Friday, June 29, 2007

I have the brain of a woman

I believe I may cause myself to go insane.

I keep thinking about this person I don't love anymore. It's more of an annoying desire of the flesh that wants to reminisce, but I despise it. I honestly get sick when I start thinking about it, because I sincerely do not want them in my life anymore. I mean, I pray for these people and all, but other than that, I want nothing to do with them and they want nothing to do with me.

I think it's more of an addiction. I loved this girl for so long and thought about her so much, she has been burned into my brain and has left one huge scar. I do not love her. I do not want her at all. I honestly don't, but I keep thinking about her. There is no word I know to describe it. I feel so uncomfortable in this world sometimes now. There are times when I just can't find comfort and I have that uneasy home sick feeling. I know it's a sin to be thinking of her so much, wanting to get in touch with her to tell her how much better off I am and to brag. Not that she would care at all (I wouldn't either), but there is that side of me that wants her to want me. Revenge I guess? I have no idea, but I hate this. I just want to have Jesus in my heart and no one else, you know? It feels like idolatry.

I can't focus on God right now. Whenever that happens, I can't explain it, but I have no peace. If I can't get my eyes on Him, I have no peace. I feel anxious and I do things I hate. It's like the bitter sweet feeling when I think of her, only without the sweet part.

I want nothing to do with her. Why do I keep torturing myself with thinking about her? I have no desire for her at all.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Story

I was thinking about an incident that happened to me before God changed my mind about Himself. I'm not sure if I posted it here before, but one night I was watching T.V. and I stopped on a channel, I believe Roseanne was on, and someone said, "Come out, come out, where ever you are." Right after this I changed the channel, and the cartoon Ozzy and Dryx was on Cartoon Network and they said the same thing, "Come out, come out, where ever you are." This happened one or 2 more times. Right before it happened, when I changed the channel, I remember thinking to myself "What if I turned the station and the next show said the same thing". And it happened.

Soon after this, I became born again. I believe it was God speaking to me in a loving, playful sort of voice. Like a dad playing with his son saying, "I'm gonna get you" or something. I don't believe in coincidences like that anymore. I believe that small, seemingly foolish message, was God speaking to me. I have never had any pentecostal experiences or anything. No laying on of hands, no healing. None of that, but I have that one ridiculously cheesy moment. And I love it.

It's also worth mentioning that in this time, I had been getting interested in God. Not at all seeking Him, but interested in spiritual things. Nothing big, just looking up religious tattoos, watching documentaries on History channel and such.

Then one day, I'm sitting right where I am now, listening to the song Wild Child by Enya. The lyrics and the melody spoke to me in the very beginning of the song. The words "Ever close your eyes? Ever stop and listen?" Just those words. I remember putting it on repeat and hearing the words over and over. I remember thinking about God while I heard them, and that was it, I was hooked. I found someone new to love. A new way to have joy, a more meaningful joy. Not medicated happiness. I eventually learned the gospel and finally understood it. It was like a light bulb went off in my head "Jesus died for my sins! I get it!"

I've replayed that song hundreds of times since the spring of '06 when I first heard it, trying to feel them again, but I can't. I think maybe it wasn't the song, but God speaking to me through it. Just the first few verses of it. He hasn't said those words to me again since. Possibly because I finally closed my eyes to listen and I finally understood God's grace. Now I strive to bask in it everyday.

My favorite thing is to find God's love, to dig and understand what He says. I'm normally lazy at this, listening to teachers of the Word. I hope God eventually starts causing me to dig in His Word myself more often. I just get scared that He won't speak love to me in His Word. I'm scared all I will be able to see are commands to live by in order to be approved by Him. I'm not saying thats what it is, I'm saying I'm still not able to see very much on my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Everything is Ready

I want to suggest a scary thing for the average Christian.

Unbelievers are made righteous. I'm not talking about universalism, I despise universalism.

I'm saying what Jesus has already said in the parable of banquet, that everything is now ready. The good news is sinners, unbelievers, you're NOT condemned. People who don't believe in Jesus and who aren't able to keep the ten commandments, YOU'RE NOT CONDEMNED. Jesus is daring you to trust that. I dare you to believe that Jesus Christ loves you and accepts you because He has reconciled you to God. I dare you to trust in God's unconditional love and to reject anything you thought you knew or anything you have heard from Christian preachers.

Unbelievers, sinners, drunks, people who cuss, people who watch porn, God isn't condemning you or preventing you from coming to Him. He has already bridged the gap through Jesus Christ. I dare you to believe that. This means heaven is bought and paid for and you can live for eternity.

Sight for the Blind

Huge revelation for me in John chapter 3 19-21.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God."

I always thought Jesus was talking about sinners in this verse, but now I see He is talking about self-righteous people. People who find their righteousness in the law rather than in Christ Jesus. The people love the darkness, because they can pretend they're not so dirty and live in this self-righteous darkness. Whoever does wicked things hates the light. Jesus is the light, and people who find comfort in trying to obey the law, hate Jesus, because He reveals the truth. That they are evil. A sinner knows he is a sinner. A self-righteous person does not accept that he is a sinner, and the light reveals his own wickedness. Because we love evil, which is self-sufficiency, we hate the light. The light makes us trust in the light, that the light has justified us. The light exposes the truth. That we are evil and cannot be good. The light seeks to hide our filth, but we're afraid it will expose it, so we stay in the darkness. Jesus wants us to trust Him to cover our filth. Grace is indeed scary. It does not promote lawlessness, but it promotes being dead to the law, no longer trusting in it to make you a sincere believer or a follower of Christ. Being a follower of Christ, means following Jesus, not the law. Trusting Jesus to lead you in the way of righteousness, and not the law.

Jesus is daring people to trust completely in Him that He will not judge us, because all judgment has been given to Him and He has not come to judge us, but to save us. We must believe that He loves us and has fixed everything or we condemn ourselves by refusing to accept His acceptance of us.

The law came through Moses, but grace and truth comes through Jesus Christ.

The Matrix - Neo's Training (complete)

This made me think of what I'm learning about the life of Christ in a believer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


So I've been rummaging through all these goodies Joel has on his myspace, and I started to finish the video conference he had with a few other guys and I had gotten some clarity again. I suddenly understood what Paul says when he says "Through the law, I died to the law".

It struck me harder as to what the purpose of the law is, which is so blatantly clear in the New Testament epistles, that the point of the law is to bring us to the end of self-effort, not only for salvation, but for sanctification. I don't think something the Holy Spirit called "the ministry of death" should in anyway be used in the life of a Christian to bring success. We're so hard headed and so blind, even well meaning Christians can't see it. If you screw up, God isn't telling you to try harder, abstain from video games or television or re-dedicate yourself. He is yelling "Give up, already!!"

The more I experience my own stubbornness, the more I believe the only way to die to the law is through the law. Even when someone understands grace completely, human reasoning insists on using self effort to gain control of his or her life. Sort of like a dumb animal trying to go through a sliding glass door and keeps banging it's head over and over. So they think the way to get through it is to run faster and hit it harder. Of course, all this does is lead to more pain for the ignorant animal. They don't even notice the doggy door the owner of the animal made for them.

We totally miss the point. The law knocks us on our butts and we say "Re-Dedication!!!"

I don't say this like I've perfected this in anyway. But I've made the commitment to trust in Christ and not in myself. It is hard and very discouraging, and sometimes very scary. Most of the time, I don't have a clear understanding of grace, and I fight to regain it. I give up trying to mold myself into what I envision God wants me to be. And it sucks sometimes. I want to run back to dedicating self and forcing myself to be "good". But I can't. I know where that road leads. Anxiety, disappointment, and failure.

P.S. Thank you, Joel for all the stuff you put on your websites. I swear, everyday it's like I have a bag of goodies to snack on, lol

Just thinking

I understand this whole idea that I am righteous in Christ Jesus now. God peeled back the vale a little more today while I was dusting our living room. I realized being made righteous in Jesus is not just me being made right with God, but I am now righteous. I mean my inner being now loves righteousness. My inner being is the same of that of Jesus...I will now practice righteousness, as long as I live by the Spirit, my inner being, my true identity. I have to acknowledge the fact that my old self is now dead. So I live with the mind set on my new, true identity, in my inner self. I'm not the body anymore. I am a "spirit man". Before, I was a body, because my spirit was dead. But now I am made alive spiritually, therefore, alive to God. Now my true self desires righteousness.

But, my flesh still screams at me with it's desires..But if I am living out of the Spirit, I will not have my mind set on the flesh, therefore I will not pay attention to the desires of the flesh, but the desires of the spirit. Because now, my mind is set on the things of the Spirit.

Now all I have to do is to learn to practice this, lol.

hillsongs - at the cross

Monday, June 25, 2007


I was tagged by Joel to list 5 things I dig about Jesus.

I don't at this time have 5 others to tag, but I will definitely list 5 things I dig about Jesus.

1. He doesn't expect me to be perfect
2. He loves the ugly people. The everyday men and women you would see at a local bar.
3. He loved me and gave Himself for me
4. He offers Himself freely, without cost
5. He came to our level rather than having us try and reach the unreachable level of His own glory.

Sleepy Smurf

So I went to the theater today with my little brother Josh to see Fantastic 4 Rise of the Silver Surfer. It was pretty good..I'm looking forward to Transformers and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix now.

But ever since I got sick, I am having problems with being tired, and feeling sleepy all the time. I hate when I get like this...I really need to snap out of it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Blues

This week has been pretty bad. I had just gotten over my fever when I get hives. And I got them bad. They are easing up now I think, but they were covering my whole body. I was so miserable...So I've been lazy with prayer and reading the Bible since I got sick.

I feel so condemned again, like God is angry with me or something. I feel so anxious lately, and very bored. Not a good combination.

I know it's grace and not works, but I have been having fears again lately that maybe I don't have a sincere faith. I guess it's just because I haven't been doing much lately since I've been sick, then I got the hives. I just need a break. =(

Monday, June 18, 2007

Seeing things better?

I was reading in Mark chapter 8 just now where Jesus rebukes Peter and tells him that he is acting like satan. I read the verse after that and it struck a chord in my brain. Jesus says "For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, (things of the Spirit) but on the things of man (things of the flesh).

I was reminded of what Paul said in Romans chapter 8, that setting the mind on the flesh is death, but setting the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Peter wasn't stealing, practicing sexual immorality or any of those things. He was simply trying to protect Jesus, trying to be the rock. But instead Jesus called him satan.

It's interesting that Paul says, "if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

How does a Christian die when Christ has saved him? Apparently we aren't talking about losing salvation or dying physically, but I think he means death as in denying the life that comes from the Spirit and working out of the flesh. Notice he uses two different words, "flesh" and "body". He uses flesh to describe self-effort, and deeds of the body to describe sin.

So, we must deny self, (flesh) take up our cross, (consider ourselves dead to sin) and follow Jesus (set our minds on the Spirit). "For all who are LED (seems like we're following someone) by the Spirit are sons of God. "For we did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'"

This still isn't crystal clear to me, as I'm sure it isn't to anyone who might read this, but I think I am catching on a little more.

I hate it when I can't blame others

I was thinking just now and I realize growing up, I somehow got this idea of a Christian in my head that if you are a Christian, then you are to stay away from sin and sinners like the bubonic plague.

I also see something else in me that I hate. Sometimes, when I am around my Christian friends, I feel that they are uptight and are judging me, so I need to act holy, but I realize it is actually myself who is uptight and being so critical of myself. Everyone else is just laughing and having a good time. I am the one who is self-righteous. Usually, the most prideful people you will find are the shy ones.

I am the one who causes these feelings of inadequacy, feeling like people are looking down on me because I sin, when really it's just me being paranoid, which causes me to stress out. Then I try to figure out where this mindset came from and why I am like this. I really don't know. If I could change it, I would. It will change, but it will not be in my timing, but God's.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

False Alarms

So, the virus or whatever I had is just about gone. But I noticed how my vision of the gospel became foggy.

Heres the thing...If I am not worrying or doing, then I feel that either I am not a genuine believer or Jesus is going to be very angry with me if He were to return at this moment, thus losing my salvation or He'll let me know I never had it to begin with. Pleasant thoughts, huh?

Now I feel condemned because I preach about trusting in Jesus alone, but then I get worried and wonder that maybe I have to have good enough behavior. When I hear Jesus' words "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and do it", everything in my brain goes "Oh crap". Sirens go off, and these little guys in my body start shoveling coal faster as I search myself like a drill sergeant. Am I doing God's word enough? Am I doing it at all? Do I really believe? Am I one of those "close, but no cigar" type guys?

Then I remind myself what the gospel means and I can hear something say to me "At ease, soldier". But then my brain says "Well, what about this verse in..." Then I say to myself "Whom are your eyes set on right now?" If they're not on Christ, then something is wrong with my thinking.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I have a virus or something. I feel like crap, and I honestly felt like I might die earlier. I kind hoped I would, because I despise going to the emergency room. Death is a lot quicker than waiting in an emergency room. I despise being in the hospital.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

annoying habits

I get so irritated with myself sometimes.

I hate when I eat too much and waste loads of time watching television.

Then I irritate myself because I let myself feel condemned or unworthy for my frequent spiritual laziness. I do believe God will work this out of me eventually, but I do these things, even though I feel anxious the whole time, knowing I should pray. I want to pray, but I don't. This is when grace becomes hard, lol


Today was pretty good, besides the fact I keep dreaming about a person I used to know, trying to get in touch with them. It really messes up my whole day.

I am on the PC a lot lately since I surrendered to grace. I guess it's ok, because all I do is check out blogs, trying to learn more about this new Christ-centered world I'm living in. Honestly, grace hurts. It doesn't allow me to punish myself with guilt, beating myself up. I want so much to punish myself by worrying or something, because I keep messing up a million times in the day. But God is here...annoying, and beautiful as He is, suffocating sin with His grace.

I feel like taking a nap right now. Hopefully Ronnie and I hang out later tonight.

But right now, I want to lay down for a bit. =)

Amazing Grace, how hard to receive.

I have discovered something about myself after listening to a sermon on Grace Walk Radio.

I discovered that I have been guilty of being a theologian and not someone who really walks by faith in the grace of God. I accepted doctrine, but I didn't have it yet. I was walking by fear, hoping to receive grace. Trying to touch it, trying to arrive by prayer, Bible reading, holiness. I realize the only way to have it, is to take it. I don't want theology anymore, I want life. I don't want to accept the idea of by grace through faith, I want to live it.

That is pretty scary to me, to know I have had things in my head, but not in my heart. Grace is very scary. You learn discomforting things about yourself. We try to arrive there by dedication, but we don't ever get there because we don't take it. Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus' sake will find it. Trust, come, drink, live. Take it. Give up trying and just take Jesus freely. Stop the working, stop all the praying, Bible reading and efforts to grow closer to God and realize He right in the midst of you. Just take Him.

I'm not saying not to pray and read the Bible, I'm saying quit relying on those things to improve your relationship. Rely on Jesus, then you will desire it. He puts His Spirit in us and CAUSES us to walk in His ways. We do nothing but desire, trust, receive, take love, cherish and stare at it all day long, with our mouths hanging wide open watering, in part disbelief that we have the greatest treasure in the world. God is our possession and we are His.

"As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." Walk in Him the same way you receive Him. It's as easy as faith. Don't focus on your faith, just look to Jesus and welcome the righteousness He freely gives. Realize you're not worthy, and don't even try to walk worth. Just take it and let it transform you from the inside. Stop scrubbing the outside of the dish and let Jesus wash you and change you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Natural Fruit

Tonight I picked a few cucumbers out of our whiskey barrel garden. We have some really good soil in them and they just had 2 days of rain water. They were so fresh compared to what store bought vegetables taste like.

I love watching them grow, seeing how they get bigger everyday. Of course, I'm going to some place spiritual with this. =)

The plant itself and the branches on it just sit there. The branches are just resting in the vine and fruit miraculously starts appearing and growing bigger and bigger day to day. Mom was telling me tonight that the more fruit we pick, the more will grow. I was reminded of Jesus' saying that the Father prunes those who are bearing fruit, so that they will bear more fruit. Our fruit is to be satisfying and tasteful to God. It is suppose to be natural, flowing from His power in us. We are these beings that He has created so that He can express His beauty...His life in us. All we need do is remain in Him, rest in Him, trust in Him. The branches, I've noticed don't do a lot of moving, they just do a lot of being. They just remain on the vine and the fruit naturally shows up.

We tend to snap a whip at people in the Church today. Believe in Jesus and bear fruit! Doesn't trusting in Jesus cover it? What need is there in commanding people to focus on bearing fruit, when it comes naturally? Are we so insecure of the power in the gospel, that we beat it in the heads of people that they must believe AND bear fruit. I thought believing connected you to the one who produces the fruit? Jesus never said we produce fruit, He said we abide in Him and we bear it. We do not produce fruit, He does.

What need is there in emphasizing the point of good behavior if it comes naturally? Why do we even mention it with the gospel? You can't add it to the gospel, or else you make it grace and works. Simply tell people to trust in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and let Jesus produce the fruit and they will bear it. We shouldn't be so cynical of someone who hasn't been completely transformed in a "salvation experience"...Whatever that means.

Edit: I have this side of me that likes to challenge people. Grace is one of those things that make people uneasy, and I've learned to let myself drown in it. So now I like showering it on people, with the hopes of God changing peoples lives through the gospel. There is also that side of me that wants to challenge the majority of Christians today who love to end the controversy and say we need balance. Grace isn't one of those things you can balance. You need it like you need air if you want a functioning relationship with an infinitely holy God. So no one speak balance to me, because I will continue to throw grace around carelessly like million dollar bills. I want to give it to the ugliest, most sinful people you can imagine. The people who really make me and every other Christian sick just by their presence. Those are the people I want to dump buckets of million dollar grace bills on.

Hard Grace

Again, today, I was reading Joel Brueseke's blog and in one post, he mentions what 2nd Corinthians says about believers in Jesus. That we have, that I have God's righteousness. The supreme of the supreme, there is no fuller acceptance than the quality of acceptance of God's very own acceptance of Himself. Did you catch that? I hope so.

It is amazing what we have been given freely, without cost. I just wanted to share that.

My day so far has been decent. Standing in God's grace is always invigorating, renewing and scary. It's kind of like the feeling you get when you're standing in the middle of war, but somehow the bullets, missiles, grenades and all are not harming you. In fact, they're bouncing off of you. It takes awhile to learn to get used to the huge explosions, knowing you don't have to duck and cover anymore. I'm sure the Hebrews in their houses during the passover felt the same way we feel when we rest completely in God's grace. A little anxious at times, but free. Free to rejoice in our salvation, free to love, to do good things from an honest and good heart, not trying be good, but realizing you are the best you will ever be. You have God's own righteousness. Think of the blasphemy we commit when we strive to please God out of our own efforts.

I feel uneasy typing this, but imagine standing in front of the cross, while Jesus is hanging there, bleeding, crying, and separated from the Father, yelling at Him "It isn't enough! I have to...!"

By grace you are saved through fruit? Blasphemy. Trust and focus on Jesus alone and He will produce fruit in you. Don't even think of fruit. Rejoice in the grace and love God has for you. Don't try to pay Him back, that is the biggest insult to grace. Instead accept it, bathe in it, and let Him save and sanctify you by grace, through faith.

Monday, June 11, 2007

some clarity

I was listening to Growing in Grace podcast just now and I heard Mike Kapler talking about his experience with grace and it is very similar to what I am experiencing now, which is very encouraging.

In this particular episode, Mike mentions that since he came to grace, he doesn't pray as much as he used to, but his prayer life, and his life with God in general has much more meaning even though he doesn't pray as much as he used to.

I have been that way the past few days. It made me a little uneasy to think I had sank in my prayer life, but I find that I am much more interested in God now. When I pray, it means so much more. It feels..real. It feels genuine, rather than trying to deepen some religious commitment to make myself stronger..To make myself love God more I think. To be "good".

I'm realizing that I can get no better than I already am, spiritually. God has already given me everything in Jesus Christ. My job is to trust that. I have ceased from my works to get close to God..His Spirit is in me. There is no more war anymore...I've just been living like there was. I can't improve on anything Christ has done.

Everything has been done, all we need do now is accept it. Why are we still living like we are striving to serve God to please Him. Didn't Jesus please Him enough for us? Why are we worrying ourselves to death, trying to make Jesus number one by abstaining from tv, music, movies, etc. Why can't we be in the world but not of it? We have the ability in Jesus Christ to do all things. Loving God more and growing in your relationship doesn't come from working, but from resting. To work to do anything to improve our relationship with God is telling Jesus His sacrifice wasn't sufficient. All we need to do is bathe in His love for us, not strive to make Him number 1. We need grace, not law.


I realize, now that I allow myself to stand in grace, (as scary as it gets sometimes) how much grace is mentioned in the Bible, yet we read books upon books about new laws, newly devised plans of disciplinary steps toward success in the life of a believer in Jesus.

What we need is huge, unfiltered, and aggressive amounts of grace. We need grace lavished and poured out in our hearts daily. Have we forgotten we still have sin problems? Where do we get the idea that by adding more and more disciplines, motivational speakers, and revivals that we will be more equipped to live a Spirit filled life? Apparently, we think we are all grown up now that we are saved and that grace is just there when we need it. HELLO, you're a sinner! Wake up and quit being afraid of grace. I say that to myself as well, because I need constant reminder of that throughout the day. If I don't have my trust set in grace, then what have I trust in? Of course, I can say I am relying on grace, but then struggle over and over again with sin, disobedience, laziness, and inconsistency and then say "Praise God, He is giving me strength to keep going!"....Give me a break. Take a load off and quit telling people that they need to bear fruit to be victorious. Bearing fruit comes from abiding in God's love and grace, then the fruit will eventually come.

I'm convinced there are loads of people who claim to love God and have this awesome Spirit led life who, when they read the Bible actually can't find anything they like about God, because from what they think, He is just telling them to obey a load of commands and then commanding them to love that life.

I scare myself typing those words, but I believe it to be the truth. I have read the gospel without grace and I have a hard time even liking Jesus, let alone loving Him enough to take up my cross daily. But when I rest in grace, I am able to see that His commands come from an abiding relationship with Him. So, what I'm saying is that maybe we don't live by commands, (trying harder) but we live by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We abide in His grace and love and His life starts slowly growing out of us, like fruit from a tree. So quit focusing on sin and obedience and focus on God's grace. Focus on the fact that you're nothing and deserve nothing. Don't even focus on good works or bearing fruit. Simply focus on Jesus Christ and His grace freely given to you. Only then will you be able to genuinely love Him and appreciate Him.

We love Him because He first loved us, not because we try harder to love Him, but because we rest in His love for us.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

standing firm

I see how our minds are easily swept away by philosophy and simply focusing too much on bearing fruit, rather than on Jesus Christ.

My mind gets loaded down with unheard and unseen lies and if I don't watch myself, I so easily veer off the the course of grace. I felt I needed to write to explain things to myself. I feel these unheard accusations in myself.."You're not reading the Bible enough, you're not praying enough, you've lost discipline, you need to go back to fear and rules", and on and on they go. But I told God in prayer today that I am not moving from grace unless He pushes me out of it. I am standing my ground, not moving. I refuse to try to add one single thing to the cross of Jesus Christ. I refuse to receive the kingdom of God any other way. I refuse to earn it, I refuse to believe that God will allow me to be lost. If I am not saved by trusting in Christ alone, then I don't want to be saved. Any other gospel is no gospel at all, but rather bondage. I will not allow myself to think that I need to do anything but trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of the world.

Jesus is my Savior, and I need add nothing to His sufficient work on the cross. He is my salvation, my sanctification, and my redemption.

Stolen Material

I am stealing a lot of stuff from other peoples blogs now. But I am so excited about what I've learned that I just want people to get it.

Steve Mcvey, awhile ago, posted part of an interview with Bono, the dude from u2. He discusses his faith in Christ.

So without further ado...

Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.

Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched …

Bono later says it all comes down to Jesus:

Bono: … When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

His observation on religion:

"Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship."

I know little about Bono, but what I have seen and know of him causes me to marvel again at the way our Father uses different types who are different places in our journeys.

I think secular people understand so much more about God than Christians. Religion is like some disease that spreads like wildfire. We have to give grace to people. We got everything backwards and we wonder why people don't accept the gospel like they once did. We wonder why we can't love God, stay consistent, etc. We need to quit working and take a good bath in grace. Let your mind, heart and spirit soak in it. We can't dedicate ourselves or re-dedicate ourselves. We're losing ourselves. We have to stop trying to save ourselves. "Whoever would save his life will lose it".

Receive God's grace and don't be afraid of it.

Liberty to the Captives

That is exactly what Jesus came to give people under law and struggling to make oneself a "good person".

I have finally took the jump into that ocean of grace. I have stopped trying to make myself better. I have stopped worrying about sinning, avoiding sinning and making sure I have good works.

It seems like no Christian life at all, but there is life here. I know it, I don't understand it and I don't understand the parts of the Bible that don't seem to agree with a life completely surrendered to grace. There is no balancing grace with something else. It is all grace and none of self. We must deny self, take up our cross and follow Christ. We must stop trying to save our lives by sanctifying ourselves and rest in Jesus Christ. If anyone wants to serve Jesus, they must follow Him. They must abide, remain, stay, etc. We always try to figure out what Jesus means by abiding...We think it means praying more, staying in the Bible, serving in the Church, giving tithe, stop watching television, and on and on. To remain simply means to remain. Stay where you are, and let Christ bear the fruit in you. Trust in the power of God's grace alone to sanctify you. Just rejoice in the freedom of salvation. Some say "thats easy believism", and to that I say "duh". That's why it's called grace, you religious nut. If it weren't easy, that would imply you must do something. We must do nothing but trust, so quit loading people down with burdens you're not even sufficient in carrying. We need to quit being cowards and stand in God's grace and realize it is finished. God did everything in one act, so let the one who boats, boast in the Lord. He did it, He does it, you either rest in it or you don't get it at all. Either receive the kingdom of God freely, without cost, or don't have it at all. Don't hinder put fine print on the gospel.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for them if a millstone were hung around their neck and be thrown into the sea."

Saturday, June 9, 2007

scary freedom

I've let go of my worry and I suppress the slight urge to grab onto commandments and keep them for assurance. Simply resting, and keeping my eyes on Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, when there are so many commandments in the Bible, is scary. I feel like I will get lazy..I have slouched in prayer, but I don't think it is bad. I do believe God is just letting me rejoice in my new freedom and He will work up the desire for prayer and other things. But right now I am having to make myself relax and enjoy the freedom God has given me.

I have to resist the urge to question myself, and put myself under a microscope rather than keeping my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. It is so scary, but so freeing and exciting. I know this is true, because I've tried using fear, guilt and self-discipline to get myself to be obedient. This is a constant leap of faith that I know will become easier. It just seems too simple. But Paul said it was simple, and Jesus said you must receive the kingdom like a child.

Seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness. Not seeking my own righteousness by living up to whatever the standard is set to where I finally find His kingdom.

In grace I have assurance, but I am also uneasy. It feels kind of like running naked, hundreds of miles away from any human, but still having that feeling that someone is going to see you. Focusing on the gospel, rather than commandments seems foolish and crazy. But the law is the ministry of death.

I wish someone more experienced in grace than myself would tell me if I am doing things right or not. I always second guess myself.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Free Gift

I went out with my "good best friend" Ronnie today...We had dinner at Steak N Shake, stopped by the bookstore and hung out as his house for a while. I was trying to articulate what I'm looking for, which is basically grace and more grace. Because I need it...

So, I ended up buying The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I am hooked. I just finished the first chapter, and I keep getting so excited I put off praying and just want to listen to music and soak up, bathe in and lather up grace and scrub my brain with it. It is that addicting.

I feel like I want to shout to the world that we don't get it. I still don't fully get it..I'm talking about grace. I want to understand it more, I want to give it more, I want people to understand Jesus Christ didn't come to give religion, He came to give freedom and life freely. I think I may now believe in "easy believism". But it isn't easy to believe, because we can't believe until God works in our hearts. So it's easy, but it's impossible.

The grace of God is scary. It jerks me up and forces me to put myself with people I don't feel comfortable being friends with. It makes me love all people, even the people I think are ugly, boring or stupid. God's grace is free and He wants us to throw it around like confetti. It makes me feel ashamed because I have seen in myself times where I have set a religious bar over someones head and told them to jump over it and then they can receive the good news of the gospel. I am guilty of putting a safety lock on the gospel, so that no one can be free with it. We give the gospel message that its free, by grace through faith, but we have added fine print to it. Since when is the power of God not strong enough to make someone new? Why do we try and do God's job? Because we're afraid that if one doesn't have religion, one doesn't have control. And thats exactly what God wants..He wants humans out of the control of other humans. We're trying to do His job by trying to sanctify people with fear, and looking at people with contempt when they don't meet this standard of holiness we have set.

Don't put a price on the gospel. Give it how you received it. Absolutely free. No fine print, no tricks, no gimmicks. If you didn't receive it like that, odds are you didn't receive it.

I found a new way to irritate people and please that side of myself that likes controversy. To give the gospel freely without cost. That irritates religious people.


I have decided from now on to know of nothing but grace since that is all I am able to attain. I can feel how hungry for grace I am within myself, I realize how I have been starving myself of grace, when grace is the only fuel sufficient for newness of life, love, freedom, etc...

But to be honest, I am still a little afraid of grace. It seems like lawlessness, like my humanity would take advantage of it and live like the devil. A life of grace is definitely a life of faith, not really knowing where to hold onto other than Christ's death and resurrection. It takes focus off everything but that. You can't focus on grace and works at the same time, it is all or nothing. All of grace or all of works.

The grace of God creates life in me that I can never get with a mindset of obedience. I always knew that it was grace, I would just too afraid to venture to that place, because I knew I would have to forget everything I thought I knew about Jesus' sayings and what is in the Bible. But I understand now that somethings there are no balance in. There is no balance in grace, since we're always in need of more of it. I am able to love God when I am in grace, I am able to really rejoice and honestly say that I like Jesus now. I don't understand everything He teaches, but one thing I do understand is the gospel.

Also, Jesus' sayings take on a totally different meaning under grace. So I have to start from square one, learning to read with what has been called "grace eyes".

I guess I feel like Paul now, deciding to know nothing other than Christ crucified. I don't want to add or subtract to it and take away any of its power. The simplicity of the gospel is almost scary. But I can never hear it too much. I have decided not do anything with the gospel, but to believe and tell everyone "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." To add or subtract to that takes away it's power.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

foolishness it seems

I was reading something on and something struck me. I had never thought of it before..

God is revealing grace to me and what exactly it means.

"And "the offense of the cross" isn't the "Lordship of Christ". People bow to gods and gurus and messiahs all the time."

This was an eye opener for me. I thought the reason people were suppose to hate Jesus was because He wanted to run your life. In actuality, He wants to free your life. He wants to free you from worry, sin, depression, condemnation, guilt, etc.

The reason the cross is offensive, even to some professing Christians, is because of the freeness of it. It even scares me. It is scary. But this is how we must live. By faith. I hope I never forget this again.

It is scary because there is no law. There is no more chains tying you down and controlling you anymore. It seems like it's lawlessness, but it's freedom. It isn't trusting ourselves that we can be good, but in Jesus to set us free. Jesus said there are people who, at the judgment will say Lord, Lord, have we not done many mighty works in your name?" and He will say "Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." ...What? Did He just say it's lawlessness to cast out demons, preach and heal in His name? Why? Paul in some epistle (I forget which) gives us the reason. Paul says the law is good IF one uses it lawfully, knowing that the law was not made for the righteous, but for sinners. These people apparently are trusting in themselves that they are righteous because they are full of good works.

I scare myself living in complete rest in Christs work on the cross alone. I wonder if I will sin, get out of line, get lazy, etc. But the cloud of condemnation goes away when I am here. The oppressive spirit goes away and the worries are easy to fight when I can say it is finished because Jesus finished it completely and there is nothing left to be done but to accept it and rejoice in it.

I don't think it's wrong at all to completely trust Christ Jesus for salvation. I don't think it's wrong at all to put no focus on works, but instead on God's love, in His Son Jesus. I am hanging on Jesus' words, "Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child, will by no means enter it." Just look to simple trust and rest. This creates freedom, love and all the fruits of the Spirit. Because now we are resting in the powerful of the Gospel. It seems foolish..but it is the power of God.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

if i am a christian, anyone can be one

I want to take this time to search myself and write about what is inside of me. The things that I'm afraid of, worry about and am anxious over.

I am a constant worrier, doubter, over-analyzing, fearful, lazy hypocrite.

I want so much to have security with God. To know I am a true Christian, to know I love God, to know I am not going to hell, to know that God accepts me and that I am not a wicked and lazy servant.

Nearly all my life I have been lazy. I have never really had any self-discipline. I don't have a job, car or an education at this time. I feel worthless. I've tried to preach the gospel to a few people in the year I've been a Christian. I worry that I will never break out of my timidity and do God's work, thus proving to myself that I am a wicked and lazy servant. I see what Jesus says about the man who dug his talent in the ground, the people who were unfaithful, etc...I just see myself in everyone one of those scenarios. I feel worthless, like I will never break free from fear which causes laziness. I am completely selfish and self-centered. I do right things with wrong motivations. It makes me afraid to read the Word, because my imperfections are under this bright light. I see how filthy I am...I pray everyday that God changes me and makes me receive His love, love Him more, give me freedom from anxiety, fear and laziness. But few things change.

Sometimes I am certain I am not a Christian. I am terrible..I am a huge mess. So huge, I don't know what to work on next. I know I should be focusing on Christ, but when in my house all week, I have a lot of time to think. I have a lot of time to see how small, feeble and puny my faith is. How could I be saved? Is the question I ask myself constantly. I'm afraid of Jesus returning. I know my works...I'm worried He will tell me I have been wicked and lazy, then I worry that He isn't like that, but I will think He is, and when He shows up, He will tell me I shouldn't have worried so much, but now it's too late.

I am addicted to caring about what people think of me. I am so self-centered, it makes me sick. I don't try my best. I worry. I don't do everything whole heartedly. I do get into moments where I want to watch tv and I don't want to pray or read God's Word. I constantly search for assurance of salvation on the internet, in books, in questioning people. When I pray, I don't think I have enough faith for Him to do anything. I can be very cynical and irritable. I have quit some sins, but probably for the wrong reasons. I'm too afraid to knock on doors to give the gospel.

I was at the grocery store parking lot the other day, listening to music while mom was inside picking up a few things. I thought how wonderful it would be if I just went in front of the store and started yelling out the gospel. But I couldn't do it...I'm a coward. I can't even bring myself to walk to my friends Don and Susanne's house down the road, whom I go to church with because I am afraid they won't want me there or I won't know what to say, or I will be a bore to them. Something. I am afraid of something and I don't know what it is. I am even afraid of being afraid.

I feel like I need to stop now.

Monday, June 4, 2007

cut to the religious heart

I've said for a long time that the way to shrink a congregation is to preach the Gospel. Of course, the ones who leave are the ones who weren't there for the right reasons in the first place, and the ones who then come in--the addicted, the downtrodden, the broken-hearted, the ones who have nothing left to lose--are the ones Jesus said would enter heaven before those who are just "playing church." (Matthew 21:28-32)

This came from

Understanding Grace

I feel like God has just revealed Himself to me. Jesus is not religion..I understand it more. Jesus is for sinners. He is looking for sinners to come to Him so He can love them and be merciful to them. Even while I type these words, I know some people (yes, even "Christians) who, if they were to read it, still wouldn't get it. Jesus is for sinners. He knows they are evil and sinful from the heart, but He doesn't care. He came to give them not a perfect life, but truth, grace, love and freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from religion. Freedom to love anyone no matter how much they hate God. He is looking for people to give His kingdom to. Jesus said tax collectors and sinners get into heaven before religious people do. It was for freedom that Christ set us free..and how wonderful it is when you are able to realize it. Seek and you will find. I told Jesus this morning I wanted to understand grace, that I was tired of being good because of pride..There are things in me I can't deny. Sinful things. They are there..rather than throwing them in the closet, I need to bring it out so I can be healed. I need to confess I am indeed a sinner. I don't just sin, I am a sinner at the core. My being is sinful. But God came to save us from that and to give us His love. His love freely. Totally and completely without cost He says. He will "lavish His love on you". Simply because He wants to..not because you make Him happy by what you do, but because it makes Him happy to make you happy. Love brings everything into harmony. Love keeps things revolving.

Jesus is not some push over, nor is He a religious tyrant. Nor does He care how many sins you have committed. Sin isn't the issue anymore. He wants you for Himself. He doesn't want your good deeds or your morals. He wants you. Geez, I wish I could understand this more. His love is amazingly reckless. He doesn't care who He loves, since His being is love. It pleases Him to love without measure or limit. He wants you to receive His love for you so bad, He died to make it possible. It's really simple. Religion needs to die..I despise how it's been programmed into my head from childhood. It puts you in bondage and causes fear. I don't understand everything Jesus said, but I do understand that He died on a cross and raised Himself from the dead and anyone who trusts in Him will not be condemned. They will also have life abundantly. But people will hate you because you're dangerous to them. People hated Jesus because He was willing to love the people everyone else hated and He gave love to anyone who would receive it.

Grace Hurts

Metallica understands the effects of religion better than Christians.

I was reading someones blog today. He had put up a video of Metallica's song "The Unforgiven".

The lyrics are very powerful...They also help me to understand Jesus' message of grace more.

This is exactly what we, the church do these days. And we call it "grace". It normally starts out like "You can't do anything to earn forgiveness", but once you're saved, there is this whole list of things you must now do to keep forgiveness. We say there is not one thing you can do to make you more acceptable in the eyes of God than to have Christ as your righteousness, but then we say you're worthless if you're not meeting certain standards of holiness.

We are guilty of trying to force people to love God. Since when does the creation get fixed without the Creator fixing His creation? How do you get well without a physician?

Why do we welcome the saved and reject the unsaved? How do we think condemning people leads to salvation? Have we totally forgotten that Jesus said He came not to condemn the world, but to save it? If the perfect one, who has right to condemn the world doesn't condemn it, then how can we condemn it?

New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules

With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me...

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Wont see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labeled me
I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Grace may sound beautiful, and it is. But it is also very painful. It strips people of their pride. Pride goes very deep, as God reveals to me more and more how sick my heart is. How evil I am at the core. It strips you naked and leaves you outside your comfort zone. Grace is bright light called Jesus who reveals how filthy, selfish and lazy you really are. Grace takes away any boasting what-so-ever. But grace is also the most freeing thing when you let yourself embrace it completely.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sacred Romance

I really want to read that book. What I experienced tonight reminded me of that title.

I had downloaded some songs from Itunes tonight. Songs that I had listened to when I first fell in love with God. And I was thinking I would like to write about what a relationship with God is like and as I was thinking about it, I couldn't really compare it to any other type of relationship we are able to have on earth. My experience in having a relationship with Jesus has been affectionate, comforting, exciting, and full of joy. It has also been terrifying, discouraging, irritating, aggravating, and very frustrating.

The feeling you have when you're able to love God and see Him clearly is unlike any other joy. It's deeper, and down right satisfying. When I think about it, that is what inspired repentance in me. Repentance means changing your mind about something...When introduced to this new love, I was able to abandon sin and turn to God.

I would like to say I am able to see God clearly all the time, but I can't. My mind shuts up and I forget...There is this inability in my body that disables me from completely loving Him and savoring Him. When I don't have that, I strive want so much to have it again. I strive to enjoy God. I strive to love God..But this body gets in the way. It wants to sin, but I don't. It's basically a battle of belief. Do I believe sin is more enjoyable than God? Do I love sin rather than God? It is so hard to love God when you're in a body that isn't able to love God as He should be loved.

The love of God is amazing. There is no other love like the love that comes from relationship with God. It fills you up with wonder, fear and awe. You're so in love but so afraid at the same time. It's the most satisfying romance ever. At least when you are able to see clearly. Sin distorts our vision and hinders us from loving God as we should.

It's really not about heaven when I think about it. It's not about laws or religion...I know all Christians say Christianity isn't a religion, but it isn't. You don't read your Bible for brownie points. You don't pray to mark it off your good behavior checklist. It's a restored relationship with your Creator. There is no more laws. The law is love. The law is relationship. We are brought into relationship with God through God as He wrapped Himself in human body, came here and made it possible for us to be reunited with Him.

Even as I explain it, I still don't fully understand it myself.