Created for relationship

May 20, 2007

“It is for this one reason – dynamic relationship – that the human species was created.  We were designed by God for God.  God created us out of the love relationship of the divine, and Adam and Eve were the offspring of that love.  God created Adam and Eve so that there could be a relationship on Earth between humans and God like that in the heavens among the Godhead itself.  If heaven is defined as union with God, then eternity is a relationship
Eden.

Sin is not primarily rebellion against God’s laws or an assault on moral principles.  Sin is an offense because it violates our relationship with God….God wants our obedience in the context of a relationship – which far exceeds unthinking obedience played out in a vacuum.  God wants our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our souls.  God wants our love.

….

God created us for two-way conversations – for full-blown, no-holds-barred conversations.  God wants us to be fully engaged in the exchange.”

 

Leonard Sweet

“Out of the Question…Into the Mystery”

Waterbrook, 2004

pg 54


Beyond a cause

May 19, 2007

‘I’m asking Yahweh for one thing,Only one thing:To live with him in his house my whole life long.I’ll contemplate his beauty;I’ll study at his feet’.

David 

Only one thing? 

‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gainfor I determined not to know anything among youexcept Jesus Christ and Him crucified’.‘I count all things loss….That I may know Him’. Paul  ‘Come to me oh you who labour and are heavily laden’.

Jesus.

 ‘Incline your ear and come to Me; hear and your soul shall live. Listen diligently to Me and eat what is good and your soul shall delight itself in abundance’.

Isaiah on behalf of Jesus.  These were men who knew what they were talking about. Both Paul and Isaiah saw God and had a profound change happen in their lives. Jesus’ focus was already in the right place. He didn’t have to be turned away from anything because He only lived for His Father. Both the other gentlemen had to develop a new focus. They had to be turned through an experience that opened their eyes. I am not talking about conversion as in becoming born again; I am talking about conversion as in a change of focus.Paul was pursuing a cause that consumed his life. When he saw God, everything changed. David was a man who was after the heart of God: ‘only one thing mattered’.The fight for a cause, whether it is evangelism for the Evangelicals, believers baptism for the Baptists, the Holy Spirit for the Pentecostals, the gifts, prophecy and healing for the Charismatics or the wineskin (how we are different) for the Emergents, can be a lonely road. I have lost my focus every time when I tried to find my way in the fog of reasoning and conversation about any of these topics. It cost me much lost time and effort and very nearly killed me through burn out.

I am an ‘evangelical, Spirit filled, baptized, prophetic, post modern emerging Christian’ who found his goal and fulfillment in the last word of the description.Our quest is still in our deepest being to find out who we are. We need identity and it is easier to identify with a cause, a philosophy or a physical structure than with a person we can’t see or feel. So I want to become ‘a Post Modernist’ or an ‘Evangelical’ or a ‘Pentecostal’, or a ‘Catholic’ or for that matter if it is relevant, ‘a Gay’, because then I can be part of a group that gives me some form of acceptance and safety in the fact that we are different and together in our difference.

We can have only one identity and that is Christ. We should only be seeking our new identity in Him. Our lives and our conversation should be about Him if we believe that Paul, David, Isaiah and Jesus had something valid to say: ‘only one thing do I seek…’ I have discovered after many years of journeying what St. Augustine meant when he said, ‘Too late loved I thee, O Thou beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved Thee! And behold, Thou wert within and I abroad and there I searched for Thee; deformed I, plunging amid those fair forms which Thou hast made. Thou wert with me but I was not with Thee. When I shall with my whole soul cleave to Thee, I shall nowhere have sorrow or labour, and my life shall live as wholly full of Thee’.

Is this the practical outworking of Rollins’ statement (pg 56)?

“Truth is God, and having knowledge of the Truth is evidenced not in a doctrinal statement, but in allowing that Truth to be incarnated in one’s life.” 


The Bible Story = Love

May 12, 2007

What is the Bible, Anyway?

“The Scriptures are many things – letters, parables, sermons, poems, histories, biographies, liturgies, songs. But behind all these multiple literary genres, the backdrop of everything is the greatest love story ever told. What if God means for all of Scripture to be God’s love story to us? What if God never intended the Bible to be strip-mined for propositions, or dissected and analyzed like a stiff leopard frog pulled from a bottle of formaldehyde? What if God never wanted the Bible to be turned into an interesting library of varied and profound literature or a stringent code of conduct?
What if the Bible instead is our shoebox full of love letters, our living library of family scrapbooks and diaries that connect us to our ancestors, helping us know them so we can know ourselves and understand what our family name stands for. What if it’s our storyboard of relationships from which we learn how to form friendships and deal with the people and problems we encounter?
The Bible is best read as a love letter from God, not a question book or an answer book, not a systematic theology or a scientific textbook or a dogmatics dictionary. The main subject of the Bible is God’s relationship with what God most loves – God’s creation and creatures….The source of our identity as Christians is a love story – or more accurately, a collection of love stories simple enough to be read by children, complex enough to elude total human comprehension….The Christian message is not a timeless tablet of moral principles or a code of metaphysics. The Christian message is the greatest love story ever told of love come down from heaven to earth, a love so vast and victorious that even hatred could not keep it down.”

Dr. Leonard Sweet
Out of the Question…Into the Mystery
Waterbrook Press, 2004
pgs. 73-74


The Oddness of Christianity

May 12, 2007

“What characterizes Christianity in the modern world is its oddness. Christianity is home for people who are out of step, unfashionable, unconventional, and countercultural. As Peter says, ‘strangers and aliens.’
Churches are not glistening cathedrals filled exclusively with beautiful Cinderellas. Churches are noisy, rollicking madhouses filled with yelping, dancing, barking pigs who follow the real Cinderella wherever he goes. Churches are not awe inspiring; they are odd inspiring, attracting an earthly assortment of Jesus’ followers. The stained glass is extraordinary, but it is also covered with ordinary fingerprints. Dirt from the field is scattered on the glistening marble sanctuary floors. Hanging in the air throughout the cathedral of Christ is the heavenly smell of incense mingled with the piggy fragrance of sweaty, commonplace messy disciples.”

Michael Yaconelli
Messy Spirituality: God’s Annoying Love for Imperfect People
Zondervan, 2002
76-77


Christian Academics v. ‘Pracidemics’

May 1, 2007

While getting ready for work today, the following thoughts came to me… The church and Christian learning institutions need to move from the academics to ‘pracidemics’ – a new word indicating the experiential learning and application of christian-ministerial-life practices. Why?

• Jesus is not a subject to be studied as much as He is a Person to be engaged with in intimacy and taught by through partnership in doing His works.

• Jesus is not to be a ‘pulpit puppet’ – a subject used to entertain and mesmerize congregations through fancy sermonizing; rather, He is a loving ‘minister’ of every church and wants to be revealed as such to all and through all who are there to find Him and minister with Him.

• Christian ministry is not a collection of theoretical principles to be learned in a vacuum, but rather an applicational life-style of those principles to be lived through a partnership with the One Who will teach us as we “go into all the world.”

• Learning about Jesus should lead us to leaning on Jesus, for it is in the place of resting on His breast that we will find the love, power, and encouragement, both for our own lives as well as for the lives of those we are to touch with His presence.

enough musings for now. Coffee time. Frank


Jesus’ Prayer Life

April 28, 2007

“Jesus prayed primarily because he loved his Father.  Praise, adoration, thanksgiving, intercession, and petition emanated from his profound consciousness of being bonded to the transcendent God in filial intimacy.  His personal experience of Yahweh Sabaoth as a loving Father shaped not only his self-understanding but, like a knife slashing through wallpaper, brought a dramatic breaththrough into undreamed-of intimacy with God in prayer.  Childlike candor, boundless trust, easy familiarity, deep reverence, joyful dependence, unflagging obedience, unmistakable tenderness, and an innate sense of belonging characterized Jesus’ prayer.”

 

Brennan Manning

A Glimpse of Jesus

Harper, 2003

pg 84


The Need of Our Time

April 25, 2007

“The greatest need of our time is for the church to become what it has seldom been: the body of Christ with it’s face to the world, loving others regardless of religion or culture, pouring itself out in a life of service, offering hope to a frightened world, and presenting itself as a real alternative to the cultural arrangement….

I want neither a blood-‘n’-guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero; nor a speculative religion that would imprison the gospel in the halls of academia; nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion.  I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst….

At the dawning of the twenty-first century, what separates the committed from the uncommitted is the depth and quality of our love for Jesus Christ. The superficial among us build bigger barns in the euphoria of a prosperity gospel; the trendy follow the latest fad and try to hum their way to heaven; the defeated are haunted by ghosts from the past.

But the victorious minority, unintimidated by the cultural patterns of the lockstepping majority, live and celebrate as though Jesus were near – near in time, near in space – the witness of our motives, our speech, and our behavior.  And indeed he is.”

Brennan Manning

The Signature of Jesus

Multnomah Publishers, 1996

pgs. 9-11


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