Sunday, December 16, 2012

What If?

I read Brennan Mannings memoirs a while back and was saddened that the gospel he so wonderfully subscribed to seemed to lack the power to transform. It was disappointing to see him ending as he is...marriage in crumbles and still so addicted to drink.

If Grace is as powerful as it is presented by Paul and our Master (master as in journeyman not as in slave owner) than surely it has power to transform our vile bodies...

His journey into grace so powerfully influenced my own. But the grace he transcribed to seemed short on delivery for him and saddly for me as well. I still believe it is true and practice grace on myself often but I think he missed appropriating it because of a flawed theology that says we remain brocken even after grace is applied.

If the gospel is really good news it must be transformational. Paul uses the word transfiguration ..."be transfigured by the renewing of your minds."

I have determined that Transfiguration is a process...into Christ likeness and grace is the vehicle. Without grace it is humanly impossible...the bar is set too high!

I have been noticing that all Jesus did every day of his life was raise the bar. In fact his whole ministry was about raising the bar into the realm of impossibility.

Until we get that we will never be ripe for grace.

No we will just keep taking stabs at rightiousness, trying the Bible through 6 times this year, fast 3 months, no maybe 4 months ...why not 6 months this year....pray harder and more often, witness more, love God more, Give more, maybe 20% will get better results.
No wonder the "Grace" message sounds good....and people come up with live and let live concepts of grace and universalism. That is definitely an attractive option...

But what if Grace is better and bigger than we had ever imagined and actually we are no longer brocken and prone to wander. What if we actually are sons of God with access to heaven..

what if????

Hahaha Got you going!

I am still quite tentative in this new leg of the journey haha...don't really have too many answers and am OK with that...
a lot less concerned about right or wrong right now...
actually I was quite tentative about leaving the gospels and just in the past few months have ventured out into the Pauline Epistles quite carefully and wallah I am so enjoying them. I'm discove

ring a Paul who totally gets it. laughing and crying my way fun. I have underlined with exclamation marks and notes more than not....Paul gets it so good. He isn't the Paul I remember at all.

I truly was afraid I was coming into something that Paul might not appreciate (It has been so long since I have laid my eyes on any other parts of the bible, seriously, my memory was of a different Paul for some crazy reason..well not too crazy actually since the lenses I was seeing through were quite the religious and old covenant mixture lenses)

These new lenses almost have me ready to read the old covenant again. I actually think there were some in the old covenant that had a new covenant relationship with Father that went beyond the religion induced law. David actually danced around behind the curtain enjoying the father with not much consequence. And Moses had face to face talk as a man talks with a friend.

In church on Sunday someone read the portion from Revelation about Jesus where he was so stunning you couldn't look on him fire and light etc wowwow. That for some reason was the most powerful part of the service. I was just bawling not even sure why...imagining that that one so fierce and stunning loves me so dearly...

I told Mary this morning on my way out the door. "Your earthly father sure messed up your take on the heavenly father but so did my religious concept of the father mess me up. He's not at all as I suspected...He really likes me, good or bad." Of coarse the reality is the goodness is all his. He is the one that makes me so attractive...

The best news of the whole thing is there is never again any groveling when I approach him...(That embarrasses him I think.) brokenness, no beating my chest, yes confessions from time to time and tears but such wonderful tears... I just climb right up there and have his full attention whenever I chose or remember and he is always attentive. He really likes me! I want to remember more often.

No I am never at a deficit when I approach, never have to go through a certain procedure, never have to look inward first to see if I measure up...never have to measure up, never again. I am his and he is mine! ( that was in the old covenant I think) I never have to wonder if i have been good or bad, he's not keeping track, why should I? I just get to be his son.

No more old covennant. That one was finished on the cross. Now we get to walk right in any time of the day or night, good or bad! Ain't it fun? His father became our father and we get to relate with him in the same way he did just as the father always wanted.

I can't suffer much else right now so don't tell me I might be wrong. I don't want to entertain that thought . I am enjoying this too much! haha!

  • Lloyd Douglas Clark my end of a conversation with a friend who was concerned I might be getting a little un-balanced...might need a little more wrath and firey indignation..maybe, but not right now thanks!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

We just moved!

We visited a church today near our new town. Mary and I now live in, Fairfax VA.  This group is relating with some of our personal heroes in the faith and we thought it would be fun....It was. There was much to be appreciated. It was also reminiscent. We have been there and done so much of that.

It has been three or four years since we began to come into a personal revelation of Father's love that has one by one challenged and then transformed religious bias's and lies that have been with us from childhood.

Little by little the process of The Word is taking effect in our lives and we are noticing transfiguration going on. It's kind of fun. It's quite super natural!

For instance. The Scripture, the hallowed scripture, that holy book is becoming my "favorite book". That was always something you were supposed to say but if asked now what my favorite book is, the one I will just pick up to read at leisure? I can honestly say it IS the Bible.....albeit for now in the Eugene Peterson's script "The Message". Who knows, I may get brave again some day and venture back to other varieties.

I don't use the words "The Word of God" though to describe it. The Word of God is our Fathers Son in the person of Jesus. There is a big difference and thankfully so. In fact most references to the "Word of God" in scripture are actually referring directly to the person of Jesus, the last and final word of God, the yes and amen of the Father in the embodiment of Christ.

Early on in this season I had gotten to a place where I couldn't read most of the scriptures. It was the end of the road. We had already left the institutional church 10 years earlier and now I was leaving most of the Bible out of my daily life except for "the promises". Everywhere else I read because of the colored lenses I was wearing only confirmed for me the utter impossibility of my ever measuring up. I didn't have the goods!

Almost 60 years of a mixture of Old and New Covenants had finally taken their toll and the shame introduced by religion, produced the schizophrenia between pretentious superiority and self loathing inferiority. Added to this mix was the never ending search for a father.

I read Jesus promises over and over, not venturing far from the Gospels. John was my favorite. He was also the Lords, or so he said...But for years Jesus words to his disciples on the night he was betrayed as shared by John were so confident and bold. I would tell the Lord (we were still on speaking terms) that those promises proclaimed so assuredly by Jesus to his disciples were as far away as the moon in my life. My life reflected precious little of the gold he had promised.

Today when the pastor said the answer for  a better year was to "spend more time in the Word of God", I actually cringed on his behalf. (He meant the Bible) He expressed his personal goal of reading the book through four times this year as well as 6 chapters from the psalms and one from the Proverbs daily.  Whew I hope it works! It will surely have some dividends. I just hope he has the right colored lens's on.

He also suggested that those in the audience who were not paying their fair share, I mean the tithe were under the curse, quoting the old covenant. And he invited them to find another place to fellowship lest this church, the one he pastored would also be cursed with them.

Now that is as far away from the truth as any thing I have ever heard. I was actually surprised at how old covenant this sounded to me. That was fun! Maybe I actually am changing.

I am not pointing these things out to be critical, only to demonstrate how far we all still have to go in becoming the New Covenant Saints He purchased at Calvary. And I'll bet that a year from now I'll be able to say this about some of the religion that is still in my own pores.

The new covenant is such good news! It's a never ending story about a father who loves us. Really loves us more than the religious will ever know. And when we mix the old with the new we leaven the whole loaf. The two are as far apart as the east is from the west. A little religion mixed in with grace is the spoiler. It kills! It steals. And it destroys!

The Gospel is the most freeing word in the universe and comes to us at great expense.
The Gospel is the ONLY route to a Glorious Life.
Good News to All People!

I really want to become this pastors friend.
Now that would be fun! Pray for us!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Keeping the commandments is a breeze!

I am fascinated with the Promises Jesus made in his short stint on earth….

Today in our small group I was reminded of this promise- “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” Isn’t that a fascinating promise? “If we get love the commandments are a breeze.”

And where does loving God come from? Can I drum it up?

Some of my brothers and sisters in the church have been concerned that maybe I am getting myself out of balance with all of this love talk. Greasy grace they call it. We need to talk about holiness they say. After all God is also a Holy God.

I suppose that could be a concern but “love growing cold” seems to be a bigger concern or maybe forgetting “first love”.

That’s a more legitimate concern. Because if I lose sight of the deep and real love of God for me, not keeping His commandments will be easy.

So my remedy for growing cold or losing first love is to immerse myself even more in the amazing love of God. This way you can’t lose for winning. Haha

If I forget my first love I will grow cold. And what is our first love? Am I to conjure up some original feelings or commitment? Paul said, “Herein is love, not that I have loved him but that he has loved me (first) and gave himself as the propitiation for my sin.”

Because of the cross I will never start from a position of brokenness again. Never!

Most of the church spends their time looking inward. I now am learning to live as a son. As a son I will never be broken again. I cannot unson myself. He loves me and has adopted me into his family and now every day I get to start there, as a son. 

I don’t start with a handicap! I’m no longer a wanna be. Because of Calvary I am the true legitimate son of a very good father!

Jesus first words to Mary were “Go tell my brothers that I ascend to my father and your father.” “Mission accomplished.”

“Go tell my brothers that the same relationship I enjoy with my father is now theirs to experience.” Hallelujah! (He may have said Hallelujah. It doesn’t say that but he still could have. I just felt like it was rightly placed when writing this and couldn’t help myself.)

He was on his way back to the Father and he just had to take a brief detour and stop off one more time at the tomb to pass this good news on to Mary. “Don’t slow me down Mary, got to go, but please pass this amazing news on to the brothers. It is finished; the work of Calvary is accomplished. My dad is now your dad. It’s all we have dreamed of since Adam and Eve screwed up. You will never be in the red again.”

“The fathers dream for sons and daughters is now fulfilled. I will now live in you and you will live in me and we will be one with the father.  You are my brothers and sisters and My relationship with dad is now Yours.”

“And now keeping the commandments is literally a breeze, my life in you, my breath in you, my Spirit within you…..again Hallelujah “

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Children are the fruit of Intimacy

Intimacy- Intimacy begins with knowing…knowing and being known…

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife.” That’s the way I remember it as a kid and that was when we would snicker. Intimacy is knowing and being known. And the fruit of intimacy is children. Cool aye?

Peter was with Jesus after the Lord had miraculously produced an alarming amount of fish (153 to be exact) on the other side of the boat. Pete had stripped down and dove into the water leaving the others to tend to the fish. A big grin crossed Jesus face. It doesn’t say that but I imagine that’s what happened.

And then Jesus not wasting any time asks the boisterous, cocky, lovable, insecure Peter if he “loved” him, using the Greek word “agape” for the word we just interpret as love. In other words “Peter do you love me with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength?  Peter are you measuring up to the greatest of the old covenant commandments?”

Peter had a very interesting and honest response. He had just betrayed the Lord. He responded using the lesser Greek word for love “Phileo”, meaning “I love you as a brother.” This has captured my interest for years.

Then Jesus asked again the same question the same way, pressing the point. “Do you love me the way I love you? Do you love me first and foremost?” giving Peter an opening that he would have normally jumped into with both feet. This time the question made him very uncomfortable and he didn’t take the bait. This was a different Peter.

Peter ignored the question and responded with kind of a yes but actually a no. “No I don’t love you with my heart, soul, mind and strength.” Yes I love you but I just betrayed you; so no but yes I do love you as a brother.  You are my best friend”

You may think I am making a big deal out of the Greek words used. You may think this rather irrelevant but hang with me a minute because Jesus didn’t quit. He asked once more. But this time he lowered the expectation and used the lesser expression of the word we interpret as love.  “Peter, do you love me as a brother?”

And Peter responded, “Lord, you KNOW ALL things, you KNOW me.” “You know I can’t use that word for love.  I actually used it last week when I swore I would never betray you and the light has come on.” “I finally know that the bar is higher than I can jump.” “Religion is such an empty suit and I can no longer suffer the pretentious Bastard that I have lived with my whole life. I am done with pretense.”

“You know me.”

Wow! For the first time in Peter’s life he realized the bar was way higher than his pay grade. He was finally honest about himself and at the same time he was finally allowing Jesus into the very deepest part of his being. He was now known; and from that place of intimacy and security he no longer had the need to perform and pretend.

He knew that Jesus knew and that was OK. He finally came to grips with who he was and who he wasn’t and discovered it was all Jesus ever expected from him. It was right then and there that he was invited into an intimacy with God he had never known. Jesus loved him as he was and in this moment he came to actually believe it.

And this knowing and being known changed every thing.

God was actually approachable; without Peter having to dress up. No more false humility. No more bragging. No more shame. No more inferiority. No more superiority! He was now fully known and from Jesus perspective, ready to feed sheep.  Children are the fruit of intimacy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012




These are not “acts of god”.

Those who speak such thing so minimize my work on the cross and speak from a position of lack; for what they have yet to experience personally. They are speaking from a perspective that came to an end on the cross. They are still living under the old covenant of death and have yet to encounter the fullness of my love for them and those around them. They do not speak for me and thus become an argument against me. They are minimizing what I have accomplished for themselves first and then for my creation.  Their words are a reflection of how they have misperceived my workings first towards themselves and then as to how I look at the world I have created. They do not understand my dream and passion for those I have created in my image and likeness.

The letter kills…the Spirit gives life.

In a period of about three hours on a cross two thousand years ago I myself in the body of my son became the absorbent of the biggest storm this world has ever experienced….so much bigger than Katrina or Sandy. My perfect son became the very thing, the evil and vile that has so destroyed the object of my affection.  I took on myself and became the very worst and ugliest of human kind in order to completely destroy its power forever.  My son Jesus in the most heroic act of love ever performed became the lightning rod where the full fury and wrath reserved for sin would once and for all time destroy its power over my creation. My wrath was poured out as judgment on the very thing that has so marred and deformed the dream conceived in my heart; the pinnacle of my creation; the beauty and the glory of mine own image in the created value of sons and daughters.

And in that one act of judgment the old covenant of death was replaced by the covenant of Life in and through my son. Jesus was nailed to the cross; he became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now because of that the air is cleared… Gal 3:14. “I was in Christ reconciling the world to myself, not imputing their trespasses against them”

 Be reconciled to God and then become reconcilers of men. Rise up in the authority of Christ and begin to speak against the storm and then watch as they begin to dissipate. You are my creation, created for good works. You are the biggest tool this world has for redemption and reconciliation. No longer join in with the voice of condemnation and judgment but become reconcilers of men. My son came into this world not imputing men’s sin on them but reconciling men unto myself. Be reconciled and then become reconcilers of men.

Because of the cross my people have now been given the authority of my son to speak on behalf of those lost in darkness as reconcilers of men not judgers of their hearts. First be reconciled to God and then become his work of reconciling men to their dad. I so love you and this world!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unless you HATE your Father and Mother...

Mary and I were looking through our lesson plan for the second week and asking the Lord what the scripture means  "Unless we hate mother, father, brother, son etc and even our own life we cannot be his disciple." and we were not settled on the typical approach of "love less"
....late in the night about 2:00 am I realized that he meant what he said...He didn't just mean "love less". He actually meant hate! And then he ended the story with if salt isn't salty it is isn't worth keeping, throw it out.

In other words he lifted the bar so high that it was impossible to jump. "What would it take to be a disciple of God? It would look like love to the max and hate to the max.... in other words it is impossible on human terms!

Kind of like when he said "It's easier to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom" The disciples looked and said "That's impossible" And they were right.

Or when he told the rich young ruler that the way to become an "insider" was to sell all and give everything away, then he could pull it off.
Or when he said "eat my flesh and drink my blood."
He was always raising the bar.

Discipleship with God is unattainable by "muster".
You can't make salt salty. It is or it isn't.
You can't muster trust. You either trust or you don't trust.

Trust is not the fruit of muster. And you can't follow someone you can't trust.
Trust is the fruit of love. If I KNOW beyond a shadow of doubt that I am loved I can then begin to trust.

Discipleship didn't initiate with the disciples. Jesus initiated it. "I saw you Philip when you were under the tree."
"What? You saw me? You must be the Messiah."

How can I prioritize my love for God over my family?
Spend more time in prayer with him than I spend with her?
Serve at church more than at home?
Bible reading?
Tell God I am willing to not marry her on our wedding day? LOL.
Strap a bomb to my chest?
What does it look like and when is it enough?

Loving God and discipleship is impossible! The terms are too high!

You can't become a disciple by muster or performance.
Loving God is unattainable without first being loved by him.
And discipleship is unattainable without being first loved by him.

Jesus said "Your all going to fall away and leave me alone. None of you has the muster and it's OK, Don't worry about it. I'm going to fix the problem"
"Not I" they all said as they all fled and left him alone.

In Fact after this failure Peter said "I'm going back to fishing for fish" so they fished all night and caught nothing.
Jesus appeared on the shore and didn't chide them for unbelief or for messed up priorities. He said "Cast your net on the other side and they caught a mess of fish.

Thankfully God is the initiator of discipleship.
Peter's immediate response was to leave the fish, jump into the water and swim to Jesus.

Prioritizing Jesus isn't the result of muster it is the natural response to super natural love.
And that's what happened on the cross!