God Does Not Endorse Our Righteous Anger

unoffendableHave you ever claimed to have righteous anger?

Can you find “righteous anger” in the Scriptures?

I used to believe that I had a God-given right to be angry.  But I’ve learned over time that anger is not the 10th fruit of the Spirit.

And 1 Corinthians 13 highlights that the most excellent way is love.

The video below is of Brant Hansen, a radio DJ and author, sharing from his book Unoffendable, which I reviewed here.

I highly recommend watching the video below and getting the book as well.

Especially if you often find yourself angry and believing you have every right to be.

Question for Discussion:

~ Did this video change your view of anger?  How so?

Follow the Life!

Can You Live Without Being Offended?

unoffended

Credit: Flickr user tind (CC)

The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  (James 1:20 ESV)

If you think you can judge others, you are wrong. When you judge them, you are really judging yourself guilty, because you do the same things they do. God judges those who do wrong things, and we know that his judging is right. You judge those who do wrong, but you do wrong yourselves. Do you think you will be able to escape the judgment of God?  (Rom. 2:1–3 NCV)

What’s more, for those who still want to make anger a nutritious part of their spiritual breakfasts: in the Bible’s “wisdom literature,” anger is always—not sometimes, always—associated with foolishness, not wisdom. The writer recognized that, yes, anger may visit us, but when it finds a residence, it’s “in the lap of fools” (Eccl. 7:9).

So what if—just dreaming out loud, here—Christians were known as the people you couldn’t offend?

~ Brant Hansen

Being angry and offended on behalf of God has become a sacred pastime for many Christians today.  As American culture becomes increasingly less interested in Christianity (to put it mildly), too many of Christ’s followers are, ironically, not following Christ in their response.

Instead of showing love and mercy, much of the church has become offended, which yields anger, bitterness, and separation.

However, the gospels reveal Jesus’ mercy towards those who appear to be the worst sinners, and he levels some pretty strong rebukes to those who think they are above sin.

But wasn’t Jesus angry at the religious Pharisees?  Perhaps, but it didn’t rule his heart.  In His last breaths on the cross, he asks God to forgive them even though they didn’t have a clue what they had done.

So what are we to do when we are offended, angry, and hurt?

Enter Brant Hansen’s book, Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better.

I don’t usually say, “Every Christian needs to read this book,” because it has become a bit overused and cliché, so I really mean this: every Christian needs to read this book.

Brant is a Christian radio DJ and also turns out to be a great writer.  He hits hard on a tough subject, but does it with love and good natured humor (check out the chapter titles alone to get an idea of the humor).  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, even though it was very challenging.

But most importantly, I believe Brant has revealed the unoffendable nature of Jesus Christ.  This is a game changer for those who desire to let Jesus live through them.  You can’t be angry and love others.  It just doesn’t work.  God’s way is forgiveness, and any judgment belongs to Him.

Not only that, but I’ve found that one important, distinguishing factor in Christ-like maturity is the ability to overlook an offense and choose love.

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.  (Proverbs 19:11 ESV)

Here are some quotes directly from the book.  I highlighted a ton of this book, so it was hard to choose only a few quotes!

It’s true that sometimes people try to offend us, and they’re intentionally hurtful and spiteful. And yet, there Jesus is, on the cross, saying, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” A fair question, then: Is that same Jesus living in and through me, still saying that?

We should forfeit our right to be offended. That means forfeiting our right to hold on to anger. When we do this, we’ll be making a sacrifice that’s very pleasing to God. It strikes at our very pride. It forces us not only to think about humility, but to actually be humble. I used to think it was incumbent upon a Christian to take offense. I now think we should be the most refreshingly unoffendable people on a planet that seems to spin on an axis of offense.

Forfeiting our right to anger makes us deny ourselves, and makes us others-centered. When we start living this way, it changes everything. Actually, it’s not even “forfeiting” a right, because the right doesn’t exist. We’re told to forgive, and that means anger has to go, whether we’ve decided our own anger is “righteous” or not.

We won’t often admit this, but we like being angry. We don’t like what caused the anger, to be sure; we just like thinking we’ve “got” something on someone. So-and-so did something wrong, sometimes horribly wrong, and anger offers us a sense of moral superiority.

But inconveniently, there’s this proverb that says, “You may believe you are doing right, but the LORD will judge your reasons” (Prov. 16:2 NCV). So it’s not just me. We all, apparently, find ourselves pretty darn convincing. Of course my anger is righteous. It’s righteous because, clearly, I’m right, and they’re wrong. My ways seem pure to me. Always.

We humans are experts at casting ourselves as victims and rewriting narratives that put us in the center of injustices. (More on this in a bit.) And we can repaint our anger or hatred of someone—say, anyone who threatens us—into a righteous-looking work of art. And yet, remarkably, in Jesus’ teaching, there is no allowance for “Okay, well, if someone really is a jerk, then yeah—you need to be offended.” We’re flat-out told to forgive, even—especially!—the very stuff that’s understandably maddening and legitimately offensive.

The thing that you think makes your anger “righteous” is the very thing you are called to forgive.

Anger is extraordinarily easy. It’s our default setting. Love is very difficult. Love is a miracle.

Upon hearing my ideas on anger, a radio listener told me, “I don’t get it. Shouldn’t we be angry at those guys in the news who beat up homeless people?” Here’s what I think, given that we’re to “get rid of all anger”: Anger will happen; we’re human. But we can’t keep it. Like the Reverend King, we can recognize injustice, grieve it, and act against it—but without rage, without malice, and without anger. We have enough motivation, I hope, to defend the defenseless and protect the vulnerable, without needing anger. Seek justice; love mercy. You don’t have to be angry to do that. People say we have to get angry to fight injustice, but I’ve noticed that the best police officers don’t do their jobs in anger. The best soldiers don’t function out of anger. Anger does not enhance judgment.

Choosing not to take offense is not about simply ignoring wrongs. If someone, say, cuts in front of you in line, you can address the situation. You don’t have to simply accept it. But you can act without contempt, anger, and bitterness.

Yet another wrinkle: when there are two “sides” to a story, we tend to think the first one we hear is the right one. I learned this, of course, by watching The People’s Court after school every day. I always thought the plaintiff had a great case . . . until I heard the other side. This bias is universal. It’s not new, either. Check out Proverbs 18:17: “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (NKJV). Life is full of conflicts, disputes, differing perspectives . . . and in all of those, guess whose perspective I hear first? That’s easy: mine. I establish a story line, and I can get angry before I even hear the other side, which is yet another reason to be very suspicious of ourselves. So let’s have the guts—and the humility—to believe what the Bible says about us, and what the research shows us. We simply can’t trust ourselves in our judgments of others. We don’t know what they’re really thinking, or their background, or what really motivated whatever they did. And since we don’t know, let’s choose ahead of time: we’re just not going to get offended by people. If I don’t need to be right, I don’t have to reshape reality to fit “The Story of My Rightness.”

That person you find so offensive? Somehow, God sees something there. Something you don’t. Ask Him what it is. Maybe He’ll show you. I bet He wants to.

I actually sleep better when I’ve chosen to be unoffendable.

It finally occurred to me that we can’t be agents of healing in people’s lives unless we’re ready to bear their wounds for them and from them.

We decide to be unoffendable because that’s how love operates; it gives up its “status” entirely.

but the more we divest ourselves of ourselves, the better our lives get. Jesus told us as much. He said if we’d give up our lives, for His sake, we’d find real life.

Follow the Life!
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My Best Books List

I added a new page to blog that lists the best books I’ve read on certain topics. If you are in to organic church life or the deeper life in Christ then you may have read some of these titles as well.  Some may be new to you.

When I say these are my “best” books, I mean that these are books that left a lasting impression on me, changed me in some way, or completely wrecked how I viewed certain things in the past.  If we had a conversation about one of the topics below, these are the books I would recommend over and over.  So for me, these books are outstanding.

Regardless, there are few books here that you will find in mainstream Christianity, at least in the west.  Many of these are out of print and I have been blessed to find some copies in good condition for reasonable prices.

The topics included are:

  • Blogs and Websites (I know, they’re not books… but still good reading)
  • Knowing Jesus in a Deeper Way (Focused on who Jesus is)
  • Walking in Christ Daily (Focused on living by Christ’s life)
  • God’s Eternal Purpose
  • Body Life (The community life of the church)
  • Living Missionally
  • Marriage/Relationships
  • Church Practice
  • Understanding The Early Church
  • Devotional Books
  • Specialty Topics

I’ve reviewed or quoted from many of these books in articles here on the blog.  You can find those in the bar under the heading by clicking Reviews.

I’ve written more about the purpose and nature of the list on the page directly.

There is a link in the header section of the blog called My Best Books List. Or you can click here.

I’ll continue to add books and blogs to the list in the future.  I’m also planning to add my own synopsis or comment next to each book as I have time and link directly to any reviews I’ve written.

Given the topics above, what books am I missing?

Follow the Life!

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What I’m Reading to Start 2015

Confession: I’m an avid reader!  I wish I had more time to spend reading, but alas, I have to be very selective in how I spend my limited reading time.  I can also be a little bit ADD with books and jump between several at once.  I’m told that’s not the best thing to do, but it keeps me from getting bored and I think I actually read more this way.

Here are some books that I’ve started reading recently and will be reading in the early part of the new year.

1. The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church, edited by Felicity Dale with a host of contributing authors.  The role of women in the body of Christ and how men view and treat women have become increasingly important to me, being that I’m married and have a daughter, but mostly because I believe that Jesus desires freedom and equality for all.  Felicity Dale brings a wide compliment of men and women to address the subject.

2. The Overcoming Life, by Watchman Nee.  This is based on a series of messages Nee gave in 1935, and is a precursor to his classic book, The Normal Christian Life.

3. The Supplied Life, by Bill Freeman.  This is a daily devotional that I started reading late last year and plan to continue reading in 2015.  The focus is on drawing our daily life from Christ who supplies it, as a branch to a vine (John 15).  The daily writing is brief but dense.

4. The Truest Thing About You: Identity, Desire, and Why It All Matters, by David Lomas and D.R. Jacobson.  This book focuses on our identity in Christ.

What books are you currently reading? 

 

Follow the Life!

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**Disclaimer** The links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a tiny profit if you purchase one of these items from these links.  Take heart, I only recommend items I believe in and have personal experience with.

The Cost of God’s House

What will it cost you to build God’s Spiritual House?

The following excerpt is from Milt and Mary Rodriguez’s novel, The Gatheringin which God calls believers together through dreams to pursue building His ekklesia.  In the following scene, one character, George is having one of these dreams and is witnessing a brother sharing in a church meeting:

The Lord said that before we build, we should consider the cost.  It is very foolish to start building without first understanding the price of materials. “What are the materials?  Gold, silver, and precious stones.  The building is His Body.  It is made of living stones.  Christ is this foundation.  What is the cost of this building?  What is the cost of this Pearl?  What is the cost of this Treasure?  The answer is simple: THE COST IS YOUR LIFE . . .

… everything which you hold onto, everything which is your security, your comfort, your sanctuary.  It may cost your family, friends, leisure, career, money, hobbies, spouse, possessions, daily routine, etc.  The things which hinder you from becoming God’s Building in a practical way, these things are your life.  Jesus said you must lose your life!  You see, losing is the only way to gain.  If you will lose your life, then you will gain His life.  His life is a life lived out with your brothers and sisters.  His life is a corporate life, not a separated, individualistic life.  These things which get in the way of His life . . . these things are your life.  Lose it.  Paul said it is through much tribulation that we enter into the kingdom.  It’s not easy.  There will be many obstacles along the way.  But believe me, brothers and sisters, it will be worth it.”

As he continued to speak, George began to look into the faces of those sitting around this living room.  He could see it . . . he could see it on their faces.  They had paid a price to be there.  In each face, there was joy, and yet, he could detect a deep pain.  It was not pain as one normally comprehended it.  It was a pain which was intricately interwoven with the joy.  There was no hint of remorse, or resentment, or regret.  Their resolve was clear.  The eyes of each one only revealed glory and beauty.  The faces, however, manifested the deep scars — the wounds which would forever remain because they were each one with the Crucified.  They fellowshipped with one another in His sufferings.  They were filled up within their bodies that which lacked of the sufferings of Christ for His Body.

The suffering had been great and the persecution monumental, but that did not make them special.  There was this treasure in them.  And even though the field looked barren and neglected and unattractive because, after all, it was made of earth; the treasure within radiated through the portals of their souls, their eyes.  Oh . . . … those eyes told the whole story!  One could not peer into those eyes without getting lost in the fire of His love.  The passion of His being.  The downright splendor of His glory!  And that eternal weight, that unending Rock of Heaven, that perfect reflection of the Father, was purchased by the mere human life.

And for the first time in his life, George saw a tiny glimpse of what the Lamb had paid to purchase Her . . . that one who would be His Wife.  And even though he felt as if he had not suffered very much, somehow, he understood their suffering.  They were one with Him.  His suffering was their suffering.  How could the Head suffer pain without the Body suffering likewise?  George was seeing something in the faces of these people which he had never seen before: the inexplicable oneness of Christ with His Church.

He looked around the room and whispered to himself. “He really is one with us . . . He really is!” George’s thoughts were interrupted as the soft spoken, bearded man continued. “We must never give up on the dream.  He has called us to carry the torch, the witness of His eternal purpose in this age.  We cannot quit.  We must carry the torch to the next generation.  We must never give up on the dream.  Never give up on the dream.  Never give up on the . . .

Follow the Life!

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Podcast Review: Uncaged By Mary DeMuth

It’s Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂podcast review

And I want to share a podcast review with you that I hope you will find helpful.

(If you feel like you don’t have time to listen to podcasts or don’t know how to set them up, I discuss that here.)

Mary DeMuth has recently started a podcast called Uncaged.  It’s all about living in the freedom of Christ and letting go of all the things that hold us down, tie us up, and generally keep us from living abundantly in the Lord’s life.

You can visit Mary’s site and find lots of resources: books, articles, and podcasts.

I haven’t had time to read a lot of the writings there, but I have been listening to and enjoying her podcast.

What I’ve enjoyed about Mary’s podcast is her humble, down to earth, conversational delivery that really draws me in, her practical wisdom, and her focus on Christ.  Mary shares openly about her struggles and life and encourages us to live free in Christ.  Mary really does a good job in my opinion of making the monologue feel informal and conversational.

I’ve listened to episode 10, 5 Truths to Live the Life You’ve Always Wanted, a couple of times now.

The five points in this episode are:

One. Obstacles are friends and keep us dependent on Jesus.

Two. Comparison kills your joy.

Three. There are seasons in life and that’s okay.

Four. Races are won weeks before in the small choices we make over time.

Five. Sabbath as a Lifestyle will supercharge your life.

(Just so everyone knows, I’m not getting paid a penny to share this.  I’ve simply enjoyed it and thought I would pass it on.  I’ve never met Mary DeMuth and was not asked in any way to promote her.)

Follow the Life!

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Disclaimer: The Amazon link in the post above is an “affiliate link.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How To Adore Jesus As Mary of Bethany Did

adore jesus adoration book martha kilpatrickOf all of the people in the Gospel stories that cross paths with Jesus the Nazarene, Mary alone is ensured that her contribution to the story will be told forever.

And what gained her this privilege?  Her willingness to give of herself to adore Jesus.

Martha Kilpatrick’s poetic meditation may be the deepest peering into Mary’s story that I have read.

Don’t be fooled by the poetry, however.  This book is not just full of “fluff”.  It is rich with deep insight into someone who was completely devoted to Jesus.

Adoration is presented in short chapters that are good for reading as a short meditation.  The focus of the book is not really Mary, though.  The focus is on seeing Jesus and adoring Him as Mary did.

At this point, I’ll let Martha’s work speak for itself:

Quotes from Adoration

Eternity will prove His worth and the utter foolishness of any other prize.

We will either pour out all our treasure to Him, or spill our eternity in the waste of all His goodness.

To purchase you form the prison of sin cost Him all, even His place with the Father.  To be worthy of His payment and His presence (though not to earn it, for it is done) you also must pay the full price, pour out your treasure to the last drop of costly oil.

Mary had given Him two treasures: her time and her reputation.

Now she gave Him in just one extravagant moment, that which cost a year’s wages to earn.

This is the picture Mary drew for all of time.  The picture of His worth, not just to give all to Him but to participate in His cross by love for Him.

The Lamb is worthy.

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In the midst of possibilities, of different opportunities, of myriad options, Mary had chosen Him as her highest treasure, her goal, that which was important enough to let all other importances simply… go.

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Our ministry to Him must always begin, must daily begin, at His feet.  In absolute Surrender, a posture of humility before Him.  We become His feet.

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Mary was always found at Jesus’ feet.

She sat at His feet for instruction.  She fell at His feet in suffering.  She anointed His feet for burial.  She wiped his feet in gratitude.

The complete life encounter of God, here sketched, drawn and colored on Mary’s experience.

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After this parable [The Good Samaritan], Jesus went to the home of Mary and Martha and thus began the living illustration – in Mary –

of the command: love God

and the parable: anoint Him for His wounds.

Mary, by love for Him, was the Samaritan anointing His wounds before He was wounded.

About the Author

Martha Kilpatrick has taught on the deeper Christian life for nearly four decades. Her ministry to Jesus Christ has challenged and drawn many others to seek the Awesome Captor of whom she speaks. Her first book, All and Only, has evoked hunger in readers across the nation. Our prayer is that this book will do the same and more. For more information about Martha and Shulamite Ministries please visit Shulamite.com today!

Get the book: Adoration by Martha Kilpatrick

Adoration — GoodReads
Martha Kilpatrick — Website
Martha Kilpatrick — Facebook
Martha Kilpatrick — Twitter
Shulamite – hub
Get Along with God – blog

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Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.
Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Rethinking The Book of Revelation (Read This If You Missed The Rapture)

Growing up, I was taught that the Book of Revelation was a cryptic and terrifying foretelling of the gruesome end that the world has coming before Jesus Christ sets up an eternal reign.  Since I was a kid and this was the only thing I was ever taught, I bought it hook, line, and sinker.  As I aged, though, I began to question this teaching and presentation of this letter from the Apostle John.

On top of that, most people I knew were literally scared to read the Book of Revelation, fearing that such horrible things, including God’s wrathful judgment, could be right around the corner.  Consequently, this was rarely even talked about at all.

I don’t intend to give an in depth study of the letter here.  I’m certainly not qualified for such a task.  But I have done some reading on this subject and would like to pass on some resources that may be helpful to you if you also have decided that the theology espoused in the Left Behind novels should be, well, left behind.  (The idea that all true Christians will be whisked away while those “left behind” will suffer as God unleashes wrath on the world has only been around for a little over 200 years.)

What I consider to be of chief importance is that the letter is a Revelation of Jesus Christ, and this should be the ultimate focus when reading it.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.   (Revelation 1:1-3)

John says right up front that the letter is about Jesus Christ.  Not only that, but twice in the first three verses John writes that the contents of the letter “must soon take place”, for “the time is near”.  These opening verses alone should give us pause to reflect on how this letter is interpreted and applied.

Another factor that caused me concern was the view that Jesus plans to come back and basically wipe everyone “left behind” out (except the few who are so scared that they believe in Him, because Jesus uses fear as a manipulator…).  This led me to want to understand how this extremely violent sounding letter could be understood to have a non-violent message.

If you have also struggled with any of these thoughts, I would recommend you work through the following resources.  I recommend going through the shorter blog posts and audio messages, then moving into the books as you feel led.

Rethinking the Second Coming of Christ blog post by Frank Viola, which is an excerpt from his book Jesus: A Theography written with Len Sweet.

– Also on the rapture topic, and excellent treatment of this is found in N.T. Wright’s book Surprised by Hope.

Audio message by scholar Jon Zens on an alternate view of the letter.  A humble and honest presentation that brings up some good points to consider and reflect on.

An Evening in Ephesus book by Bob Emory expands on Jon’s audio message above.  The information is presented in a creative narrative where John visits the church in Ephesus and explains the meaning of the letter.  This is a great and fairly short book.  I only wish it had footnotes.

Revelation and the “Pride Fighting” Jesus blog post by Greg Boyd.  This post delves into how to read the letter of Revelation as non-violent.

Audio message by Greg Boyd expounding on the non-violent topic, and how Jesus overcame as the Lamb in Revelation 5.  (Very much worth your time.)

– For more on the non-violent reading of Revelation, see John Howard Yoder’s book The War of the Lamb.

– For a more academic treatment of the Book of Revelation as an apocalyptic letter that reveals Christ as the slain yet victorious Lamb, see Richard Bauckham’s book The Theology of The Book of Revelation.

When one begins to piece together the views found in these resources, what emerges is a loving God who conquers all by laying His own life down through His Son as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth, leading to a profound view of the depth of God’s love for you, and for the world.

The issue as I see it is that a lot of Christian theology, thinking, and practice is potentially derived from a wrong view of this letter.  While I don’t feel a particular burden to study the technicalities of this letter academically, I do feel compelled to pass on these alternate views that I have found in my own search.

Follow the Life!

Do you have any resources that you would recommend?  Leave a note in the comments…

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Disclaimer: Obviously, I don’t agree with everything that each one of these authors has ever written or said.  I simply feel that they bring valuable insight into this topic.  Your mileage may vary.

His Desire Is For Me: Drawing Close to Christ

his desire book coverBob Emory’s book, His Desire Is For Me, tells the story of the greatest love song every written: The Song of Songs.  Emory tells the story in narrative form, weaving an intricate story of a monarch, King Solomon, and the maiden of his desire.  The book is also written in devotional form, with about five pages per day for thirty days.  At the end of each day’s narrative, there is a Points to Consider section and a Thoughts/Prayers section that relate the story to the Christian’s daily walk in Christ.  The author often portrays King Solomon as a shadow or picture of Christ.  The book is broken into three parts: Initial Love, Increasing Love, and Mature Love.

I really enjoyed going through the intimate Song of Songs daily and seeing Christ in new ways through the story and reflections.  Emory reveals the character of Jesus and the depth of His love for us – each one just as we are.

Here are some quotes from the book:

Finally, one day, simple but powerful words began to form within me. Like a flood, a prayer rose from somewhere deep in my being and poured out from my lips: “May he kiss me again and again with the kisses of his mouth!”

THOUGHTS/PRAYERS Precious Lord, I humbly acknowledge that you are robed in light and that you are holy and without peer. You are one of a kind: the best and beyond compare.

The temptation for the maiden was to try to make herself more beautiful for Solomon so that she would be acceptable to him, as we will subsequently see. But she was altogether beautiful to him just the way she was. His love would draw her and purify her, making her into what she could only hope, at this time, to be.

When God sees us, he sees us as having been washed by the blood of Christ, which has made us perfectly righteous and holy in his sight. He sees us “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:30). He looks at us and loves us in exactly the same way as he does his precious Son. We are part of the divine family.

The Lord is passionately in love with us just the way we are. He formed each one of us in our mother’s womb. We were fearfully and wonderfully made. We were endowed with unique personalities, gift, and talents, all designed to uniquely magnify him. In Psalm 3:3, the psalmist said, “You are my glory and the One who lifts my head!” The Lord Jesus does not want us wallowing in the dust, nor looking down in shame. He wants to put his finger under our chin, lift it up, and cause us to look into his face, where we will hear the words, “You are beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you.”

You [Christ] are the one I feed upon. Refresh me. Wash the dirt that I have accumulated from walking through this world off my feet, and fill me. Thank you that, even in those times when I struggle to find you, I am still, and always, your beautiful one.

Service should come as a response to spending time with the Lord and then responding to what he is doing within you.

This is the third of Bob Emory’s books I’ve read.  His book, An Evening in Ephesus, has the Apostle John visiting the church in Ephesus and explaining the meaning of his letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

I am currently reading The New Covenant, in which Paul and Titus visit Jerusalem and Titus spends the day with John, where they discuss the New Covenant in Christ, and many of the shadows and pictures of Christ seen in the city of Jerusalem and in Jewish culture.

All three of these books express and reveal Christ in a deep and profound way, using narrative to put the revelation in a format that is easy and enjoyable to read.

See the interview at the link below to hear the author share about a comment that changed his view of the Song of Songs.

Links for His Desire is for me…

His Desire is for Me — Amazon

His Desire is for Me — Book Trailer

His Desire is for Me — Interview with Bob Emery

His Desire is for Me — Facebook

His Desire is for Me — Goodreads

*****

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

 

Who is Really in Control of the Church?

gathering_medThat’s one question that needs to be answered in Milt and Mary Rodriguez’s novel, The Gathering.

The new President of the United States has instituted a new organization, the United Christian Movement, which has placed an agent in every Christian church in America to make sure that everything stays in line with the government’s rules.  This new administration has forced Christian unity and is seeking to return America to a highly moral country by enforcing strict laws.  Meanwhile, the UCM is also trying to eradicate “New Agers” who actually believe that Jesus Christ lives within them and has a desire for believers to live life together and express Him to others.  Of course, any mention of an indwelling Lord is cause for swift retribution from the UCM.

But what about those who feel that God has something different in mind for His church?  What about those who feel called to something deeper?  God works mysteriously through dreams and visions to bring those believers together in secret, underground gatherings that express God’s eternal purpose while living a simple life together with Christ Himself as Head of the church.

The Gathering is very fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat with anticipation.  There are lots of characters and pieces to this story that all come together nicely in the end.  The novel reads like a thriller, but with a stunning revelation of God’s eternal purpose woven throughout.

If you are interested in simple, organic church gatherings, or want to know more about God’s eternal purpose, this novel is a great way to learn more about it.

Follow the Life!

*****

Order  The Gathering on Amazon.

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The Church Was Born Crucified

Just as Eve was in Adam and was brought out of him at just the right time, so the church was in Christ, and she was brought out of Him in God’s perfect time.  She, the ekklesia, was not brought out from Him until He had displayed and produced crucified life for her.

This haunting quote comes from F.J. Huegel’s book, Bone of His Bone, and gives much insight into our co-crucifixion with Christ and our co-resurrection in Him:

The church, as has said the great French preacher Lacordaire, was born crucified; and until, like her divine head, she falls into the ground and dies, she abides alone. The life-giving streams cannot break forth from her bosom.

God grant you the grace to be clear about one thing: Christ does not come into your life to patch up your “old man.”  Here is where unnumbered multitudes of Christians have been “hung up.”  They thought it was Christ’s mission to make them better.  There is absolutely no biblical ground for any such idea.  Jesus said that He had no intention of pouring His new wine into old pigskins.  He said that He had not come to bring peace, but a sword.  He said that unless a man would renounce himself utterly, he could not be his disciple.

Christ does not come to you to simply straighten out your “old life.”  He has never promised to make us better.  His entire redemptive work which was consummated upon the cross rests upon the assumption (it is more than an assumption – God says it is a fact) that man’s condition is such that only dying and being born again can possibly make any change in you. He must impart to you an entirely new life.

Christ is the Vine, we are the branches. He is the Head, we form the Body.

Paul’s epistles again and again point us to Calvary and startle us with an imperative demand: We must consent to co-crucifixion with Christ. …

Two thousand years ago, there in the manger of Bethlehem, God gave the world his only-begotten son.  In Him was concentrated the infinite love of the Father.  But the full force of that redeeming love was not released upon a sin-stricken world until there on Calvary the flaming heart of the Beloved broke.  Then it was that the radium of the celestial realm was focused upon the great cancer of humanity’s sin and shame.  Radiation kills.  There is no power under heaven that can withstand its concentrated dynamic.

The Cross also kills.  The man who exposes himself to Calvary soon discovers that a hidden fire burns within his bones.  The old fallen life – so resentful, so fussy, so greedy, so touchy, so haughty, so vain, so blind to all except its own particular lust, so ready to sacrifice the good of the many if only its own glory may be secured – the old “self-life” can no more resist the impact of Calvary than can some frail canoe survive the onrush of a great tidal wave. …

Let us further examine this matter of identification with Christ. It is both a position that you take once and for all by an act of faith (in which you commit yourself to your place in the death of His Son) and a process of growth, in which you receive an ever-deepening life of sharing in the Savior’s death.  Even Paul said that he longed to know Christ and the power of his resurrection… being made conformable unto His death (Phil 3:10).  It is all summed up in the great paradox of the Gospel: “He who loses his life shall find it.”

There is not any nullification of personality involved.  Quite the contrary.  Paul was no less Paul after the realization of his oneness with Christ in death. He could, with infinitely more right, say “nevertheless I live.”  Once the cross deals with the “I-life” so that the soul becomes God-centered, personality and all of its glory and the full fruition of its powers begins to develop. You can only possess yourself when God is supreme in your life. …

Being in Christ, we are crucified. Your being a German or a Frenchman makes inevitable certain habits of mind, a certain temperament of soul.  Your being a Christian makes inevitable the crucified life.  The church did not come forth from the womb of the Eternal until, upon the cross, crucified life had been generated.

The only life given to the ekklesia, the body of Christ, is His crucified life.  This is the source of our new life, our new covenant, in Him.  This is why it is the Lamb of God that conquered death and sin, and why it is the Lamb that now sits on the throne.  Jesus Christ won the victory through His sacrifice.  The church is victorious through her own sacrifice, and in this is true Life.

What foolishness this is to our “old man”, but what life pours forth to those who embrace the way of the cross of Christ.

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Feeling Stale? Here’s A Cure For Spiritual Dryness (New Day Book Review)

newday_med

For most, if not all Christians, there are times when our spiritual life feels stale, dry, or perhaps even empty.  You may read the Scriptures and spend time with the Lord, but it doesn’t seem to produce anything.  While these times are certainly tough to weather, it can be helpful to focus on the newness that is in Christ.

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  (Revelation 21:5 NASB)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

New Day: The New Humanity Lives in the New Creation by Means of the New Covenant is a new book by Milt Rodriguez that may help provide a cure for spiritual dryness.

Milt writes in his typical conversational style, but in a unique way. New Day is written as a devotional style book as though Jesus is speaking to the reader, which makes the book more personal.

New Day reveals beautiful pictures of all that is new in Christ. The new day, the new humanity, the new covenant, the new command, the new creation, the new song, the new heart, and more – all of this is in our Lord, and it is growing newer and newer!

There are many Scripture references throughout the entire book, although it is recommended to read the book first as though you are reading a letter, and then read through it again looking up the specific Scripture references.

I really enjoyed this book as it daily drew me closer to Christ and helped me to focus on what is above, where Christ dwells in eternal newness. This book is a true gem!

Here are some quotes from the book:

“I am the rising One! I have not only risen (past tense), I am also still rising. In fact, rising is a part of my very life and nature. I am always rising. I live in perpetual rising. This continual rising gives light and warmth to all things. I am rising itself. And I am rising within you. This rising gives birth to newness inside of you. My newness, freshness, light, and warmth are rising in you.”

“My kingdom, my new creation is a massive place. The spaciousness of this place cannot even be grasped by the human mind. It is the place where all of my riches can be seen, known, and experienced. It is the place of the great expanse and the great adventure. It is the place of the glorious unknown and the wonderfully never ending discovery of me. And inside of me and only inside of me will you receive your fulfillment. This is the place where your life supply will be found. This is the place where you will discover all of your unlimited resources. So enter into this vast land where you can roam for the rest of eternity. You have been chosen before creation for such a destiny. You have been chosen before the old creation to live in the new creation.”

“You can of yourself do nothing. But as you abide in me, and live by my life, you will fulfill this new commandment. You will love your brothers and sisters as I love them because it will actually be me loving them through you. The foundation of this great love is my cross. It is the beauty and power of a life laid down and resurrected by the power of the Spirit. This love comes from a certain kind of lifestyle; the crucified lifestyle. That is, a life which is constantly being laid down for others.”

Thank you, Milt for this refreshing unveiling of Christ.

(This sounds like something to sing about… don’t miss the great new song below!)

Amazon (Paperback)

Amazon (Kindle)

Milt’s Website

Origin Stories

It seems that in Hollywood these days all the superheroes need an origins story.  Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, and so on.

In The Indwelling Life of Christ, Major W. Ian Thomas gives us a peek at Jesus’ origins story:

“It is not the nature of what you do that determines the spirituality of any action, but the origin of what you do. There was never a moment in the life of the Lord Jesus that was without divine significance, because there was never anything He did, never anything He said, never any step He took which did not spring from a divine origin. There was nothing in His life that was not the activity of the Father in and through the Son. He lived out thirty-three years of availability to the Father, so that the Father in and through Him might implement the program that had been established and agreed upon between the Father and the Son before the world was even created.

Why did the Father five all things into the Son’s hands? Because Jesus Christ was completely Man, and He was completely Man because He was completely available. For the first time since Adam fell into sin, there was on earth a man as God intended man to be.”

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.   — John 14:10

An interesting question is: how much of what I do is originated by Christ’s life indwelling me?

God’s Favorite Place on Earth

BethanyBelow is the review I posted on Amazon for Frank Viola’s new book, God’s Favorite Place on Earth.  This is an excellent book full of practical wisdom.  For information on the book and to see a video trailer and download a free exerpt containing 20% of the book, go to GodsFavoritePlace.com.

I highly recommend Frank Viola’s newest book God’s Favorite Place on Earth. Viola points to the little town of Bethany just a couple of miles from Jerusalem as Jesus’ preferred resting place while He was on earth in human form. Bethany was a place where Jesus was accepted and adored; therefore, Jesus chose to “rest” in Bethany rather than Jerusalem, where He was rejected. Viola pieces together the various stories in the Gospels related to this small town (such as Jesus being anointed by Mary and raising Lazarus from the dead) along with first century history to reconstruct the story through the eyes of Lazarus thirty years after his resurrection. The story is really beautiful and brings the Bible to life – a feat not too common among authors today. Readers will get an insight into first century life, and more importantly, into the life and character of Jesus Christ. Viola follows each segment of the Bethany story with a “Walking it Out” section that provides invaluable and practical insights. These include how to not be offended by others, the value of giving our all to and for Christ, how to deal with suffering and rejection, what to do when God doesn’t seem to respond the way we want, what it means to receive Christ, and more.

God’s Favorite Place on Earth is a short and easy read that accomplishes:

– Bringing the Scriptures to life
– Revealing the height, depth, breadth, and width of Jesus Christ
– Demonstrating how the Holy Spirit is leading Christians to live by Christ’s life today.

Not Judging Others Part 1: Our Opinions Often Cause Misjudgment

I’m starting a (probably short) series dealing with how people tend to view and judge others negatively.  I’ve observed that this can be a very dangerous habit, and unfortunately it is a habit among Christians as well.

I’d like to begin this series by highlighting something that I have found true in my own life: jumping to conclusions based on my opinions (not facts) causes me to misjudge people and situations.

One of the best books I have read on the art of communication is Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.  In the book is a chapter titled Observing Without Evaluating which demonstrates the importance of separating what we see (or have direct evidence of) with what our opinion of that thing is.

Here is an excerpt of a poem written by one of Rosenberg’s colleagues, Ruth Bebermeyer, that illustrates this point:

I’ve never seen a lazy man;
I’ve seen a man who never ran
while I watched him, and I’ve seen
a man who sometimes slept between
lunch and dinner, and who’d stay
at home upon a rainy day,
but he was not a lazy man.
Before you call me crazy,
think, was he a lazy man or
did he just do things we label “lazy”?

Rosenberg explains:

Observations are an important element in nonviolent communication, where we wish to clearly and honestly express how we are to another person.  When we combine observation with evaluation, we decrease the likelihood that others will hear our intended message.  Instead, they are apt to hear criticism and thus resist whatever we are saying.

Here’s a couple of examples from the same chapter to make this really practical:

Observation/Evaluation Mixed:  Doug procrastinates.
Observation without Evaluation:  Doug only studies for exams the night before.

Observation/Evaluation Mixed:  Hank Smith is a poor soccer player.
Observation without Evaluation:  Hank Smith has not scored a goal in twenty games.

It was very eye opening for me to realize how impulsively and maybe even subconsciously I tend to jump from observation to conclusion or judgment!

Imagine finding that the trash has not been taken out and asking your spouse, “Why are you being so lazy today?”, or “Why don’t you appreciate me?”  Obviously these are assumptions about what the other person is feeling or thinking.  As Rosenberg points out (and you might guess yourself), this kind of communication makes us sound critical of others.

Instead of saying, “Why are you being so lazy today?”, perhaps one could say, “I noticed that the trash hasn’t been emptied, and you usually take care of it.  Have you had a rough day?”  The latter approach is clearly less judgmental and more loving and invites the other person into expressive communication.  This allows the other person to express themselves without feeling the weight of judgment or criticism, and it keeps us from jumping ahead to faulty conclusions.

As Christians, I think it is clear in the Scriptures and through the Spirit that we are not intended to judge each other in this way.

I’ve found that a good place to start evaluating if you do this yourself is to observe your own attitude and language towards others.  You might even ask those closest to you if you have a habit of doing this.

Can you share an experience or example where this has been true for you?

In part 2, I’ll suggest some potential alternatives to this behavior.

Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday

If you are wondering about the strange title, and maybe feeling like correcting the clearly poor grammar, please view the video below before hurling any virtual stones. 😉

On a serious note, I would like to pass on something I read recently that I have found to be all too true in my own experience of marriage and the experience of many couples that I know.

I’ve been reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. First off, I have to say that if I were going to right a book of marriage advice based on my experience, this would be it. Much of what is in this book is rings true to me. I wish I had read this book years ago. Not only do I agree with much of this book (I don’t agree with everything, but these are minor points in the scope of this book), but I believe it also points us to Christ’s desire for marriage and other relationships.

The premise of the book is that to have a loving marriage that displays Christ, one should keep in view the many opportunities to be built up in Christ that marriage affords. The tag line of the book reads, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” The author’s point (I’m paraphrasing) is that marriage isn’t supposed to be easy work, because it is not “easy” work to crucify our flesh and to live by the self-sacrificing life of Christ that indwells us. But marriage certainly gives us many opportunities to do just that, and through those experiences we are made into Christ’s image. Personally, I have found the most freedom, peace, joy, and fulfillment when I have loved my wife as Christ loved the church: sacrificially and unconditionally.

I would like to share a short passage from the book that I think hits the nail on the head in regard to living the marriage life and living by Christ’s life.

“Contempt is born when we fixate on our spouse’s weaknesses. Every spouse has these sore points. If you want to find them, without a doubt you will. If you want to obsess about them, they’ll grow – but you won’t!

Jesus provides a remedy that is stunning in its simplicity yet foreboding in its difficulty. He tells us to take the plank out of our own eye before we try to remove the speck from our neighbor’s eye (see Matthew 7:3-5).

If you’re thinking “but my spouse is the one who has the plank,” allow me to let you in on a little secret: You’re exactly the type of person Jesus is talking to. You’re the one he wanted to challenge with these words. Jesus isn’t helping us resolve legal matters here; he’s urging us to adopt humble spirits. He wants us to cast off the contempt – to have contempt for contempt – and learn the spiritual secret of respect.

Consider the type of people Jesus loved in the days he walked on earth – Judas (the betrayer); the woman at the well (a sexual libertine); Zacchaeus (the conniving financial cheat); and many others like them. In spite of the fact that Jesus was without sin and these people were very much steeped in sin, Jesus still honored them. He washed Judas’s feet; he spent time talking respectfully with the woman at the well; he went to Zacchaeus’s house for dinner. Jesus, the only perfect human being to live on this earth, moved toward sinful people; he asks us to do the same, beginning with the one closest to us – our spouse.

Begin to find contempt for contempt. Give honor to those who deserve it – beginning with your spouse.”

Sacred Marriage, pages 70-71

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not have contempt for each other, whether it is in marriage or otherwise, but may we have contempt for our own flesh when it causes us to resent, demean, or take advantage of someone else. The life of Christ chooses the way of love because He is love; often this is a very difficult way for our flesh, but Jesus tells us that if we come to Him with our burdens, His way is light.

To try to do this in our own power is foolishness. But to trust Christ, listening to and following the still, small voice within, is to find peace and joy on this difficult path.

I pray that this brief insight is helpful to you if you are struggling in your marriage or other relationships.

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

(2 Thessalonians 3:5)

The Myth of Wealth

This seemed like a good follow up to my post last week on cleaning out the garage…

While listening to the audiobook Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster, I was astounded at the amount of Scripture that was quoted in the chapter on simplicity related to money, possessions, and wealth. I’m sure I’ve heard and read all of these verses before, but I’m not sure I have ever heard so many of them put together at once.

As a disclaimer, I want to say up front that I am not against owning things, having money, a house, car, and so on. I have these things, and while I don’t consider myself wealthy at all, there are always those less fortunate who would disagree with me.

The point here is not a poverty versus wealth debate, as if one or the other is absolutely right for everyone. That is certainly not my belief. But the power of money often leads to greed and selfishness, and both of those qualities are anti-Christ; they have no part in Him. Christ is generous and selfless, and so I believe there is benefit for reflection and continuous transformation in this area.

Neither is the point to condemn anyone into changing their lifestyle out of guilt, shame or fear. I don’t believe God works in that way, and I certainly don’t desire to either. I am suggesting that there is an opportunity here for internal reflection, and that internal reflection may result in external actions.

To denounce all material possession is to become legalistic, as Foster points out. God certainly blesses us with things in this world, either for our pleasure or to advance his kingdom, or both. At the same time, we live in a materialistic, consumer culture. Many people are driven to anxiety for the latest gadget or trendy item. There is an obsession with owning things (when it is often wiser to rent, borrow, or do without).

The solution to balancing the budget (at least in many cases) is not to make more to get more, but to be content with what you have already. If you want to add joy to your contentment, give away whatever you don’t need. Don’t be worried about your earthly net worth; you are infinitely valuable because you are a part of Christ!

Remember that everything has a price, but everything also has a cost. As Christians we must count both the cost and the price in light of Christ’s life in us. If you don’t think you can do this, just spend some time getting in touch with the Christ who indwells you, for He is Contentment and Joy, and He will lead you in His way.

I’m doing some soul searching on this topic after listening to and reading this chapter on simplicity. I highly recommend it to you, especially if you are struggling to “keep up with the Jones'”. 😉

I have listed below the Scriptures cited from the simplicity chapter in the order they appeared. I have expanded some to add context, and I have used some different translations. The book gives much narrative on this topic and these verses.

23 “The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me. (Leviticus 25:23 NLT)

10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. (Psalm 62:10 NKJV)

28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. (Proverbs 11:28 NKJV)

13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NLT)

20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.” (Luke 6:20 NLT)

24 “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now.” (Luke 6:24 NLT)

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Matthew 6:19-21 NLT)

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 19:21-24 NLT)

21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12:21 NLT)

30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. (Luke 6:30 NLT)

9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 NLT)

3 He [one aspiring to be an elder] must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. (1 Timothy 3:3 NLT)

8 In the same way, servants in the church should be dignified, not two-faced, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money. (1 Timothy 3:8 CEB)

5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3 NIV)

5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. (Ephesians 5:5 NLT)

11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:31-33 NLT)

An Interview with Christian Smith on “The Bible Made Impossible”

If you are frustrated by the WWJD mentality, or have run into the mindset that the solution to every situation you could possibly face is explicitly spelled out in the Bible, then you may appreciate Christian Smith’s book The Bible Made Impossibe and the interview below conducted by Frank Viola.  The real gem of the book is actually part 2, where Smith presents the framework for a re-newed (Jesus and the apostles used the OT writings this way) view of all Scripture as a compass pointing us to Christ.

Read the complete interview with Christian Smith on “The Bible Made Impossible.”

Some Articles to Inspire You: Highlighting the Work of Others

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10 NLT)

I’d like to point you to the work of some other bloggers today.

First is the continuation of the What I’ve Learned In Organic Church series. RC Babione posted a really wonderful piece this morning that I believe you will find encouraging. Read it here.

Last week, as part of the same series, Carrie Walters posted a beautiful piece about finding our source of worth in Christ.  Read it here.

I’d also like to highlight two important interviews by Frank Viola with N.T. Wright and Scot McKnight.  I’ve read books by both Wright and McKnight and found both to be very valuable.  These interviews will introduce you to their latest works and give you some behind the scenes info.  Click below to read each of them.

N.T. Wright Interview: “Simply Jesus” & Wright Responds to Critics

Scot McKnight Interview: “The King Jesus Gospel” & McnKnight Responds to Critics

Lastly, I’m working on a new post that deals with a common problem in relationships.  I think it will be helpful.  I hope to post it later this week or early next week.