Category Archives: Philosophy/Church

Different Methods..Same Agenda..but not your enemy

I read this today regarding a recent book that Rob Bell put out, I post this comment because of the tweet John Piper made , a tweet he made after literally judging a book by its cover, without reading it or even talking to Rob Bell about it he just wrote him off because the title of the book was: Because that’s what “Farewell, Rob Bell” means, isn’t it? You’re dead to me. What I believe is right. If you oppose it, then I’m done with you. The title of the book:

In Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith–the afterlife–arguing that a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering. With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly optimistic–eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

I see that attitude of disowning or writing off folks ALL OVER at churches these days,  believers have turned neighbors into enemies, we no longer seem to understand that we may have different methods but the SAME agenda, everyone who disagree’s all the sudden is our enemy and healthy debate is deplored and described as something that “disrupts the unity” that is the tude or “state of being” as its root latin word means that seems to be so popular that its downright scary. The funny thing is, if you spend minute 1 inside Rob Bell’s book you will find what a lot of other believers have found, his topic, actually has biblical proof, its not universalism to take a stance on an issue based on the Word of God. Let me just say though, as I have been on both sides of the following statement, how true it is:

There is no meaner, more hateful person on Earth than a Christian who suspects you have gotten your theology wrong.

I have to say, debate can sharpen us, greatly, when you have 2 stances on the same issue to air both sides, with all the facts and supporting information is a wonderful thing, it causes us to have to think, it causes us to have to expand our minds and see different points of view. Sadly though, we reject that, maybe its because we are afraid we don’t know or can’t support our own view well enough, or maybe we just don’t really strongly believe our own view to begin with, or even possibly we share the most popular view simply because its the most popular regardless of what or how we really think or feel about any given issue. IF your still saying “so what” “whats the problem with that” then let me tell you, its dangerous, but not in a good way, it’s arrogant to believe that any one person has absolutely cornered the market on a particular theological concept, even your Pastor

Reading and understanding the Bible involves lots and lots of interpretation. Not just in light of the world and culture around us, but in reference to other parts of the Bible. At best, there are things that are unclear and not easily harmonized from Genesis to Revelation. At worst, there are things that seem to be downright contradictory, that’s why theology can be so controversial.

Now the purpose of this post is not to defend or bash Rob Bell or his latest book, simply because I haven’t read it yet, but I can tell you I certainly plan to and then, when I have read the entire book and I have done my own thinking and I have checked out the sources cited you better believe I will be airing my informed and well thought out opinion. That being said, I have used a lot of references to his book and the response its received because it so perfectly proves my point and shows how this dangerous problem inside the church has come to a head and truly shows that too often  we have believers and churches that seem to think unity means “you must agree with me or your not in unity” now they may not SAY that, but the way they treat people who disagree or have issue with what they are teaching shows that this is what they truly believe,  it goes back to turning on someone for not agreeing with you, no they couldn’t possibly have facts or thought out their view and have solid sources to back it up too, and then that person is made out to be your enemy we must write them off, have nothing to do with them, we must covertly preach messages on the weekend that indirectly attack their views and their attempts to share them so they can become a mockery.

You can read more about the whole controversy surrounding Rob Bell’s new book, the subsequent John Piper Twitter response and more on Jason Boyett’s blog: http://blog.beliefnet.com/omeoflittlefaith/2011/02/thoughts-rob-bell.html#ixzz1FPfq0HOk

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The Importance of Growth

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  C.S. Lews     – I could almost just as easily re word that quote and in place of “Christianity” I could use “the Bible”….

 

Spiritual growth is so important because in some ways you could think of it as part of the preparation God puts you through so you will be ready for the work he has for you to do, lacking nothing. So many believers, especially here in America the land of Mega Churches and 50 millions different bible studies and group studies that you can get with just a quick hop down to the local Christian book store or perhaps you go to one of those Churches that has their own bookstore? It’s fantastic, God has truly blessed us to have so many resources right there, so easily accessible, the things we should be able to learn and understand about God and his word about living this life in Christ are too numerous to count. It does create a problem though, as Christians we can become so dependent on those tools instead of what those tools are about and what they lead us to. The time we spend in God’s word and with God advancing that relationship could be thought of as being fed in a spiritual sense, its what leads to that growth.

As a believer picking up the word of God and reading it and having an encounter with God through that , should be a normal everyday part of your walk with God, if the only time you are being fed is when you go to that mid week thing, or a weekend service your missing something HUGE. As we come to know God more a desire to seek Him and to understand and know His word should begin to develop in us, as we get more and more of God the more and more we want. Simply reading the word of God without a curriculum should be a reasonable normative experience because reading and knowing Gods word is what feeds you, and I mean KNOWING it…I mean digging in and getting it all over you in the Spiritual sense, not just simply memorizing a verse or two and then reciting it and having no idea what it really means or how it applies to your life…that’s just some sort of ritualistic exercise, rhetoric really.

We would laugh at the idea of a grown man or woman not being able to feed themselves, imagine an adult , full grown, normal perfectly capable adult that only gets fed when they can get around someone to feed them and even then its not real food, not the solid meat and potatoes as the saying goes…would you not begin to question their overall maturity and their ability to take care of some other basic things in life? It reminds me of a great metaphor that Paul used in the bible, it was in

Hebrews 5:12-15

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Basically what Paul is saying here to the Hebrews is that “hey as long as you have been saved and as long as you have known the Lord you guys should be teaching and leading others by now….but your not…your still so immature in your faith that you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God” He is using Milk as a reference to the elementary things of God, not just in understanding but in action, hence the phrase “unskilled in the word of righteousness” it doesn’t take skill to pick up and read that word but it sure takes some development to live it out, some skill, God given skill as a reward for us being diligent and doing what we need to do, but skill nonetheless.

 

It’s God’s will for EVERY believer to eventually reach a point where they are on the meat and not the milk, this will happen at different times for different believers but where there is no growth, where there is just simply stagnation over time there is a problem. Spiritual maturity isn’t about saying “ok line up lets see who is still on the milk, lets see who are still babes in Christ” its about going deeper, its about going beyond just simply a desire or hunger and exploring the depths of who God is, His love , His mercy, His grace…seeing the beauty and fullness of all God is as Ephesians 3:14-19 puts it:

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

It’s about the journey, spiritual growth and maturity are about a process, they signify where you are now compared to where you were and give you an idea of where your headed.


Just what is the big deal about Superheroes?

A re-post from a great article from Relevant Magazine….just what is the big deal about superheroes anyways?

Superheroes are colorful incarnations of the human soul.

The symbolic quality of the superhero is most readily evident by the costumes they wear. There is usually a large, emboldened icon on the chest or midsection, traditionally a cape and almost always a mask. It has long been a common human practice to depict the unspeakable spirits of human experience (love, hate, jealousy, compassion, etc.) as having a certain form, either a human or animal form or, usually, a combination of the two. “Anansi the Spider-Man,” was a recurring character in the Anasazi tribe’s fables. He was a man turned into a spider who used his spidery cunning and craft to outwit and defeat his rivals. Sound familiar? It was also not uncommon to for tribesmen to clothe themselves in animal skins or give names based on animals. To the Iriquois hunter, bears represent brawny courage; therefore, “I am Little Bear.”

In this way, we put our hopes, fears, dreams, emotions and all unspeakable facets of human nature into corporeal form and loose them in fantastical worlds to see what we may learn from them. So there is near limitless narrative potential in superheroes. There is a common criticism that superheroes are not complex characters and represent very simple moralities. This is true for a hero like Superman, but the possibilities for what superheroes represent have a wide range. “The Green Hornet,” for example is an obscure superhero who is just now breaking into the limelight due to a new movie. The story is of a wealthy young heir to a media fortune who teams up with a talented martial artist to take down crime syndicates. Their trick is to pose as villains to get close to the crooks so they can easily lay the hurt on them and bring them in. The hornet represents craftiness and the sting of justice and proves that even evil can be intimidated.

The subject of superpowers should be addressed. If Superman did not fly through the air and see through walls, his appeal would be considerably diminished. Critics often take these fantastical powers as the primary reason to ignore superhero stories; for what is fantastical must surely be escapist and therefore worthless. However, superpowers are symbolic in themselves. It is an excellent representation of how human beings have been set apart as creatures from the rest of nature by their powers of reason and symbolic awareness. G.K. Chesterton, a writer notoriously disposed to spinning fantastical tales to excavate deeper truths once wrote about this separation:

“… Man has distanced [himself from] everything else with a distance like that of the astronomical spaces and a speed like that of the still thunderbolt of the light.”

The image of Superman floating high above Metropolis using his super-hearing to spot trouble afoot in his city is the image of Adam in the garden before Eve. He is alone and somewhat listless, though in possession of great power and understanding. Every human life has a component of isolation due to unique ability. Humanity is out of step with nature. We are in the world but not of it.

Perhaps the best recent example of this kind of symbolic storytelling is Geoff Johns’ latest issues of The Green Lantern, who will also get a movie debut very soon. It’s a story about seven warring armies of superheroes called the “Lanterns,” each harnessing the power of a particular emotion vying for dominance. The Green Lanterns represent will, the Yellow Lanterns represent fear, Blue Lanterns: hope, the Pink Lanterns: love, the Red Lanterns: rage and the Orange Lantern: greed (there is only one of these, of course, since greed does not share power). The fun of the story lies in seeing physical embodiments of the emotions we all know intimately interacting with each other. In the story, love proves it can be just as possessive as greed, will and fear ally with each other to stifle the overpowering assault of rage and in the end they must all unite to beat back the formidable Black Lanterns, who symbolize death.

These sorts of pulp-fiction metaphors aren’t going to win their authors a Pulitzer Prize, but they are effective. Subtlety rarely enters the picture and it need not. The best superhero stories are the ones that don’t pretend to be anything more important than comic books, but do not shy away from commenting on human nature in their own humble way. “Higher” art forms, like novels, could be compared to a dissertation, whereas superhero stories are sermons. Both have the capacity to tackle equally eternal themes in their own way—one with exhaustive literary weight and form honed by years of intellectualism, the other with bold lines and primary colors.

 

Copyright © 2011 RELEVANT Media Group

 

I love superheroes, I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of this “rebirth” of all the superhero movies and media lately, critics are critics and they can say what they want but I for one believe the Superhero Genre will never truly fade, people want to be inspired, they enjoy seeing the inner emotions and struggles of the human soul played out externally in the form of a superhero, people like being led to dream or imagine again, to be in awe as that Super Hero saves the day.

you can find the full article on the website for Relevant Magazine here:  http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/features/24121-why-do-we-love-superheroes


“It’s about the weekend stupid…That’s Wrong, Stupid”

Actually…NO…its NOT about the weekend…if that’s where your focus is, if that’s what its all building up to and centered around you have missed the very essence of being the body of Christ

 

Homeless advocate Mark Horvath has a little known history as a church marketer. He served as a marketing executive for a megachurch before slipping into unemployment and a crisis that forced him to launch the nonprofit InvisiblePeople.tv.

Horvath travels the country talking to homeless people, capturing their stories and posting the raw, unedited video online. He’s changing hearts and minds, and he’s giving the homeless a voice.

Today a new book comes out that was inspired by Horvath and benefits his work. It’s called Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness (Full disclosure: Yes, I edited it). It features the stories of 35 homeless people, a foreword by Trust Agent author Chris Brogan and reflections from two dozen experts including our own Brad Abare and guest blogger Scott Williams. And all proceeds support Horvath’s work with InvisiblePeople.tv.

We sat down with Mark Horvath and talked about his work, the book and church marketing.

You’ve done some pretty amazing things from social media to online video. What can churches learn from what you’ve done to reach people?

Mark Horvath: Right now we think an iPhone app is cool to reach people, but it’s really not going to change the world. We need to get our hands dirty and start caring for our neighbors. We need to forget all these crazy huge church productions and put our resources into having a serious impact on stuff like homelessness and human trafficking.

As long as we focus on Sunday morning and a talking head, we won’t have an impact on the world. We must stop pointing our finger at people and say you’re a sinner and start opening our arms and hugging people. We have to make helping hurting people a priority. We need to care for people without an agenda. We must start loving those who do not believe as we do.

Point blank honest, the very best church marketing is not a new billboard or a web page hyping a sermon series. It’s becoming a catalyst for real, positive change in your community. The day of churches being able to fill seats with gimmicks has long past. It’s time to wake up and use our resources as God would have us use them, and that is not spending more money on lights, screens, cameras or fancy shmancy lobby displays. Come on, people. Our church lobbies look like a swap meet selling Jesus junk and we wonder why new people are not coming to our church!

Outreach is not a marketing ploy to fill seats. Outreach should be a full-time investment in connecting people to support services. News flash: Your latest sermon is not going to put food in their fridge.

Forget random acts of kindness. We need deliberate acts of compassion.

What can churches do to better communicate their message to their communities?

Mark: The best way for a church to communicate to the community is to stop talking and start loving. I’m sick of going to churches where they talk about love, but there is little outward compassion, especially for nonmembers. (unless it’s the poor people in the trailer park down the street we “adopt” every six months to make ourselves feel better)

Remember this phrase: Attraction rather than promotion. It’s a principle from Alcoholics Anonymous. Create an environment that’s so cool and so loving that people want to come to you. Then you don’t have to beg people to visit.

Be so attractive that the people want to be there. You do that by being their neighbor and helping them. Especially in today’s world. In today’s social media world, we have a bullsh*t meter. You can’t say “Pastor’s going to preach a word,” and believe people will visit—people don’t need a word. They need their mortgage paid. They need food. They need jobs. Here’s the word: Shut up and start doing something tangible to help others.

Fill so many needs in the community—through actions, not words. Clothe people, feed people, love people. You could be the best preacher in the world, but who cares? You do, that’s it. We won’t change the world with preaching.

How can churches do homeless ministry better?

Mark: If churches want to do homeless ministry better they need to actually meet real needs. That starts with listening. Listen to your community. Listen to the homeless people themselves. You might not agree with your local politician, but every community has a homeless coalition. You should commit to go to those meetings and find out what people’s needs are. That’s the best place for the church. It might not be as sexy as going and feeding some homeless people a few times a month, but that’s how you have real, long-lasting impact. You become part of the whole community not just a Lone Ranger

The problem we have is the church needs to start measuring total results, instead of just hyping a few cool stories. Are we really getting people off the streets or are we just bringing somebody up on Sunday morning to make everybody feel good?

We look for individual testimonies and think we’re doing a good job, but the truth is if you look at everything we’ve done over time there weren’t quantifiable results.

The next pastor who says we go to the park and we’re friends with the homeless because they’re lonely, I’m going to slap them. You have to spend more than 15 minutes a week with them. You have to get dirty. You have to be with them.

In Louisiana I was out with a group and we met a homeless man who was dying from AIDS. They wanted to pray for the guy. They said it would comfort him. I said it’s only going to comfort you. He needs a doctor. If our family is in a car accident we’ll call 911. But if we see a hurting person we pray for them and say God will take care of them, but we don’t take any action ourselves. We use prayer as an excuse to not take action ourselves.

We can’t base our ministry on creating a couple of nice stories. We need to have real results, which is housing and jobs and health services.

You said this recession has shifted you from ministry as a job to ministry as a lifestyle. What do you mean by that?

Mark: The other night I was watching the online service of a church I used to work for. The pastor’s wife was asking everybody to pray over fliers for a new Saturday night service they were going to have. That it’s anointed of God, for God’s favor and all this magic Jesus stuff.

I was a marketing executive there. If the madness hadn’t affected my life, my focus would still be in church marketing. They were praying over fliers to hand out to people like there’s some special anointing when you touch the flier—it’s a gimmick. They’ve been desperate to fill seats and they’re trying desperate things. That was my life. Helping desperate people come up with new gimmicks to trick people into church. If I still stayed at that church, I wouldn’t have been able to be real. It was a toxic work environment with closed communication to protect the king. Sadly, although there are many great churches, there are far more that are lost like this one.

Today my whole focus is what I believe Jesus actually taught, putting myself in the backseat, second to strangers I don’t even know. I was taught wrongly that God is this warm fuzzy feeling. When I feel God, it’s when it’s late at night and I’ve already helped two to three homeless families and I want to go home and I’m hungry and tired. And I get a call to help another homeless family. And I don’t want to, but I do it anyway. I feel God when I discipline myself to give up whatever comfort I wanted to help someone who is more disadvantaged than me. To me that’s real ministry. That’s everything the Bible ever taught.

Oh my gosh, that was my life. It could still be my life. But here I am. I don’t have the same creature comforts I had when I was doing magic Jesus, but I can go to bed knowing there are formerly homeless people who are sleeping inside because I stopped talking and started making things happen.

In the book you say that as the world gets worse we need to get better. Do you think the church has stepped it up in response to the current economic meltdown?

Mark: No. I don’t. What’s happening in the recession is horrible, and we’re only seeing the beginning of it.

We have a silver tsunami coming that’s serious. All the baby boomers are at the retiring age and their 401Ks tanked and they have no health care. In 5-10 years this will be such a crisis. You’ll see more and more wheelchairs on street corners. It’s going to tax the social service system. You’ll see shelters that are designed for seniors.

As I look at all this, it’s bad. It’s worse than anybody wants to talk about. Well what an opportunity for the church. But a Christmas pageant with camels is not going to help a bunch of 60- to 70-year-old people who don’t have money for housing.

Pick up any Christian materials, walk into any Christian bookstore, watch any Christian TV and you can see that we’re still just talking to ourselves.

I really believe the church of tomorrow is going to be a Dream Center type church—housing hundreds of people, feeding hundreds of people. It’s not a perfect model, but there are no perfect models. But that’s why I call the Dream Center my church. They’re trying to get better while this economy gets worse.

We need to stop preaching Revelation and get outside the door. You can still have a Sunday morning service, but it can’t be the main focus.

Ed Young Jr. has a leadership series called Leadership Uncensored. One of the tapes is “It’s About the Weekend, Stupid.” I used to buy that hook line and sinker. That’s wrong, stupid. That’s how you do a business. It’s not how you take care of people. This is where the church doesn’t get it. The church isn’t building a better church. The money we’re spending to be relevant is astronomical. All the things we chase—they’re all gimmicks.

I think the solution is the church, we just need to start loving more than ourselves. We only help other Christians or people we think we can convert. We don’t help people for the sake of helping people, which is what Jesus would do. I believe in the church, but it has to change. Clearly something is wrong, but we keep doing the same stuff.

If we put our priorities on people instead of a pastor on Sunday morning, we might be able to change this world.

I still believe in church, but church is not the answer. It’s what we do outside the building that is.

You can purchase a print copy of Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness from Amazon or buy a digital copy for the Kindle. You can also learn more about InvisiblePeople.tv and follow Mark on Twitter.


Behind Bars – A XXX Church Posting

By Craig on Apr 09, 10 at 09:41 PM

This is from a post on the XXXChurch website:

I have never been to jail. My dad used to visit jails a few times a year with a ministry called Bill Glass when I was a kid. Last Saturday, I went to jail for the first time. We were suppose to go to Folsom Prison back on the Jesus Loves You tour but because of a riot in the prison that trip was canceled.

We met at Denny’s across from the LA County Jail. A few friends and people from the X3team were with me. I did not even know the difference between jail and prison. You are in jail while you are awaiting sentencing. Some people are in jail a few days or a week and some stay as long as 7 years like one of the inmates we met. The LA County Jail is the largest jail in the world. OJ Simpson stayed there as well as Manson and many others.

We met up with Ed at Denny’s. Ed runs a ministry inside the jail. He raises his own funds and works in this jail full time. He is in charge of all the chaplain services. Most every denomination and religious group do something inside the jail throughout the month. I can’t remember exactly but I believe he told me there were 22 services a week inside this jail.

He explained what the day would look like. We were surprised. Surprised to hear about the support that he had received in regards to our programs. Most services get between 15-60 people in attendance. This is mainly due to security. They don’t want large groups of inmates together. The inmates don’t eat together or do much outside their cells. In fact, they only receive 1 hour a week of daylight on the roof of the building.

Ed told us to expect 75 people for each of our two services. He told us the second service would be for a special group of inmates…the 288”s. These are people who have committed sexual crimes against people. They are excluded from the general population because of their own safety. The jail requested our program for them after we spoke to the general population.

We brought two guys with us that live in LA and are asked to continue to do something on a regular basis in the jail. Steven Luff who runs our LA Recovery groups was one of those guys and the sky is the limit on what we can do next.

The first session was amazing. About 150 men in the room all wearing dark blue with a few exceptions in dark brown. They were responsive and engaged and open to what was shared. The second session with the 288’s was one of the most difficult services I have ever done. I was speechless so to speak. I did not think I had the words to say to this group of inmates all in light blue. I showed a video of a friend of mine who I took to jail who is serving time for child porn. We did a question and answer time after the talk and the first question from an inmate was ” I don’t know anything about you… but i doubt you would have any of us over to your house for dinner …would you? Another guy asked us how he could get help when he gets out and told us he cant even go near a church because of him not being able to be around kids. The last question was a guy who just stood up and said, “Can you just pray for us? We got to back in here and you don’t know what that is like. We closed in a prayer for the guys and as they exited almost everyone of them shook our hands on the way out.

Ed told us about one other group that he wanted us to speak to but would have to be at a later time. The homosexuals and transgendered group. There are about 350 of them in the jail currently and they are also separated from the rest of the population for their safety.

Ed is in charge of  22 chapel services a week. Countless number of ministries but not one group does anything for this group. Ed started a “Purpose Driven Life” study for this group and leads that himself.

Sad, even in jail these things exists.

We are working on ideas and next steps not only for LA County Jail but for other places as well. Thanks for your prayers. Please pray for these people.

Romans 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Craig

This is what Steven Luff had to say about the experience:

“The prison experience was deeply profound on so many levels.  To see
society’s solution to crime is both fascinating and troubling.  After
visiting a prison, and the men who are in them, easy answers to societal
problems quickly disappear.  The only answer I can think up is love.  Other
than shaking hands with and even hugging some of the sex-offenders we spoke
with, the most memorable moment of the trip was looking at an inmate who had
drawn his arms into his sleeveless blue jumpsuit to stay warm.  I asked him
whether or not he was given a sweater.  The man scoffed and said, ‘No they
don’t give us sweaters!  This is prison, man!’  These men’s dignity is
stripped from them the moment they walk in (including having to face the
walls as we walked past).  Sure, maybe they deserve their sentences, but it
seems that if we don’t help them and love them while they are behind bars,
once they’re out, there is little chance for reform.”


The Standard

Scriptures say to have the “same attitude as that of Christ Jesus” when we read look not only to your own interests…or…consider others as better than yourselves….the bible is saying Christ is our example of that..the Son of God..washed feet…died for us.. Philippians 2:6-7  tells us that he “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant” …that is the standard we are called to..wow that completely blows any chance of making it on our own.  Paul isn’t just saying “hey these things are advisable” or that “these are some noteworthy ideas” he is saying that the concept of serving and of loving others by our lifestyle, our actions, showing our love for God by our OBEDIENCE to God..that concept is to be lived on the level that Jesus did. Jesus came and he raised the bar so impossibly high we cannot even begin to imagine reaching that level…on our own that is.
There is a bumper sticker I saw once, it said “next time you think your perfect, try walking on water” and its funny to think of BUT that is exactly what its like trying to reach that level that God requires from us as believers. We can take heart knowing that God set that standard for HIS glory. Its just not about us reaching that standard, its about God being and doing in us what we cannot be and do on our own, its about God the Holy Spirit transforming us, if we let him, into the beings he intended us to be. What we need to understand is God’s plans are big, his calling is huge its no small thing, the things he wants to do in us are radical and the standard he wants us to live our lives by is impossibly difficult to reach on our own…That’s how great a God we serve, he can set a nearly impossible standard and then empower us to reach it…a great God that loves us enough to meet us right where we are but is mighty enough to carry us to where we ought to be.

A Love so great we could never fully understand..

Ephesians 3:18-19 “18And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

To believe in only what your senses tell you, what your own reasoning can discover that’s boring and simple, but to believe in a powerful love so far beyond you that its quantitatively immeasurable and great, to experience a love so deep and so great so infinite that you cannot ever fully comprehend it with your finite mind; Now that’s something truly worth pursuing with all you are, with all your heart and for all your life. Without such a pursuit, without such an experience life itself would be an utterly worthless mix of chaos and hurt, frivolous pursuits and empty dreams. And its not so much that we don’t experience those things now its that without something so great, without a love so powerful and deep in our lives we are left with absolutely nothing to stand on and to stand with us when life offers such terrible things to us. Without the grace to allow us to continue to strive towards something greater than our current state all things in this life would be utterly meaningless and totally useless.

Instead of pursuing the immediate and temporal things that this life can offer us here and now and instead of seeking a fulfillment in things that are so weak and so useless in filling that void, that desire that eats away at us inside and just leaves us dead and used up in the end, what if we pursued something greater? something that was such a perfect fit for that void to satisfy that desire, and not just a perfect fit but also something so unique and different from anything else offered in the entire world and what if it didn’t leave you dead and used up in the end but filled you with love and a power to change not just your life but the lives of everyone you come into contact with.

What if I told you that such an experience is absolutely possible, that it was real? What if I told you that such a power and love does exist and that its actually found in a person? That person is Jesus Christ, he isn’t fake, he is real, he is a great and perfect and holy God. He is also a God that holds such a deep and incredible love for us that he made the ultimate sacrifice, He became us, in all of our weaknesses and inability, all of our limitations. He became the perfect paradox, fully man and yet somehow still fully God. Then he gave up his life, he just laid it down and then picked it up again after becoming the perfect sacrifice for all our sin and our inequity, as though he were a person simply changing clothes or taking off a winter jacket once indoors and then putting it back on before heading out into the cold. Because of that sacrifice God’s love can be poured out upon us instead of God’s wrath, we can have a personal relationship, an intimate relationship, with the creator of this universe a God so Holy and so great that we could never measure up to His standard on our own.