Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happenings

Wishing there was more hours in the day… I started a new book called, Ethics of Freedom by Jacques Ellul, though I just started it, it is beginning to open my eyes to so many things. I asked Father today that he would open my mind up to understand this in a deep and filled way. It seems to be very complex, and I have a tendency to give up way too early on things that take more brain power than I want to bring forth. Lately though since getting this book, I have wanted to understand things that are difficult or complex that will challenge my knowledge, but at the same time grow me and teach me things that will be with me for the rest of my days.

Today my great Grandmother past away; she was 95 years old. It was time for her to go though because she suffered for a while with being weak and dealt with a lot of pain. She got really sick like three months ago and they took her to the hospital and from that point on, she has been going downhill. In many ways, it has relieved my mom and grandma from taking care of her full-time. It has been difficult to say the least. I was able to see her last Sunday and asked her how she was doing, and all I could hear her say was, “I am happy”. That gives me peace that she is no longer in pain or striving to live when she knows her time is up. It is so hard to watch someone go through the dying process especially when she seemed to be holding on for dear life. It’s so weird to think that she is no longer going to be there when I go down next time to visit my family. It kind of reminds me of when my dad died. After he passed, going home was the strangest things in the world, to think that we would be going home without him. His presence would no longer accompany us. My grandmother was a Jehovah’s Witness. She knew what the bible said blindfolded, and only in the ways that this religion understands it. It sickens me to no end, that what if my Grandma only knew was this religion, and she really never got to have a relationship with Father? Sometimes I have to wonder if religion is a sin. If it has the power to keep us away from truly having a conscious relationship with Father and to know who He truly is in our lives. All the rest of the stuff, regardless of the ‘belief’ can keep us away from Father. I pondered on that thought today after I heard of my Grandmother’s passing. It is with great disdain to see religion be put on a pedestal and to see mere humans bow down to its demands. What emptiness will be found when this life is all said and done. I have a hard time getting that people are easily persuaded to sell their souls to a religious entity, or system. It saddens me to no end seeing my Grandma in this way and deep down inside I knew she was not a really happy person, and treated her daughter, which is my grandma very bad sometimes. Her religious agenda’s and things she strive for in this life only left her empty and dry at the end of her life. I have great hope that Father will still give her a chance to get to know him, but we only live once, and to see it pass by so quickly opens my eyes to how precious our time here on earth is. I want to gain and understand who Father is the more I realize how short of a time I will be here on earth. Well, this wraps up my thoughts for the evening.

More thoughts will come I assure you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free To Speak



Have you ever been in a conversation with people, and when you feel the freedom to speak, all you get is blank stares and only hear crickets in the background? I have, and sometimes I have to wonder why…

There are times when people will come up to me or send me an email that sounds like they are wanting to open up and have a dialogue with me about deep stuff usually regarding faith and things of Father, and when I pursue the conversation there are times when all I hear are crickets. I then become confused, and wonder if my openness and realness has scared them away, or maybe I wasn’t reading the ‘signs’ correctly and they really didn’t want to hear what I had to say… I wonder why this is. I am not a pushy or scary person to talk to I don’t think. I will for the most part wait until someone will come to me and start a conversation, or people will comment on my blogs or things I put up on facebook and then will engaged in conversation… I love to converse with people, it is one of my favorite things, but sometimes, it seems like when I do get chances to talk; when I share openly and honestly about where I am, this will produce false accusations against the openness and realness that I share; and in the end causes the conversations to be no more… I have always been a people pleasure, never did I want to offend anyone by the way I thought or felt about things, so I would never ever speak my mind, and where I am just in case some would not like what I had to say… I have obviously overcome this weakness, and a fear of rejection, or I don’t think I would be writing any blogs or things on facebook, let alone this post. Here is a great passage of scripture that a friend of mine reminded me of.

The Message, Galatians 2

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

I am done trying to say all the right things or do the right things in order to gain people’s approval of me. I honestly could care less of what people think of me, but it has been a long time coming, and something within me Father had to take out for me to get me to this place where I am now. Therefore, it is for Freedom that Christ has set me free!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Systems Can't Control Me



I just heard someone recently compare church buildings to hospitals. This person said it is a place where people get help when their sick, but to me, I think that is a horrible analogy because in the same sense, that is where a lot of death happens. My dad died in a hospital and that place isn't a place that I have experienced life in that much. When one is sick and the doctors in the hospitals can no longer cure or fix the problems, then what is the point of staying in the hospital?! In the same sense, why stay in an organized religious system if you only find spiritual deadness there? Of course people would say that it is the ‘individuals' fault that he/she is not growing or experiencing spiritual life with God, but to be honest, it usually isn't the individual who has the problem but the system itself is so screwed up that instead of it adding life to you, it takes life from you and causes one to become spiritually dead. It is so easy to rely on systems to do everything for us. We rely on the health care ‘system’ to cure us, we rely on organized religious systems to spiritually cure us, and there are many other systems that we rely on in order to survive in this world… The world is built up with systems that are supposed to take responsibility for us, and that is something I personally want to stay far away from because the more dependent we are on the world, the more power the world has to take away my freedom, and freedom is something that is irreplaceable if I lose it.

There is a quote I read recently from Jacques Ellul; "If there is one value which I regard as most important, it is freedom." "Nothing I have done experienced, or thought makes sense if it is not considered in the light of freedom." This quote is so profound because it speaks of so much truth in regards to what I have not experienced when relying on systematic boxes!

“Religion inevitably enslaves people, demanding static conformism, and developing into a bureaucratic machine. The Church has professed to liberate people, but it has most often fettered and crushed them, serving historically as the enemy of freedom, and the agent of necessity, oppression and intolerance. The Revelation of God in Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is a dynamic investiture of the Divine "Wholly Other" into man's situation ¬ the very opposite of religion.”

This is something I just read recently when I was learning more about Jacques Ellul and his writings. This quote is so profound that it touches me to the core. Systems weren’t designed to free us, but to enslave us, especially when we become fully dependent on them than God himself. Any system is a horrible substitute to knowing Jesus personally and not becoming co-dependent of Father himself. I am not willing to give up my freedom, no way, no how!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Labels Make Us Forget Who We Really Are!



Getting caught up in labels I think makes us forget who we really are... Our identity becomes entrenched in the label that is given to us that we lose sight of what is more important. What is even worse if having labels within a label of what we believe and what we do. I have a problem that the label Christian does not emphasize enough on who we actually are in Father. And what doesn't even make any sense to me is that there are certain kind of Christians. Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, and more. I had a friend the other day tell me that she grew up a Methodist, and right after she told me that she asked me, "what does that even mean?" I have the same questions for all of those denominations... I think the only thing that separates all of these 'different' Christians, is their rules they live by. non-denominations and denominations seem to be more similar than one would think. They both have their 'own' agenda's and within their own agenda's seem to put wedges of space among all the 'denominations and non-denominations' who claim to be Christian. There are probably arguments about what 'denomination' or non-denomination are the 'right' ones, but, here's the catch... Those who are labeled something different than what we label ourselves, seem to throw the 'others' out of what we view as Christian or those who are off. Why can't we just forget about stupid labels and focus on what the real purpose is. God does not use labels to separate his body. Yes, his body does have different parts that do different things, but, the arm is not better than the leg, they are connected to the same body, and Father does not favor any label or another. His people are his people, and the entire purpose of being a 'Christian' is being in relationship with the Father, and nothing is more important than that! Not sure if anyone has come up with a 'label' for me yet, but whatever they call me, does not and will not ever explain my heart or my relationship with Father to the full capacity or even come close to where I am. The only thing I am interested in is my relationship with God, and that to me does NOT need a label or a title or name to present itself... It is what it is.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Re-Cap of Thoughts About God's Compelling Love




Embracing God's love washes away sin. John 15 says if we obey his commands, you remain in my love. I think a lot of people misunderstand this scripture, we can't earn his love, he will love us when we choose to do our own thing, but the best part of this is the reason why his love is free, is because he is inviting us to something more, His love will wash us clean because He desires to be close to us and through that if we are willing, we become transformed. We have a sympathetic High Priest, Jesus is ready to walk with us to His Father when we are ready, and He is not pushy or demanding.

Religious obligation destroys holiness, instead of holiness being the gift of God to teach us to live in him rightly related as a loved child, that gets tarnished in to thinking that we have to follow all these stupid rules and if not we don’t we are going to get slapped hard for it. Holiness by obligation is a frustration, but holiness as a gift of living right and living inside the reality of God’s love, there’s nothing onerous about that, I want to live in that space. God’s love is not separated from truth. It’s like the old covenant could confront us with truth, but couldn’t win the love in our life. Not until Jesus went to the cross is when we were able to open our eyes to the love and truth that are now both expressed through his love and desire he has for us. The misunderstanding of grace is God forgives sin that cannot transform us; forgiveness would become so inadequate if it didn’t have the power to transform us. His love produces a desire inside me to live in a higher purpose and a higher unfolding grace, not to take advantage of or continue to do my own thing, but to embrace His love is where the fullness of joy is. It overruns my life and that is how it becomes so compelling and not demanding.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Love is Enough!



I think there is a lot who think that to be completely loved by the Father; we must do things to win his love or approval. We must accomplish things that Christians are supposed to accomplish, like attending a church building, evangelize to add to the Kingdom, and the list goes on… I think if we truly want to know what Father’s love is like, we need to stop trying to ‘do’ anything and learn how to just be content in learning how to live loved without doing anything. I think some may find this to be a little foreign, but once they see this for what it really is, my hope is that the light will go on. I have had some great in depth discussions on facebook about evangelism, and quoting scripture, and the thing that I have mostly heard is if we ‘do’ these things according to how we were taught and according to certain scriptures as they are perceived, then we will be loved. Though it doesn’t seem like love is enough, and it seems that some think there is always something more we have to accomplish in order to be completely loved by the Father. This kind of mentality of thinking I think just becomes more about what we ‘do’ and less about living loved by Father and loving others. If I am not mistaken, I think the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. The rest is pretty trivial to this… I really believe that if people will stop trying so hard to please God according to their to do lists than I think they will find rest when they put down their efforts and just learn how to live loved that will bring about so much more peace, and fulfillment. Love is enough, if we only have eyes to see that it can and will accomplish way more than our efforts can ever put forth. More thoughts to come in relation to this post…

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Resurrection = LIFE

As Resurrection Day is vastly approaching; I thought it would be appropriate to write about what I find to be the most important thing about Resurrection Day weekend. I find it odd that it seems like a lot of believers glorify His death over His life He has given to us. It is easy to get caught up in how He died, and how gruesome His death was. I find why people seem to be attracted to His death over Him coming alive again. It seems that it is another guilt trip to get all bent out of shape over and to feel really horrible because He did not deserve any of which He suffered. I totally see how that can be hard to not give attention to, however, it seems that in every movie, play or anything that I have seen around this time of year is always focused on the death and rarely emphasizes on Him coming back to life, hence the resurrection of Jesus. Like in Passion of the Christ, the entire film was about what happened leading up to Jesus dying on the cross and the biggest scene of the movie was Him dying on the cross, and only showed a brief part of Him rising from the dead at the very end scene! I sense that this focus seems to be a bit off. I am in no way disregarding what Jesus suffered for us; however, I think the entire thought of Him dying would have been for nothing if He wouldn’t have come alive again. He died so that we may live, but that doesn’t mean that He is still dead, He was raised up and for our sake so that we may have a real live relationship with Him. It is something that doesn’t get enough attention in Christian circles today, so it seems. His life is something I thrive on. His life is the reason why I live today. It wasn’t just because he died, but because He lives.

The word, Resurrection means:

1.the act of rising from the dead.

2.(initial capital letter ) the rising of Christ after His death and burial.

3.(initial capital letter ) the rising of the dead on Judgment Day.

4.the state of those risen from the dead.

5.a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival.

6.Christian Science. a rising above mortality through the understanding of spiritual life as demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

Found on dictionary.com

Other words that I have found that are in correlation to the word, Resurrection: rebirth, revivification, reappearance, restoration, renewal, resurgence, revitalization. All of these words are about life, not about death… It is the reason why He died is to bring us life in Him. I find that His life is something that needs to be reflected on and I want to take it all in this weekend when I ponder on His life that He has given me, and be eternally grateful and honored that He calls me His.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Christian Evangelism - Is It Really Effective?



In the last couple of days I have been thinking about evangelism and about how its been done for decades. In a recent study, it has been proven that traditional evangelism is short lived and does not effectively work for lasting God-relational results... If people in general are interested in straight forward relationships with people, than why doesn't evangelism stem from cultivating relationships with each other and God then coming from a place where we feel we have to convince people of God and shove guilt down their throats if they aren't convinced, or in the same sense demand that they go to church or Bible study with us... To me, these kind of active evangelism tactics just lead to a dead end from the beginning and does not produce lasting and effective results.

Here is something from the book, Unchristian, that has really opened my eyes to how traditional evangelism has become more damaging than anything else.

"In asking about how Christians come across to people, we interviewed Steven, a thirty-four-year-old who moved to New York from Phoenix. During the interview, he described his initial excitement when he met a peer in an unfamiliar city. 'A young guy approached me in a subway station once, friendly, full of questions, interested in talking. He seemed really nice, and I couldn't believe that a New Yorker was being so, well, nice! We exchanged numbers and said we'd hang out sometime. Next time I heard from him, he invited me to a Bible study, and that was all he wanted to talk about. When I said, 'No thanks,' I never heard from him again.' Rather than being genuinely interested in people for their friendship, we often seem like spiritual headhunters."

So, the traditional evangelism tactics that we Christians were trained to use on people are obviously not working, and the saddest part about this is many Christians seem to be more concerned in converting people than building lasting relationships.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Holy Spirit Speaks



This post is referring to a comment that was left a couple of posts ago in regards to why I don’t reference scripture. First of all, I have to be completely honest with everyone and anyone who feels welcome to come here and read what my heart has to say! I base my relationship with Father God not strictly on what the bible says… He is more real to me than what the bible says… To me, the bible is just a reference, and of course truth exists in the midst of it, however, life with Father is much more than words to me, or stories from long ago. He is a living being that desires life with me, and I find that to be very real outside of reading or referencing scripture… There are times of course that Father will bring a scripture or verse to mind, but, I depend more on the living nature of God, meaning the Holy Spirits words that are spoken directly to me from Him. Some may find this to be dangerous, but, if I am correct His word and the words in the bible do not and will not contradict each other because they are the same. He is the same today, tomorrow and for eternity! Father has so much to tell each and everyone of us, if we only will wait and listen to what He is telling us... I believe He does and will use the bible to speak to many, but, if we disregard His spiritual voice, than we may be missing a lot of what we can get out of being in relationship with Him! If you listen, He will speak!