Why you would ever share your beliefs

Went evangelizing the other day, for the first time in like 3 years. It was with some old and new friends in Nashville who wanted to hand out food and share Christ with people in the Nashville Projects. As we went, I was kind of in a pickle because during the years I hadn’t outwardly shared my beliefs, I’d been accumulating doubts and dealing trust issues with God, and the questions reeled at me:

Do you really have anything to offer these people besides food? The words you tell them–do they have real power? Are they relevant? True? Does the gospel apply to these people and does it tangibly help them, or are you just throwing words at them so they’ll join your (or your parents’) religious club?
It was a stark reality check: there is a reality we have inside church and there’s a reality that exists outside those walls (everywhere else), and if the reality in church can’t apply to the reality outside church, then I have a fairy tail religion and I need to wake up.

But I am awake, and truth spoken in church does work outside the church, and this is why:
The gospel is not just words; it’s food for our souls. Just like the people at the Projects were hungry, we are all hungry souls scavenging for purpose, belonging, worth, forgiveness, healing. Every day we nibble on this and that: things and people that let us know we’re all right, tell us we belong. We’re eating, and we may think we’re all right, but if we are not eating truth, we are still starving and maybe even dead inside.
The truth: the gospel tells us our situation, about this world, about an extremely powerful, inventive, complex, destroying and creating God, tells us about our value to God, about a wall that was put up between us and God, about Jesus who spent time here to prove God loves us, who had the power to break down the separation wall for us, who made it so whoever receives him has family access to God again, who gives those people his spirit to guide and put new desires in them, who is working all situations together for our good, who seals those people–faults and all–for himself after they die. That’s the truth.
When you get a chance, check out this 5 minute video, an artistic rendition of our story that blew my mind and fed my soul.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
  • Disciplined Bible intake gives me a daily dose of the gospel, which is a daily dose of power to live, because it gives me words, promises, realities I can live in, which render despair and fear powerless.
  • Disciplined worship lets this mouth and these lungs and this mind to be actively giving thanks, actively responding to good and great things God actively doing. I can’t complain and be grateful at the same time.

I’m learning that there are some good habits that no amount of teaching can convince us to take up; we must first fail so much without them that we have to choose between accepting a lifestyle of failure and trying the darned habit.

 

  • The darned habit for me is discipline: doing what you don’t feel like doing so that the good you want to happen can happen.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The rest of my life

There is so much more in me than I am exploring. Inside me! There is musical talent, cinematic potential, friendships still on the surface, waiting to become great friendships; and outside, there are places to be lived in, foods to taste, love to be poured out, self-conquering to achieve, a God and all his treasures to be had. I’m settling for the shore when I could be diving deep into emerald waters of adventure.

Sleep earlier.

Get up earlier.

Put down the phone, apps, etc.

Pick up a good book and practice what you learn.

Look at people in the eye and look into them, and understand.

Invest in people. Give.

Go.

Live somewhere else.

Do something else.

Do violence against laziness, so your talent can turn into something amazing.

Do when you don’t feel like doing. There is gold at the other end of that doubt.

Reveal your true nature, and BASK in it.

Be still.

Be God’s.

Be God’s progeny spreading out through this world.

Be love, everywhere, in everything and everyone you touch.

Love recklessly.

Love without making distinction.

Create awful music and videos and dances and sentences.

Keep creating. It will become great.

Learn new languages.

Have a wide open perspective.

Live in another country.

Take risks.

Try harder.

Die trying.

Do NOT give up.

Don’t get stuck.

Take the fastest, most violent path to get un-stuck as soon as possible.

Grow financially and emotionally and spiritually and physically strong.

Make good habits.

Be fanatically diligent with good habits.

Reap.

Enjoy.

Repeat.

Stop looking at what you don’t have.

Stop being a slave to need.

Use what you have to make amazing things.

Use it all.

Leave it all on the dance floor–on this moment, on this chair, doing this thing.

Be passionate about living well.

Be.

You are loved.

You are free.

You are made pure.

So be it all and do it all.

Stop selling yourself short.

Invest in better things.

Invest in the best things.

There is life to be had.

Get it.

Get it.

Get it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2 Misconceptions and 2 Breakthroughs

Image

Two common misconceptions I’m being freed from:

1. Humanism in suffering: I am the highest authority, the wisest, the one with the best judgment, so that when I’m facing this difficulty or when God doesn’t prevent situations like Boston, I can conclude that God is neglectful, or powerless, or dumb.

WRONG! Where were you when God made the planet? Were you his adviser when he made the seasons, or the stars, or the eco systems? Are your plans wiser than his? We need to get off the God chair.

Can we really make calls on what God is doing, and really call him evil just because he doesn’t do things like we do, when we don’t know all the facts? Take this for a fact: with historical events proving his deity, God made himself vulnerable to humans, walked with humans, healed and fed humans, exchanged his innocent life for the life of guilty humans. Jesus, clear as day, shows the kind of person God is, and the plans he is orchestrating.

2. (For Christians) – God cannot love me while I still have sin in my life. I have to remove this bad habit (and every bad habit) right now before I can feel I’m in God’s favor again.

WRONG. That makes no sense. That would mean God initially understands and allows imperfections when he first brings you to an understanding of him (the gospel), but then demands immediate perfection once you’re committed and trying to follow him. That would mean you start by grace but have to carry yourself the rest of the way. No. You still have sin in your life, and that’s normal, and Christ’s blood covers that. Christ died once for all, and now there is no more sacrificing for sin. You are a new creation, and he is working your old nature out of you over time. In the meantime, he is 100% for you during and after every grizzly sinful moment. In Christ, God is your DAD, not your dictator.

Think about Jesus and Peter. Peter becomes Jesus’ disciple. Along the way, Peter says he’ll never deny Jesus, but he denies AND abandons Jesus in Jesus’ hour of need. Then think of Jesus’ interaction with Peter at the shore, after Jesus’ return, when Peter had abandoned the disciple lifestyle and gone back to fishing. Jesus made Peter breakfast, and pointed him in the right direction in a loving way. Not fury, not hate or disgust–just love.

Praise God. I feel shackles dropping and my hands and feet being freed to love God and people, not out of fear or while ignoring facts, but doing so because it MAKES SENSE! 🙂 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Letting Yourself Be Loved

Image

Beginning to admit that it’s hard for me to accept kindness from people. If I’m low on cash and someone offers to pay for me, I’ll often try to find a way to not make them pay, or promise them I’ll hit them back soon so we’re “even” again. It’s awkward to just accept kindness and let it be. I think it’s the same way with us and God. It’s hard for us to accept that he loves us and wants to do good to us, when we can’t really pay him back. But it’s so necessary.

I’m beginning to see that to embrace the gospel is not only to think “Jesus is Lord of my life,” or “God is a just judge so he has to judge sin but he made a way for forgiveness through Jesus,” but including those things, it is also to accept the simple fact that he came here because he loves us. Accepting the gospel is letting him be the one that loves us, and not only be the judge of the whole earth. It’s let him do what he wants to do, which is to also be our helper, because he wants to.

I know God is holy, that he hates sin, and that he is far removed from us when it comes to worth. But God gets no glory where he is not celebrated, just like a movie isn’t really seen as anything special unless it’s seen, enjoyed and talked about (and has good review). You can get me to be afraid of God, can tell me to obey rules and get me in the habit of saying Bible phrases, and I can say with my mouth that God is good, but unless I enjoy it, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s not true to me. But a good friend has recently been sharing the love of God with me again, and it’s getting through to me. The gospel is that we are dearly loved by God.

I am loved by God. I accept it! I accept that he made me just so that he could bless me. I believe that despite all my shortcomings, he still intensely wants to do good to me, and finds pleasure in naming me among those he calls “righteous.” I believe he enjoys this exchange, even though it’s not fair. It’s so wrong, so unearned, but so wonderful and I accept it. This is our God.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

When I Choose to Let Myself Be Molested

Fighting the downsies. Or wait, I’m not fighting them. I’m not fighting to believe God loves me. I’m not doing anything to fight back against these thoughts that come to mind:

1. Didn’t work out with that girl? That’s because God doesn’t want you to have a good thing that you really want.

2. If God were powerful and near and if he loved you, you wouldn’t be lonely and sad right now.

3. Christian? The cross doesn’t change much in God’s perspective of you; truth is you are merely tolerated by God, not loved.

4. God just wants you for his fame. He just wants fans. He’s a rock star.

5. God is not blind to your needs; he just doesn’t like you enough to help you.

6. If you want God, you’d better sacrifice everything you enjoy in this world except for your Bible and food; live like a monk, then you’ll get his attention for a little bit. Maybe.

7. You are the seed that grew up on rocky soil. Sprang up, used up, dried up. You’re done.

If Jesus’ exchange on the cross only makes God mildly tolerant of me, can I honestly call it a great salvation? If God doesn’t think about me, doesn’t really forgive my imperfections, doesn’t WANT me, then what exactly is there to celebrate as a Christian? What would heaven be like if it were filled with people God could care less about having there? That’s no heaven.

The version of God I’m seeing is not the same version of God that gave me so much energy to live before. When I can’t see what’s really happening, I choose to remember the times he’s proven himself. I refuse to just sit and decay, letting these lies molest my mind. I put on the armor of God so that I can stand against lies.

Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of [Christ’s] righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Godpraying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance…

Faith can extinguish all the flaming lies.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What Can Keep a Leader Humble

 

Sometimes I’m afraid to be “the best I can be” as a Christian–because I’m afraid that before long it will get to my head. If you serve a lot and do lots for people and you are respected for your work, it’s easy to look back at what you’ve done and to congratulate yourself, and to have satisfaction in yourself and what you do. Symptoms of pride can soon follow. But here’s the difference between LeBron James and Jeremy Lin: LeBron sees himself as a gift to the world. He does really well on the court, enjoys his stats, his glory and the pleasure he gets from all that, and it’s all about him. Jeremy on the other hand does incredible well like LeBron, but sees his experience and abilities as gifts from God–and that’s right. He does his best, is an example to others of superb basketballing, and enjoys it all as a gift.

When it comes to living an exemplary life, it hit me that being an example doesn’t make you a gift to the world; it makes you a receptor of God’s kindness, because your hands, your mind and your voice get to join into something beautiful. God has his mighty men whether I’m one of them or not, trying or not, and he distributes healing and encouragement and changed lives through these people whether I’m involved or not. The ones that distribute God’s blessings to the world are fortunate to be the ones giving; God gives it to them to be salt in the earth rather than killers and thieves and conniving politicians.

So if I try hard and do well, I can’t boast that I’m a gift to the world; I can only give thanks that God lets me experience what it’s like to be a blessing to others–to be someone useful rather than someone useless. I don’t want to be useless to his cause. He invites me to “abide in him,” so that I can “bear much fruit,” which will bring a ton of kudos, props and praise to his father. This kind of thinking frees me to try my best and not be proud in the process.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment