Tuesday, July 28, 2009

THOUGHT: Rules, Control, Independece and Other Biohazards

So here's a question that I know you have been asking yourself all day long.

Why did God come up with the 10 Commandments? (The originals and not the movie).

Perhaps, it would be a helpful list to carry in my pocket?
Perhaps, it would mess with me and see how naughty I really like to be?
Perhaps, it is a set of rules that God expected humans to obey in order to not make God mad?
Perhaps, it is a set of rules that God provided to define how to live righteously?

Now, if that was true how many people do you think have lived righteously over the centuries?

Not many, if people have always been sort of like me.

Actually, only one succeeded--Jesus. He not only obeyed the letter of the law but fulfilled the spirit of it completely. But understand this, to do that Jesus had to rest fully, dependently and perpetually on the Holy Spirit.

So why did God give us the gift of the 10 Commandments?

What if God wanted to us to give up trying to be righteous on our own? They were just a mirror to reveal just how filthy our faces get when we live independently.

But, are there not people, many people who think that they are made righteous by following the rules?

I guess there are; but can you clean your face with the same mirror that shows how dirty you are? There is no mercy or grace in rules, not even for one mistake. That's why Jesus fulfilled all of it for us--so that it no longer has jurisdiction over us. And the Law that once contained impossible demands--Thou Shalt NOT...--actually becomes a promise that the Holy Spirit fulfills in you, transforming you.

But keep in mind that if you live your life alone and independently, the promise is empty. Jesus laid the demand of the law to rest; it no longer has any power to accuse or command. Jesus is both the promise and its fulfillment.

Does that mean that I don't have to follow the rules?

Yes. In Jesus you are not under the law. All things are lawful.

What? Seriously? Are you messing with me?

Those who are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust the Holy Spirit to live in them. Trying to keep the law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control.

Is that why we like the law so much--to give us control?

Relax...It is much worse than that. It grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You believe you are living to a higher standard than those you judge. Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to popular belief, God has a great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse.

with thanks again to Wm Paul Young


Thursday, July 16, 2009

THOUGHT: You Don't Have It Takes...and that is ok.

Being a follower of Jesus teaches you things. Some of them we like to hear and some of them...well, not so much. We like to think that we are pretty good, pretty worthwhile, pretty important. But there are days also that we feel ugly, dirty, lame, worthless and messed up. Both of these are right and both of these are wrong. We have to figure out a balance in here somehow. The point of feeling like we have nothing to offer is not make us feel lousy it is supposed to make us feel grateful.

huh? How's that?

Think about it like this. Why does God love me when I have nothing to offer?

It should be freeing to know that there is nothing that we can offer God that will add to or take away from who He is. That really should help alleviate any pressure we have to perform, to put on a show or to be worthy.

Would you love your own children more when they perform well?

God is fully fulfilled and complete in Himself. So He is free to love me just as I am because that is what He is...love.

When I "perform" well it has the potential to help me become all that He has called me to become. It is by grace that I have been saved and by grace I am able to live my life to the best of my ability and then...more by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

I don't have what it take to impress God. But I do already have the love of God shown to me repeatedly in so many ways. Think about what some of those ways look like to you. Be thankful for them.


Monday, July 6, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: Summer Soulhouse Begins!

And so it begins. The 2009 season of Summer Soulhouse in The Board/Room is just about to commence. Wednesday July 8th 7-9ish.

Things to look forward to:
Worshiping together,
praying together,
hanging out together,
learning together
and maybe even having a cold drink...together.

Throughout the summer we will be looking at some classic Bible stories ... here take a peek at what is coming:

July 8 Abraham & the 3 Promises--Graham Clinton
July 15 Abraham & Issac--Christina Wong
July 22 David & Goliath-- Todd Westell
July 29 Joseph--Graham Clinton
August 05 The JD Sherman Return & Report--JD Sherman
August 12 Esther--Todd Westell
August 19 Deborah--Todd Westell

Join us and let's enjoy our summer together in the presence of God and His people.