While the world is striving to attain perfection, I realize the only perfect One took my place, as a perfect sacrifice, on a cross. Through Him my weaknesses are made strong. I'm not afraid to be different, because I AM different. I'm a child of The Most High. I can be imperfect because I am loved by a Perfect God.

Praying for Direction. Lift by Prayer. Working for Peace. Labor by Power. Driven by Love. Love by Patience. Living by Faith. Live by Presence. Held by Hope. Learn by Faith.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What If?

What if: the deepest longings of your heart were there for a reason?

What if: the gospel of Jesus was not "safe" after all, but full of intrigue, passion....and romance?

Yeah.... that's what I thought too! I was confused, so many times I have read the Bible as history, simply stories of old. What if we felt the words in the Bible?

How would YOUR life be changed?

"I want to warn you, this gospel is ugly and pretty. It is more than words on a page, it is not a list of ideas, and it is not an 'it' so much as a He, the Father, the Spirit, the son, a fall, a marriage proposal, a fight for lost love, a double-suicide of sort, and a wedding. It is the most relevant message in the history of the world."

Here's the greatest part.... "It was spoken to YOU"

When someone has a one-on-one conversation with you, you pay attention, you don't just listen half-heartedly. The conversation is personal, in depth, sometimes these conversations teach you more about yourself and you can improve your being. The same is true with the Word. Everytime we read it, we realize it is God's message to us, to prick our hearts, to convict us. to remind us we are not alone, someone understands what we are going through.

How many people, many not literally, but in actions, think of God like Santa Claus. It may seem silly, but convenient with astounding benefits.

First: to interact with Santa Claus, you do not have to maintain any sort of intimate relationship. Santa simply slips into the house, leaves presents, eats half a cookie, then moves to the next house. There is no getting out of bed in the middle of the night, no explainations about what you're doing wrong, no work, no commitment.

Second: He brings presents based on behavior. If you are good, you get a lot of _____. There is a very clear reward system based on the most basic desires of the human hear: Hot Wheels, Legos, Barbies, etc. You don't have to get into the spirit of anything, and there is nothing sentimental that servs as the real reason for the season. Everybody knows it is about the toys.

Third: Kids who are bad get presents anyway.


This was a God of simple answers to simple questions, keep your mouth shut and think what I tell you to think. God created the universe, and we aren't supposed to have sex, drink alcohol, go to dance clubs, that sort of thing.....He's making a list, He's checking it twice....

Maslow created a Hierarchy of Needs, one of these levels is the need to know God, only to supply for the human psyche, an explanation for existence. Maslow believed that man invented God to validate man's identity.

When we get rid of these preconceived ideas, we realize there is a big God, who is way more complex than we can ever imagine. He is incredible and terrible at once, He offers grace and mercy, He is still just. "He can tell you again and again He loves you and you are still going to be quite a bit afraid, just because of what it feels like when you think about His nature"

In the made-for-TV miniseries, Out on a Limb, Shirley MacLaine walks on the beach, twirling around, saying, "I am God, I am God" Can you imagine what that sounded like to God? The God who created her, maybe it sounded like an itty bitty mouse squeak in His ear. I don't think a person that says stuff like that fears God. God, who has no end. I don't think people respect God when He says to love your brother, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, don't judge lest you be judged, be patient, be kind, hold your tongue and give every effort to keep the bonds of peace. Do we truly believe God means what He says?

Everybody who met God in the Bible was afraid of Him, actually most people were afraid of angels too. Ever wonder how annoying it would be to be an angel and have to calm people down just to have a conversation with them?

If we really knew the God who understands the physics of our existence, we would operate a little more cautiously, a little more compassionately, a little less like we are the center of the universe.

Sometimes we attach ourselves to a certain identity, to be smart, to be talented, it makes other people say the obvious, thus giving us our sense of importance and security.

There is a big part of us, as humans, that needs something outside of ourselves to tell us who we are. We look everwhere, possesions, fame, talent, money, knowledge, careers, friends etc. What if we turn to God? The God of the Bible, who is brokenhearted over the separation in our relationship and our downright obsession with mending the tear.

What if what we really want in life is relational?

IF the gospel of Jesus is just some formula I obey in order to get taken off the naughty list and put on a nice list, then it doesn't meet the deep need of the human condition, it doesn't interact with the great desire of my soul, and it has nothing to do with the hidden (or obvious) language we are all speaking. However, if the gospel is more, if it is a story about humanity falling away from the community that named it, and an attempt to bring humanity back to that community, and if it is more than a series of ideas, but rather speaks directly into this basic human need we are feeling, then the gospel of Jesus is the most relevant message in the history of mankind.

When we take the gospel out of it's narrative, when we ignore the poetry in which it is presented, when we turn it into formulas to help us achieve the American dream, we lose its meaning entirely, and the ideas become fodder for the head but have no impact on the way we live our lives or think about God. This is, perhaps, why people are so hostile toward religion.

Perhaps if we stop reducing the text to formulas for personal growth, we can read it as stories of imperfect humans having relations with a perfect God and come to understand the obvious message He is communicating to mankind.

What if, because we are constantly trying to dissect His message, we are missing a blatant invitation?

What if the Gospel is an invitation to know God?

If the Gospel is relational; that is, if our brokenness will be fixed, not by our understanding of theology, but by God telling us who we are, then this would require a kind of intimacy of which only heaven knows.

What would happen if we studied the Word, without all the charts and lists. To study the bible, not missing out on the poetry, the blood and pain of the narrative, and the depth of emotion with which God communicates His Truth. To read, sifting through the grit, and the beauty, to feel that we are not alone, that somebody understands us and loves us enough to speak to us-on purpose-in a way that makes us feel human.

Imagine, a Being with a mind as great as God's, with feet like trees, the Earth His footstool, and a voice like rushing wind, telling you that you are His cherished creation. It's kind o fexciting if you think about it. Earthly love is temporal and slight so that it has to be given again and again in order for us to feel a sense of security; but God's love, God's voice and presence would instill our souls with such affirmation we would need nothing more and would cause us to love other people so much that we would be willing to die for them. Perhaps this is what the apostles stumbled upon.

*many ideas compiled from Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller