Our Narrative – True or False

images“In order for me to feel good about me, I need to know that you feel good about me.”

True or False?

“My self-worth is dependent upon the approval of certain important persons in my life.”

True or False?

“People seem to approve of me when I do well.”

True or False?

“I need to perform, reach certain standards, for the approval of certain others.”

True or False?

“When I fail, I deserve to be punished.”

True or False?

“I am who I am; I cannot change.”

True or False?

Did you experience any “true” answers to the above questions? I hope not, but I also know during periods of my life I would have answered some of them as true…totally. But, we can’t just answer “false” and not have a basis of truth in our lives. How would we answer these questions in light of God’s truth?

images-7For the first two questions the answer is: reconciliation. To reconcile means to go from an unacceptable state to an acceptable state. Christ has done that work by first accepting us. (Romans 15:7)

images-3The next two have an answer as well: justification. Before my performance, I am justified. To be justified means that I am forgiven of my sin; I am free from my shame and my guilt and I am in right standing with God. Again, not because of what I have done or can do, but because of what Christ has done. (Romans 3:21-28; 5:1; II Corinthians 5:21)

images-6We all deserve punishment, however Christ took that punishment for our past, present and future sin upon Himself and that’s called: propitiation. Propitiation is when God placed His Son upon the cross for us to make atonement forever. (I John 4:9, 10, 18)

images-2Lastly, I can change. I am not up for a vote. The answer to change is: regeneration. Robert McGee once said that who you think you should be is less than who you already are. To be regenerated is to become a new creation. To become born again is to get to start over and participate in His divine nature. (II Corinthians 5:17)

Encouragement, Issues of the Day

Jesus and Church: Radical and Uncontainable

I have never used another’s blog before, but when I read this I felt like all those who read my blog would truly enjoy this one from the Simple Church Journal.  It is Jesus!  Enjoy and tell us what you think by commenting.

images-3This is a blog about “church,” so-to-speak, but maybe we miss the mark a bit if we don’t keep putting the focus back on the One who precedes the church and everything else. The church is, no doubt, meant to be a much more radical movement than we have understood it to be. How much more important is it for us to see that Jesus, the head of the church, is a far more radical man/God than we can even begin to understand. He is the One we, His church, are designed to imitate. Perhaps if we get Jesus right, and our imitation of Him in keeping with who He is, we will naturally get church right.

Jesus is so… much… more than we can begin to define in a few words, or thoughts, or even a lifetime of both.

He is uncontainable, unpredictable, unorthodox, and unconventional. As soon as someone would try to put Him in a box, He would break the mold. If you thought He was meek, He would pick up a whip. If you thought He was kosher, He would start talking about other people eating his flesh. If you thought He was a paragon of mercy, He would pronounce woes and judgements.

But wait! If you asked Him to condemn a sinful woman, He proclaimed forgiveness and grace. If you told Him a man was a tax-collecting thief, he loved him all the more. If you nailed Him to a cross, He prayed for you.

He was (and is) radically and completely God… living above the expectations of others, the mores of his culture, and the rules of society. Tell Him that the Sabbath was for resting, and He would work. Tell Him not to touch lepers, and He would hold and heal them. Tell him not to socialize with Samaritans, and He would deliberately converse with a Samaritan woman.

He marched to His own drumbeat. He lived with a vision set only on kingdom. He walked out of a perspective that never placed value on temporal things. He was not of this world and every moment that He lived and word that He spoke portrayed this.

Do we really even know who He is, really? How honestly are we willing to look at Him knowing that our calling is to imitate Him and be like Him?images-2

I’m just thinking that if we kept our focus really on Him, every church, house church, simple church, and mega-church would be absolutely, thoroughly, and completely transformed and turned upside down in more ways than we can imagine merely by the irresistible force of the life of Jesus pulsing through His imitators.

– Simple Church Journal

Marriage, Postmarital, Prayer

Healthy Sex Within Your Marriage Can Help Create a Healthy Prayer Life Together

imagesIn I Corinthians 7:5 the Apostle Paul tells us that abstinence within marriage will distract us from a healthy prayer life as a couple. Many read this verse to mean that having sex as a married couple will actually distract us from prayer, but I believe just the opposite is true.   Author Gary Thomas says it this way, “Use marriage the way God intended it. Meet your sexual needs by making love to your spouse. Then your mind and soul will be more open to prayer.”images-2


Our sex drive is biological and our prayer drive is spiritual, but when a couple is unselfishly meeting one another’s sexual desires the intimacy of prayer becomes more inviting, easier to engage in and even more complementary. When the sexual union and the spiritual union are connected in a harmonizing manner, you will find fewer disagreements and fewer attempts at nit-picking with your spouse. Both prayer and sex are gifts from God and that’s why the enemy attempts to inhibit them in marriage. These two areas alone, connected and sanctioned by God, should make the Christ centered marriage even more inviting.images-3

Encouragement, Issues of the Day

Protecting Ourselves from Possible Hurt

imagesHow common is it to attempt to protect yourself from pain and hurt? It seems to be a natural human reaction to back away from something that we interpret as painful or possibly painful in the future. It can block us from making healthy decisions for today and tomorrow. Most of us have an aversion to emotional pain, but avoidance may not be the best method for personal growth. As you and I look back over our lives, we often discover that it is the most painful or emotionally difficult times in our past in which we grew the most. And, to avoid these times or to run from them could actually stunt our personal growth.

How so? In the good and trouble-free times we tend to have less dependence upon God. We may even tend to live more carefree, but when we are anxious or worried about something we can begin to tell ourselves inaccurate scenarios and outcomes, e.g., projected thoughts of possible harm. It is at this point where we make a decision to avoid  pain or determine to face the issue(s), trust God and grow through them. Armed with love, compassion and respect for others and yourself, speaking the truth, as you understand it and not backing away from painful situations, will be a far more mature response and guaranteed to create a greater level of personal depth in character and growth.images-4

I encountered a personal situation several years ago where I had the opportunity to avoid (thinking I would avoid any self-projected pain) a tenuous situation or to confront it. The leader would determine the end result in that he could accept or reject my efforts toward reconciliation. I spoke the truth, as I understood it with plenty of questions and ample opportunity for the other party to respond. Instead, he chose to ignore my reaching out to him and not respond. I gave the situation some time and then tried again and once again there was no response. I felt that I did what God required of me by asking for forgiveness of hurts I caused and then chose to let the situation in God’s hands.  The hurt for me was not completely avoided, but I knew that following through with what God expected of me would certainly decrease the possibility of a deeper wound.

(Note: Sending this out a bit early due to the 4th of July holiday.  Have a wonderful weekend!)