Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Original Message

I am so absolutely sick of the endless sermons on behavior change. Talk about broken cisterns that hold no water!

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

When I read the epistles and it's encouragement for us to walk wisely and upright during this present time, I don't think Paul meant for us to give sermon after sermon on behavior.

Before I was a Christian, I would hear preachers and teachers speak all the time about behavior. Be good, do this, don't do that, and on and on. It gave me the impression (and a lasting one) that being a Christian is about changing my behavior. And I always flipped to another channel soon after. Probably in order to watch something that involved more cursing, killing and sex.

You people with radio stations and television programs ought to spend a LOT less time (if at all) speaking on behavior and a lot more time telling people about Jesus. You guys have a major opportunity to share the wonder of God's grace with millions of people! Don't you realize how many people flip through the channels and watch a few moments of your endless teachings on behavior? For goodness sake, give them the message of LIFE! Quit pounding endless principles into their heads, which have absolutely no power in restraining the indulgence of the flesh. Instead, why don't you reveal Jesus to them through all the Scriptures?

If I have seen one televised sermon on behavior, I have seen them all. Your's is no different.

Clean the world all you want, but it will still be nothing more than dead, rotting corpses, bound for eternal punishment in hell. Nothing more than white washed tombs.

"Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, for you travel land and sea to make a single proselyte and when he converts, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves."

Being a Christian is not about behavior! Sometimes, in order to prove that Christianity isn't about behavior to some of my friends and family, I would like to take up smoking again, start cursing again, and blare Children of Bodom, just so that they could understand that 'being good' has nothing to do with my being a Christian. I wasn't made a Christian by my changed behavior and I won't maintain it by changed behavior. Am I advocating cursing and smoking? Do I curse or smoke? Regardless of whether I do or not, it has nothing to do with my Christianity.

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial."

If you still think being Christian is about behavior, then you might not be one!

"For am I now seeking the approval of man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

God is not Deaf

"You never once hear Jesus condemning short prayers. But you do see him condemning long prayers". - Joseph Prince

He doesn't mean long prayers are bad, but unless they are from your heart, they are mindless ramblings in an effort to try to feel as though God really hears you.

Or it could even be about you praying in front of other believers at a bible study or a prayer meeting. Don't feel pressured to say all sorts of things if you don't know what to say. Just say what you want, and if they don't like how short it is, well, tough.

If they want something else said, let them say it.

Don't ever feel as though you have to make God hear you. You don't need to 'pray hard'. You can pray passionately from your heart to be sure, but making long, drawn out prayers in an effort to get God to answer you is absolutely stupid and Jesus said his Father doesn't appreciate it.

Really, guys. He isn't deaf. I'm sure his ears work a lot better than ours do.

Real Prayer

I was listening to another sermon by Andrew Farley on his website, on the subject of prayer.

He mentioned that he had recently discovered that the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) were actually very short versions of some of the very long prayers that the Jews would pray over and over back then.

This makes a ton of sense if you look at Jesus' words just before the famous prayer that he told his disciples to pray:

"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, (those who don't know God) for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father in heaven knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil' ".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Korn - Blind

This sounds like what Martin Luther had experienced before his amazing discovery of grace. He had to become so lost, hopeless and utterly desperate in his blindness before the light of the glory of Christ could shine on him.

It is the same with all of us who have come to see the grace of God in truth.

"This place inside my mind, a place I like to hide
You don't know the chances, what if I should die?
(A place inside my brain, another)
Kind of pain)
You don't know the chances, I'm so blind
Blind, blind

Another place I find, to escape the pain inside
You don't know the chances, what if I should die?
(A place inside my brain, another
Another kind of pain)
You don't know the chances, I'm so blind
Blind, blind

Deeper and deeper and deeper as I journey to
Live a life that seems to be
A lost reality
That can never find a way to reach my inner
Self esteem is low, how deep can I go, in the ground that I lay?
If I don't find a way to, see through the gray that clouds my mind
This time I look to see what's between the lines"

I don't post the actual video as I don't want to scare anyone, but I thought the lyrics to the song were very meaningful. Usually, before I can acquire a taste for a certain song, I need to know the meaning.

"For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the Word of Righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up in contempt."

Instruction about washings: The Old Covenant cleansing laws for purification.

The laying on of hands: When someone would lay their hands on the sacrifice and symbolically pass their sins onto the animal.

He is telling these people who have heard and understood the Gospel, not to go back to the old covenant. These things were just shadows of Who had now come!

In other words, how are you going to convince someone who has heard and understood the Gospel, if they then reject it, to believe it? If you have seen the truth and known the truth, then turn away from it, how can you be brought back?

Sounds familiar doesn't it?

The scribes had once seen Jesus cast out a demon by the finger of God, and then willfully rejected what they had just witnessed. They saw the truth and then rejected it by saying that Jesus cast out demons by the help of demons. Remember what Jesus said afterward?

"Truly, I say to you, all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin."

Jason Castro - Hallelujah

I just found out that Jason is a believer. Cool, huh?

I love his version of this song.

A Race of Faith and Weakness

I will always feel urges that are contrary to my true nature. I will always feel those hungers of the flesh. Until Jesus comes to swallow up my mortality with immortality, I will feel the desire to sin.

So why keep feeling so guilty about it? Why act so surprised when you desire something that is sinful? It doesn't surprise the Omniscient One. The Ancient of Days is wiser than you give him credit for.

So if you understand that these urges are inevitable, then why do you sulk with your self-righteous shame? You're a miserable wretch, longing to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, believing it has the ability to make one like God. You know well enough that the Scripture tells of a righteousness from God that has been revealed through faith in Jesus Christ.

We will only ever be like God when we cease trying to be our own hero, and begin to gorge ourselves in the fruit that comes from the Tree of Life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil looks very appealing, as though it has the ability to make one wise, and it even may have you convinced that it possesses the ability to make you as the Wise.

While the Tree of Life is a very simple looking thing. It's just two wooden beams nailed together. It looks rugged and beaten, and just by looking at it, you would never think it has the ability to make one righteous.

The Gospel is, "Folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God to salvation."

The challenge from God to you is not a challenge of strength, but of daring you to revel in weakness.

The challenge is this:

"I dare you to be crazy enough to trust only in My Jesus".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I didn't get to work today because of my leg, and I won't be able to work tomorrow either.

Tracy, my boss, told me to take the rest of the week off and come back Monday and see how things were then. But I think that this happening to my leg was truly a blessing! Peak season for West Marine is here, and today's volume was 28,000 units. That, my friend, is probably a 13 hour day. And they said it would be worse next week. It will be multiple times a week that we will be working 12 hour days and even over. My leg can't handle it. With peak season here, we could be working 15-16 hour days. And please, if you are thinking of telling me something like, "You can do all things in Him", then keep it to yourself. I don't want to hear it - really.

Applying for this job was a mistake in my judgment. I had a feeling at the beginning that I would be trying to tackle something beyond my ability, but I didn't listen. I gave it my best shot and it didn't work out. So what? I'll look for something else. I was looking for some hero story, to show people how I could tough it out and be a hard worker even during a lot of pain.

But I can't. And I won't.

I secretly thought that God might admire me for it. I thought that if he could see how I would work through pain, I thought it might impress him and show him I have endurance and character. So I gave it my best shot and I couldn't handle it. Why won't people accept that?

Something my mom told me today helped me to better see God's view of me.

Earlier this morning, I spoke with mom about what had happened and how my leg had started to bleed again today. I told her that I wanted to quit and go back to school. Well, let's just say she didn't handle it well.

She was upset.

"Upset" sounds nice, doesn't it? She got really angry with me and proceeded to tell me, in a rather loud voice, how I was messing things up and how I shouldn't have gotten a job, knowing it would be too much for someone with my condition.

But after she calmed down, she told me how she really felt. She explained to me that she got so angry with me because it hurts her so bad to see me in pain. She said seeing her son go through the amputation was harder for her than it had been for me, whether I knew that or not.

I believe her.

She said I stressed her out so much because, as a parent, she wants so much to fix it, but she can't. She said I would understand when I had children of my own.

So maybe God doesn't delight to see me in pain? Maybe he has a deep compassion for me. Maybe he doesn't have the distant attitude of, 'Well, hang in there, buddy". Maybe he genuinely cares for me.

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children..."

"That You May Know What is the Hope to Which He has Called You..."

It is only sometimes that I catch a glimpse of the truth that will eventually turn into reality. I, Matt Campbell, will be glorified with Christ when he returns. When I get those glimpses of glory and understand that it will soon happen to ME, then I understand how ridiculous it is for me to act like someone I am not. IF ONLY people would keep pounding this truth into me and into EVERYONE who belong to Christ of who they are and the certainty of the glory they will have with Christ, regardless of their behavior, then there would be no more need of teaching against sin! People would then realize what the Work of Christ REALLY accomplished for them and they would begin to see the enormous weight of eternal glory and honor that will be fully realized and will come to full fruition at the return of Christ.

In those moments, when I actually sit and think about who I am in Christ and what he has prepared for me, sin literally becomes silly and out of character. This ought to be the focus for the Christian! The Work of Christ, which is FINISHED, should be the focus! Not my sin!

If Christ isn't the focus of your teaching, then save it for someone who gives a *flip*! I could think of other words that would better demonstrate my strong feelings about this, but I will leave the cursing to Jamie since that seems to be her area of expertise. HA! =P

"Sin stains are lost in it's Life giving flow. In the precious Blood of the Lamb!"

Another Brick In The Wall

This song reminds me so much of Jesus' words in Matthew 23. He spoke of Israel's teachers shutting up the kingdom in peoples faces.

Jesus always referred to his disciples as little children. So to me, this is Jesus yelling at those so called 'teachers' to leave his children alone.

Also, I think it's worth mentioning that the majority of metal singers who sing of their hate of God, do so simply because they don't know him. And it doesn't help the situation when there are so many 'teachers' who profess to know God and insist on teaching the blind about someone they themselves have never met or trusted. So when I hear people lashing out against God in song, they are really lashing out at the god they have imagined in their own ignorance and in the ignorance of those 'teachers'.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lucifer's Flood

I'm reading a new book called, 'Lucifer's Flood' by Linda Rios Brook. I picked it up after reading the back. It's about one thing I've always been fascinated by: The war that broke out between the angels in heaven. In the story, a woman meets this man with these ancient scrolls, older than the Torah. Her job is to translate the scrolls. When she begins to translate, she finds out that it's a kind of diary by one angel that was banished from heaven and he tells the story of the war in heaven and being thrown down to Earth.

It's an interesting read, but not as imaginative as what I was hoping for. I think a medieval fantasy writer would be great at writing a book on this subject. When I think of angels, I may be wrong, but I don't think of them as looking like Conan or Lion-o with 'rippling muscles'. That's just my opinion and it's not primarily what makes the book bad for me. What irritates me is the way God is viewed. He is viewed as love, most definitely, but the writer clearly tries to make a difference between God's holiness and his love. The book portrays him as pretty much a REALLY nice guy until you screw up. And I understand that. I do. We all know God is a God of justice. Sin will be punished and he didn't even spare his own Son when he dealt with our sins.

But my problem is trying to separate God's holiness from his love. I thought his love is what made him holy? I mean, if I were trying to be holy, what would I try to do? I would try to keep the commandments, which, in essence, are an expression of love. I don't believe God is two sided...He even said in Isaiah that he hated the religious crowd's attitude of 'Stay away from me, I am too holy for you.' Yet that's kinda how I feel God is portrayed in this book. I know, I know, They are angels, not humans, so grace is not an option for them for some reason. But it still nags at me.

I'm Divin' In Again

My new job isn't going so well. Today was a bad day and I had to leave early because of pain in my leg. My boss and lead are very helpful and are very willing to work with me in anyway they can. I am very thankful to them. Today they tried putting me into a different place to see if it would help. At first I thought it did. There was not much thinking or stress involved in this place while feeling my leg burn and pound. I hate trying to concentrate when my leg is burning. But there was a lot more lifting, and that eventually took it's toll on my lower back. After I finished my work down stairs, they moved me upstairs which was a LONG walk down the aisle without my cart. With my cart, I still get pain, but I last longer because I'm able to lean on it and take some weight off of my leg with it.

I wanna stick it out as long as I can. Not necessarily for myself, but for the people I work for. They have been so gracious towards me with my condition. The best people you could work for. They really care for their employees. Really. They're always looking out for us, asking us what we would like to change about our workplace and last week they cooked us all hotdogs and bought chips for us for lunch. So I hate to jerk them around about putting me in different places and being unable to tell them how long I will be able to work with them.

I'll dive back in tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


In listening to a sermon in Andrew Farley's sermon series entitled "Distracted", he mentioned something that really struck me concerning Christians, politics and fighting for 'Christian principles' and capitalism in our country. He made the point that you never heard of Jesus trying to change peoples mind on abortion and you never heard of Paul trying to change the direction of Rome and it's government. These were not the concerns of Christ nor his apostles. How did we become so focused on this stuff in America? I am not an American. I am a citizen of heaven. Of course, Paul didn't deny being (physically) a citizen of Rome, but I think he could have cared less about it's politics. I've never heard of any sermons from the apostles about vigorously opposing abortion, socialism, gay marriage and tax increases on the wealthy. The only thing I remember Paul trying to get Christians to understand was that their citizenship is in heaven and from it they were awaiting a Savior; Jesus Christ.

I am not an American, I am a citizen of Zion. Let the world do what it wants to do with itself. This isn't OUR country and this isn't OUR world. We are waiting for a new heavens and a new earth.

It isn't wrong to be involved in politics if you are a Christian. I'm not saying that. I'm saying don't let it distract you.

Self Explanatory

Thirteen Things I Say Every Day

Phrases that are heard repeatedly coming out of my mouth:

1) "That's ridiculous"

2) "I know woman, shut up!" (speaking to the computerized woman in my headset at work)

3) "You stupid..."

4) "...Come on!"

5) "How's it goin', man?"

6) "Peaches!"

7) "You idiot!" (again, at work)

8) "Aggh!"

9) "I'm ready to go!"

10) "Sorry, Father"

11) "Oh, Lord Jesus, help me..."

12) "What batch 'you on?" (at work again)

13) "Oh, really?"

Very nice, huh?

What are common phrases you find yourself using on a daily basis?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being Closed Minded a Bad Thing?

"For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the anti-christ. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. "

Monday, April 13, 2009

I feel like I am losing it. Lately I have been so irritable. I've just been so focused on getting done at work so I can get home and then I want everyone to leave me alone so I can rest. I've been extremely irritable with my mom, biting back at her if she asks me too many questions. It's like I am receiving all this grace teaching lately, but nothing is happening. I seem to be getting worse. I am not attending Sunday meetings, I'm not reading my Bible very often, I'm not praying for others very much, I'm listening to music I used to listen to, I am not being so worried about how good I am living and I feel like I am falling away. I know the theory that if I keep feeding on Christ, continue in grace, HE will live through me...But right now I feel like I am hanging on by a thread. A part of me wants to be like I used to be, so focused on self and how good I am, but I can't go back. I just don't have the motivation or energy to go back to it. I feel like the dog constantly trying to chase down cars, only to have one stop and let me catch it. Now I don't know what to do. My first year or so being a Christian, I kept trying to chase God, trying to earn his love and delight in me. Now I have it...Now what? If I am not being good in order to get him to love me, then what now is my motivation? I know the theory. My motivation is to be grace. But right now I just don't feel any desire to be busy in service. I am very selfish lately.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Am I to love those who depart from the faith? Am I to love those who gave themselves over to doctrines of demons. Am I to love universalists and those in the new age crowd? Seriously, do I?
If I could have one permanent grace, it would be to remain brokenhearted. For my Jesus, his Gospel and for people. To remember that I am no better than they are and that I am no more lovable by God because of my efforts to avoid sin. Sin never once changed his view of any human. If it had, he would not have endured 33 years on this earth and then allow himself to be of no reputation, was stripped, tortured and crucified. That doesn't seem like a God who hates fags to me.


I think I would scare myself if myself from 2 years ago could see me now. Listening to Korn songs again, not worrying about how much TV I watch or how long I play Halo. Not to mention the occasional "Son-of-a..." at my job when I have to pick 16 of those fold up chairs that you carry in a travel-sack. I can't stand that. It fills up my cart and I have to scan all the individual, consolidated ones. Just thinking about it makes my blood boil.

And I don't say thank you everytime I get something different to eat. Gasp. I don't worry about being worldly and selfish if I eat a lot. After all, didn't Jesus feed the 5 thousand until they had as much as they wanted? Oi vey... I was my own worst religious teacher.

I wanna let go of the non-sense and embrace the things my Jesus is really concerned about. Like me trusting in his finished work. Like learning to quit being so cynical of people and easily writing them off as hell-bound, false professors. You may have not seen it in my polite smile and niceness, but it was there, under the skin. After all, I myself was constantly criticized to see whether or not I was in the faith, why not others also?

I'm starting to let apply to me what I already knew, but refused to take hold of. And that is the fact that the only thing that counts in my life as a believer, is my belief in the finished work of Christ working through love. Faith comes by knowing Christ, love comes from the Spirit of Christ who dwells in our hearts through our faith.

Relax and let go. Let Jesus work in you what you can't muster up in your emotions, desires or actions. He is the shepherd and he leads us by his Spirit to green pastures of freedom and grace.

"Martha, Martha! You're worried about everything. Just relax, sit at my feet, and get to know me."

"Just drink of me, and I will become in your belly, rivers of living water."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blood of a Lamb

"Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?"

I can't tell you what made me think Abel by chance, lucked up and brought the right thing to please God. I had the thought that God was mean...I mean Cain was trying to please him, but he flat out rejected Cain AND his offering. I never understood why, even though I completely understood the Gospel, this was still hidden to me as I had only understood the Gospel, but I don't think I had come to put my faith in Jesus alone. So in my unbelief and lack of knowledge, it was hidden from me.

I have heard the theory that the reason Abel was accepted was he brought the firstborn of his flock, but Cain did not bring his firstfruits. In other words, Cain didn't make God his number 1 priority. He gave him his second best. He didn't do his best so he didn't make the cut. Sorry, Charlie. How absolutely ridiculous is that thinking, especially when you understand the Gospel! How could I have been so utterly stupid to think that Abel lucked up or Abel gave his best, whereas Cain didn't. But now, with my faith firmly in Jesus Christ alone, standing before the Almighty in naked faith in the work of Jesus Christ alone, I can see the true reason for Abel's acceptance. Whilst I used to think it was Abel who gave his best and not Cain, I believe it was the contrary that happened. I believe Cain gave his best and Abel by FAITH, (not his best) offered up an acceptable sacrifice.

You see, the Scriptures are clear that it is only by the shedding of blood that we obtain forgiveness of our sins. Your sins MUST be punished. Your sins MUST be dealt with in justice. Even if I repent and try my best, I have still sinned and those sins must be payed for. I don't care if Cain gave his firstfruits, his best fruit, all his fruit, some of his fruit, any of his fruit! His sins MUST be payed for! The justice of God demands those sins be punished. Without the shedding of blood, there is absolutely no forgiveness of sins.

So Cain, slaving away out in the field, striving to produce some fruit for God, was not accepted. But his brother, Abel, who offered up a LAMB sacrifice was accepted. This is the Gospel. This is no lesson in behavior or exhorting you to give your best for God. This is a lesson of the fact that even if you give your best fruits to God, you will die in your sins if you do not wash your robes in the Blood of the Lamb. Without the shedding of Blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.

So, what did Abel do in order to be accepted by God? He offered up a lamb sacrifice, and God, who knew what this was a picture of, accepted the offering and in accepting this offering, he accepted Abel.

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

"Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?" I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."
I went in to work this morning and into our second batch, the computer systems crapped out. And so our RF guns didn't work and we couldn't do anything. So they had us stay and wait until 12:00pm to see if they would come back on. 9 hours of doing nothing but cleaning the isles and standing around. 12pm came and we were sent home only to come back tomorrow (Friday). We are not suppose to work Fridays. I was so frustrated and irritated. Today was suppose to be a short day as we had a low volume. Only 16,000 units. Thats about a 5-6 hour work day. We probably would have gotten off at around 10am. Then we were suppose to go home until monday. Now we stayed there 9 hours, and we gotta go back at 3am tomorrow. I just want to moan and groan about it right now. I hate this world's system and I hate it's money. I don't want this world's cares to affect me. I'm angry because I feel like the world is snatching my attention away from Jesus.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lately I have been listening to the harder music I used to listen to. Not all of it, as a lot of it is very negative and depressing and I sincerely just don't wanna hear it. But for awhile I was a little uncomfortable listening to the harder stuff. It just reminded me of my old life before I was united with God. That was the most dead, dull and pointless existence. Each day was a rummaging through life in the garbage can, trying to find something to ease the gnawing hunger for fulfillment and contentment. It wasn't even fulfillment or contentment I was hungry for. I was hungry for God and fulfillment and contentment come from God.

Anyway, that being said, I just enjoy some of the stuff I used to listen to. I can relate some of it to my relationship with God. But there is still a slight worry in me that thinks maybe I'm losing it. But trying to listen to a certain style of music never made progress for anyone spiritually. Nor will it help me. I don't make progress spiritually, physically. I make progress physically, spiritually. From the inside, out. If the root is good, so is the fruit.

God is Our Salvation!

Steve McVey spoke on something at the conference, that to me, is still hard to grasp. So I want to write it out and think about it.

He made the point that salvation is not that I accept Jesus Christ, but that he accepts me. Read the story of the prodigal son. It wasn't that the son accepted the father into his life. It was the son daring to enter back into his fathers life. Jesus Christ reconciled us to himself, not the other way around. Salvation is that God accepts me. And at the first glimpse of me, he comes running unashamedly and just starts hugging and kissing me. He's a lot like Jacob, running towards Rachel when she's out watering her dad's sheep. She's dressed in rags, shes filthy and smells like a barn, but Jacob runs towards her, kisses her and just starts crying. So from what the Scriptures say, apparently God is infatuated with me. I don't need to understand how or why, I just need to receive his shameless love. Also, the Scriptures seem to say he is willing to make a fool of himself for me. But how is this possible? The Most High is willing to pull up his robe over his knees, exposing himself and then runs towards this filthy, stinking, selfish jerk and give him a bear hug, puts a robe of righteousness on him, sandals on his feet, and then gives him his ring of authority? I know why legalists think we're crazy now. That sounds absolutely ridiculous. It takes helpless, vulnerable faith to believe it. We don't like feeling vulnerable. It isn't safe!

Steve also made the point that sin does NOT change God's attitude towards me, but it changes mine towards him. Want proof?? Read Genesis! Read the prodigal son again! God was looking for Adam and Eve, calling out to Adam, knowing full well what they had done. The father was looking for his son, anticipating his sons return home. Sin never changed the Fathers attitude towards us. To the contrary. Jesus ATE with sinners! Which of course you know that in the middle east, eating with someone means much more than it does to us in the western world. Sin never changed God's view of us, but our view of him. Consider what Paul says of the Gentiles who don't know God in Epehesians 4:17-20:

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, aliented from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity."

If you think this is wrong, all I am doing is repeating in detail what Paul said in Romans 5:8: "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

No, sin does not change God's view of us.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Performance Driven Life

"Sun Doesn't Rise"

Some kind of evidence
Some kind of reason
Why I can't find a way
To begin my life

Somewhere in this dying day
If I can only find a way for my escape
I find it hard to concentrate with all my past mistakes

To begin my life

I can't feel my faith can't recall my crime
I think I sealed my fate along the way I may have lost my mind
I guess we're all damaged in our own way
Alone in our own way
Distant headlights desolate highway

Sun doesn't rise at all
Who knows how far I'll fall
Sun doesn't rise at all
Who knows how far I'll fall

With eyes wide open
I can't recall my crime I think I sealed my fate
I can watch my world evolve
Alone in our own way, I think I sealed my fate
Nothing left to die for
I can't recall my crime I think I sealed my fate
Thoughts inside can make me crawl
Think I sealed my fate
Make me drop down on my knees
Break me down until I question me
Darkness can't destroy my drive

Sun doesn't rise at all
Who knows how far I'll fall
Sun doesn't rise at all
Welcome my downfall
Sun doesn't rise at all

Somewhere in this dying day as I plan my great escape
I find it hard to concentrate while you maintain to control
I fold and falter, empty alter, all I gave I pray it makes me whole
I think the brink's around the corner
There's an error in my soul

I can't feel my faith can't recall my crime
I think I sealed my fate along the way I may have lost my mind
I guess we're all damaged in our own way
Alone in our own way
Distant headlights desolate highway

Sun doesn't rise at all
Who knows how far I'll fall
Sun doesn't rise at all
Who knows how far I'll fall

I can't feel my faith
Can't recall my crime
Damaged in our own way
Alone in our own way
Desolate highway

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dare to Believe

I wanna be like Abraham, you know. I don't want people to see me, but I want them to see my Father actively involved in my life. I want them to see his favor and love for me. And I want them to see that it isn't by my behavior that he loves me. I want always to point them to Jesus.

Not that I don't want to have good behavior. As a Christian, of course I don't want to sin. Duh. But I don't want people to think I am a Christian because of my behavior, nor do I want them to think God loves me because of how good I am. I want them to see God in my messiness and in my humanity. I want them to see this treasure in a jar of clay.

When you look at the life of Abraham, you don't see a God who loves and favors Abraham for his behavior, but you see a God who loves and favors Abraham because of he believes God. Notice I didn't say because he believed in God, but he believed God. God wants those who are willing to believe he loves them. To be like Ruth and dare to believe that he will love me no matter what. Charles Spurgeon once said something like, "Even if you are thrown into the pits of hell, do not stop believing." Just believe. Make the choice to make the jump into the free-fall of his grace. He swears by an oath that he will catch you.

I want to be one of the Christians who helps the world to see that equating the word Christian with good behavior, whether bad or good is absolutely wrong. Christianity isn't about good behavior or bad behavior. It isn't about behavior! It's about the grace of our Lord Jesus being offered to all who DARE to believe. To those are are crazy enough to trust it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jesus Works at West Marine

Today was a short day at work as our volume was only 16,000 units. Tomorrow it is likely to be lower. I will not complain. I need a break. The pain in my leg started to come back today and for a while it slowed me down, but then God gave me a little surprise by letting the battery in my computer go dead. When it went dead, I had to walk all the way to the front entrance, (which is a long way away) but then I realized I left my Aspirin in my locker at the entrance and so I was able during work to leave my part of the building and go to the front. Simple things like this just remind me of how absolutely caring my Father is and that he cares for me in my pain and in my circumstances. He seems to be very concerned for me. I think he is quite fond of me.

Also, while I was working, I returned to the non-con desk where I work to get more documents to put in my headset, and when I had gotten there, not everyone had finished the batch I had finished. And so the rule is to help those who haven't gotten their last batch finished before you start a new one. And so the guy who hadn't finished his batch had one document from his batch left. The document had 59 units (a lot) on it and I hesitated to put it into my headset, fearing it would be a bunch of large items which would take a long time to pick. And so I just sort of laid it down and waited for someone else to pick it up (very selfless, huh?). Anyway, a coworker of mine, Earl came by to pick it up and I didn't want to stand there and let him have it since he had done a large document already. So I grudgingly asked him about it, if I could do such a large document and to my dismay he said "yes." Great. Thanks. And so I put it in my headset and went to pick it. Then right before I finished the document, (which wasn't that bad) Earl came walking by me and told me not to worry about my 6th batch, that he had picked it for me. I felt very grateful and like a jerk for almost letting someone else do what I should have done. But I was again reminded of how God causes ALL things to work together for good for those who love him.

You see, the point of what I'm saying isn't that I hesitated to do the document with 59 units. It isn't even that I chose to do it after a second thought. It isn't about ME. It's about how God never leaves me. He is always looking out for me so that I don't need to look out for myself. I'm like Abraham...He has set special favor on me and all his beloved children. God loves everyone to be sure, but there is something about those who count his Son as worthy of their trust that really gets to him. To those who believe He loves them, He is able to show a lot of love to. Because they are willing to receive it.

Updating the Blogroll

Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you know that if you haven't yet been to it, to check out Sherry's blog. Sherry is the wife of Gary Kirkham who we had the AWESOME pleasure of meeting at the conference! I hope it's just the first of more meetings!!! I miss them now and was so thankful to meet not just one of my brothers who blogs, who have helped me in my life as a Christian, but two brothers.

Check it out!