there is that you've been made heavy with temptations. Sadness and heaviness is a temporal blindness to the manifest joy of an eternal victory. When we can't see the eternal victory, but only feel the weight of the temporal circumstance, we react and act out of a temporal perspective. We feel sad when we lose hope and we feel heavy when we lose heart. But from an eternal perspective we are forgiven and victorious. Eph 4:32 says we've already been forgiven. (Christ forgave i.e., past tense) The bitterness, wrath, anger, etc that we express is a symptom of a temporal blindness to how forgiven and free we are in Christ. So we give off expressions of a false identity. But that doesn't disappoint God. Sadness or heaviness isn't disappointment. There is a word for disappoint in GK which is kataischynō from Romans 5:5 which means to put to shame. When someone is disappointed in us it opens us up to be ashamed. We know what Christ has done with shame. He takes it from us. 

    He has injected Himself into our story and walks it with us even though He knows the end from the beginning. He feels what we feel and even in our own blindness the river of redemption never stops flowing. Consider the prodigal son story, where the Father expresses sorrow, but not disappointment. Disappointment has given up all hope and attached a label of shame and guilt to a person or situation. The Father in the story had sadness and sorrow at the sons "death" but an absolute hope that his son's identity was never beyond redemption. He says to the older brother that the younger son "was dead but is alive again". While we were dead, Christ made us alive. So He can experience sadness and sorrow at our blindness while maintaining hope in our redemption which he has already freely given. He never loses heart and never gives up hope.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Nothing in this life is both easier or more difficult than stillness. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Identity Defined

There is no distance or separation between you and God right now. All distance exists in our mind and perspective and those thoughts and sight are shaped and influenced by our experiences in this physical world. But the victory that overcomes the world is our faith in that which is unseen. (1John 5:4)  Now your journey is to surrender who you thought you were to simply be who your Father has always known you to be. In Christ is your authentic identity and you are the creative expression of the home that God desires to dwell in. It is in this place of peace that we are most alive. 

This is not a position that is left unchallenged. We have an enemy who seeks to steak, kill, and destroy. But we can refuse to allow that enemy to have a place of influence and define who we are. Recently my wife, Traci, was in a car accident and while she was spared serious injury it could have been a very different situation. My identity as a husband and father is able to be threatened. So while those are good roles and I do them as unto the Lord, they by themselves do not define who I am. Any identity that you have that can be threatened is temporal. You only have one identity that is eternal and that is “in Christ”. Nothing can threaten that. And it is from the foundation of that identity that the rest of life flows abundantly.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Hidden Goodness of God

The Hidden Goodness of God

“The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” You know it’s a really good thing that it was Jesus who said this. We certainly wouldn’t let anyone else get away with talking about the Bible like that. Jesus knew that it’s our tendency to treat the “letter” like an instruction manual rather than a love letter revealing the heart of a good heavenly Father. So when you read the Bible now to look for plain directional formula of what to do or not to do you’re basically scratching the surface of the letter and recreating the law all over again. The Bible is an invitation to a beautiful relationship and a glorious celebration and if you discover the heart of your Father, the Spirit of the letter becomes clearer and clearer.

Take, for example, Matthew 18. For many churches, this is the handbook for excommunication. Jesus gives an example of someone caught in a fault or sin. To just look at the formula it seems clear and simple. Step one, go tell him about his fault. Step two, if he won’t hear you take another person. Step three, if he’s still not listening, tell the whole church. Step four, let him be like a gentile or tax collector. It seems simple enough as one, two, three strikes and you’re out. And if kicking someone out of your community is the goal, this seems like a good deal. Except for this one little plot twist. Matthew, who this Gospel is attributed to, is a tax collector, and later through Paul, God demonstrates His love for the gentiles. How did Jesus Himself treat tax collectors and gentiles? When He encountered Zacchaeus in Luke 19, He went to his home to spend time with him personally. When Jesus encountered the gentile woman in Mark 7 who asks for healing for her daughter, Jesus grants her the miracle and praises the greatness of her faith. Matthew 18 is a challenge to our prejudices, not Divine permission to reinforce them.

For another example look at Mark 16. Jesus has just resurrected from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene and two who were walking on the road to Emmaus. In a dramatic (and perhaps a little bit unfair) plot twist, Mark 16:12 says He appeared to them in a different form. Both Mary and these two from the road run to tell the disciples that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. The disciples are the inner circle, the ones who were chosen personally. Why would He appear to anyone else first? That had to be a blow to their ego. Maybe it was the fact that they weren’t reliable sources, or maybe it was the odd fact that their accounts of His appearance were so different. Whatever it was, the disciples don’t believe them. It’s at this point that Jesus appears in the room and rebukes them for their unbelief. The very next thing you see is Him saying, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Again, this seems pretty simple, and we have long used it as a clear way to tell who’s in and who’s out. The Gospel (Jesus Christ is risen) is preached and if you believe it you’re in and if you don’t you’re out. What did the disciple just hear? The Gospel message that Jesus Christ is risen. What have they just done with what they’ve heard? They didn’t believe. Do you see it? According to the letter, the disciples meet the criteria to qualify for condemnation. But Jesus reveals the love and power of the Spirit by embracing and empowering the very ones who are worthy to be condemned. It’s a sobering thought to consider that the 11 who made up the foundation of the church were actually the first unbelievers of the Gospel. This is the goodness of Jesus Christ. He empowers and validates the condemned and disqualified. The letter doesn’t force you to condemn anyone. But it does give you permission to condemn and reject them if you choose to live by the letter alone. Jesus steps beyond the letter to live by a higher law. The law of Love.

Here’s one final example for you to consider. Do you remember when 1 John 2 says, “Love not the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” But Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” So which is it? If you’re focused on the letter this will be endlessly confusing. But if you catch the wind of the Spirit, and know the heart of your Father, this makes perfect sense. The freedom to reject someone makes your acceptance of them an act of pure love, for love can’t be forced or demanded. Perhaps that itself is the greatest act of love. That when you have qualified for condemnation and bear the weight of guilt, Love steps in and overturns the sentence. When we condemn, we reflect the nature of our own blind fear. When we love, we reflect the nature of a just God. It is the justice of a good God, that the blindness of our condemnation based on the letter is healed by the compassion of the Holy Spirit and an unfailing Love Who bears, hopes, believes, and endures all things. I hope these studies prompt to rediscover the Spirit in the letter and empower you to look beyond the surface into the simple hope of the hidden goodness of God.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A question to meditate on.

"Does your Father not love you the way He asks you to love others?" Ted Dekker.

Saturday, August 01, 2015


The sun settles into the pocket of cloud at the edge of the horizon, ultraviolet beams bust through holes worn into the clouds by the wind causing me to squint tight my eyes. It rolls down the wall of blue and like a mood ring the color responds to it's heat. The sun must be a confused lover today because orange, pink, and purple can't seem to find out where one ends and the other begins. Embracing the blue the colors never merge, never separate, never dilute like paint into a dull gray. At 35 thousand feet it feels like I'm above it all, but 93 million miles away this molten hurricane of fire hardly resembles the beauty it's light is forming before my eyes here. The sounds of Muse breeze through my airtight earbuds and I want to roll down the window of this jet, crawl outside and on top of it, standing left foot forward, right foot dug in and ride this supersonic surfboard through banks and turns careening through the clouds like a hawk glides between the walls of a canyon. Ignoring the impossible physics of the quest, I could feel my feet leave the fuselage for a second or two wondering how far I had just passed through the air only to touch down on two feet still intact. It's delightful, at a certain age, to discover that you still have an imagination.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Suffering and Expectations

As much as we walk in victory, though saved, in this life there is still suffering. 

Jesus, though a son, learned obedience through that which He suffered. (Heb 5) 

We don't often think of suffering producing anything good but the Scripture makes a pretty strong case for this. That whatever we don't learn by observation, the experience of suffering will teach us. Often with more lasting results. Resistance builds strength. So in life you find yourself bearing the weight of some frustrations with no clear solutions. That's not an unhealthy thing.

When you're building a life not everything is going to work. If 2% of your goals get met by the time you're 40 you'll be doing unusually well. Life sucks the life out of life when you have built an altar of expectations. Goals get trashed and rebuilt and by the time they come around to getting fulfilled you often want something entirely different. When you develop the ability to exercise preference you're eating deeply of the fruit of the fall. It's ok. We all do everyday. That fruit is preference or another word for it is judgment. Everything you want to be is the preference of one thing over another and ultimately it is that very thing (preference and judgement) that leads to suffering. Think deeply about this. So then what is suffering?

Suffering is a self inflicted state of mind based upon the frustration of unmet expectations. All suffering is tied to this. I expected one thing and another happened. Now I'm in suffering.
When you're frustrated, you're never frustrated for the reason you think you're frustrated. You think it's because things aren't the way you want them to be. But it is only because you sense a powerlessness in the wanting. To have what you want requires you to chop wood and draw water, over and over again, until you realize that what you wanted you never really wanted. It is when your expectations all die that you find peace in the storm.
For example, you have a conversation that you want to go a certain way. But the other person isn't cooperating. Did they do something wrong? Only in your mind. So you suffer. (I used to have this happen all the time) Every offense is simply an unmet expectation. Sometimes we don't even know that we have them until they're exposed by a circumstance that refuses to cooperate.
We all want many things that have little to do with Jesus but are just a part of life. We want human love. We want physical affection. We want food. We want people to be kind and gracious. We want air conditioning in the summer. We want to be healthy. We want a lot of things tied to this physical world that Jesus doesn't automatically give us. We thank Jesus for these things, or not. But the lesson in all of this is that our joy is not tied to the physical world. We discover this by the suffering of unmet physical expectations while still retaining and cultivating an awareness of the presence of Jesus.
So did Jesus have unmet expectations? I'm pretty sure He wasn't controlling of the Pharisees abuse of Him. He got frustrated. He was tempted in EVERY way that we are, yet without sin (never separated from the Father). Still, temptation is suffering because it puts the soul in a headlock over unmet expectations. This is why Jesus said things like, "My soul is vexed..." That's suffering. That actually brings me tremendous comfort. To know that God is absolutely familiar with all of my suffering and is victorious within me brings peace and healing and silences all suffering.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lifted from the dust

God's faith in you is unshakable. He's believed in you from before the foundation of the world. Don't give up on you. God hasn't. #GodIsGood

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Resting Reconciled

Being made in His likeness, we awaken to our authentic identity in Him. He decimates our man made, circumstance fashioned, false identities by assuming our likeness and dealing with what we can't imagine a holy God can comprehend. Satan brings temptation upon man in the Garden, and later God tempts Himself (led by the Spirit into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted) in a garden.  In the Garden of Eden God calls out to man 'where are you' as God forsaken. On the cross Jesus cries out to God as man forsaken. He faces down the identity of atheism by assuming the identity of the atheist in the most radical way imaginable. For in the garden and on the cross, God annihilates the separation anxiety of Divine and human rejection in that for a brief instant God Himself appears to be an atheist, crying out, "Why have You forsaken me?" And from that place of lonely isolation, He reconciles the cosmos to Himself, dying and raising from the dead not just for us but as us.  That's grace and goodness beyond the realm of understanding, but not beyond the realm of experience. The grace of Jesus is most often experienced long before it is understood. I would even say without the experience there is no understanding.