"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)

"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)

It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Became My Enemy

"Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. The Way we combat evil is by making sure that people get what they have coming to them. An eye for an eye. You attack me and I’ll attack you. Fair is fair. And there were times in my own life when I’ve been so hurt that I was sure retaliation would make me feel better. But inevitably, when I can’t harm the people who harmed me, I just end up harming the people who love me. So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it.
In the end, if We’re not careful, we can actually absorb the worst of our enemy and on some level even become them."
(Nadia Bolz-Weber. Pastrix: The Cranky Beautiful Faith of A Sinner & Saint.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Waste Your Time Talking About Christianity

"I was in Washington, DC, last year with
a man who has been a chaplain to world
leaders. As we talked over dinner, all he
did was talk about Jesus. At one point,
he got so impassioned, he put down his
fork, which had a beautiful piece of prime
beef on the end of it, pointed his rickety
old finger at me, and said, “Don’t waste
any more time talking about Christianity,
or church, or Christians—just tell people
about Jesus!" Then he shared a story
about Billy Graham. He said that one
day Billy came in to meet him, and he
asked Billy, “What, after all these years
of incredible ministry, would you have
done differently?” Apparently Billy got re-
ally emotional and said, “I would have
talked about Jesus more.” Billy went on
to expound about how he had spent his
entire life trying to get the whole world to
become Christians, and now he realized
that was a mistake.

Like so many of us, Billy realized
that converting people to Christianity was
never on Jesus’s agenda, and so it really
shouldn’t be on ours. He never intended
to start another world religion. He never
intended to create Christian nations or
wipe out other world religions and con-
quer in the name of Christianity. Jesus
simply came to show any person how to
be in relationship with the one true God,
without any religion!"

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Sacrilegious Jesus - Give Us More Sacrilege.

"Almost everyone
loves Jesus! In a complementary book I
wrote on the life of Jesus, Sacrilege, I
made the case that people talked favor-
ably about Jesus because He was sac-
rilegious about everything. Sacrilege just
means to remove or peel away religious
facades to reveal the real deal. Jesus
was constantly doing and saying things
that broke down the falsities of religion.
He was sacrilegious with Scripture and
told the Bible scholars of the day to
quit being arrogant about all their knowl-
edge, calling them instead to obey what
they knew. He was sacrilegious on the
Sabbath, healing people and doing things
that made sense to people. He was sacri-
legious with social norms and constantly
ate with sinners, touched lepers, included
little children, and dignified woman. He
was sacrilegious with Jewish family cus-
toms and taught people that His Father’s
family was more important than any in-
dividual family. And He was sacrilegious
with the temple and spiritual leaders, as
He destroyed the need for it and them."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Speak of Jesus and You Win Every Time

It’s sort of strange to mention another
book right at the beginning of a chapter,
but a dear friend named Carl Medearis
wrote a timely book titled Speaking of
Jesus. One thing I’ve learned is that there
is a way to speak of Jesus and there’s
a way not to.

“Speaking of Jesus.” I even like the
way that sounds, don’t you? I never liked
it when someone told me to go witness or
give my testimony or share the gospel. All
those seemed pretty weird and unnatural,
but speaking of Jesus? Now that sounds

Carl has taken me to places you would
never think a Jesus conversation would
be a good idea. Several years ago, he
took me to Lebanon and several other spots in the Middle East. In Beirut we had
some chat time with Hezbollah leaders;
in Amman, Jordan, we met with Muslim
men who had billions of dollars; and in
Jerusalem and the West Bank (in Pales-
tine), we met with people who see West-
ern Christianity as a farce and one of the
world’s greatest evils. But each one of
them loved to speak about Jesus!

People will always struggle with Chris-
tians and church and things that have
happened in the name of Jesus, but
amazingly even those who don’t know
much about His life intuitively find His
story and His words something warm to
speak about."

- Hugh Halter. FLESH

Monday, February 6, 2017

Meals Draw Us Together

Over and again, meals inspired and drew us together in surprising ways.....

"As Christine Pohl writes: "A shared meal is the activity most posting tied to the reality of God's kingdom."

No surprise, then, that so many New Testament stories- parables of banquets, feasts in homes, the Last Supper, miracle feedings - revolve around food.

Twenty-five years ago, a friend named Bill told me something I still often recall:
"If you can read the gospels without getting hungry, you're not paying attention."

(Arthur Boers. The Way Is Made By Walking)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

You Can Change The World

"One person cannot change the whole world, but you can change the world for one person. You also can’t change anything quickly—but if you ask God to show you what makes Him mad and breaks His heart, and then take action by making small, consistent commitments of time, money, relationship, and prayer, you will make a tangible difference over the course of your life."

(Hugh Halter. Flesh)

Destroying Relational Community

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “He who loves community, destroys community; he who loves the brethren, builds community.”

His point is that when people focus on finding Christian friends to huddle together with, they generally destroy the utopia they’ve built up in their minds, but those who simply love people always create genuine, deep community."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Economical Church Structures

"..... God was clearly weary of our worship without works of compassion. And just like Jesus with the money changers, we must be willing to fight the natural consumerism of our culture both inside and outside the church that asks us to provide a safe place of spiritual encouragement while millions face daily trauma, sex trafficking, bloated hunger, and treatable diseases.

God designed the church—but not a church that functions for itself. The church is the “people of God,” and therefore it shouldn’t have to cost that much. Programs, pastors, and sanitized churches cost a lot. Therefore, anytime we let “church” become the recipient of its own giving, we are dangerously close to the same exploitation that Jesus turned over. He wants His church, His people, to be released from all that hinders true love and true help from reaching those who need it the most. I am so proud to know hundreds of church leaders who are courageously reevaluating their level of consumerism and making painful and personal adjustments to avoid the money-changer scenario. In order to gain the respect of the culture around us, I think it’s fair to get a little cranky at the cost of organized religion.
Jesus did.
(Hugh Halter. Flesh)

Sunday Is Not The Churches Best Work

You can see why religion made Jesus so mad and why He was actually moved to action. He knows that church attendance alone, if left unchecked with real involvement with others, turns people into pharisees—and that if unchallenged, this leaven creates a justified apathy that ends up exploiting the people who really need God the most. Religion takes up a lot of time and money and delivers very little. This type of faith is of no use to Jesus, and if Jesus called out His closest friends on this issue, we should consider an occasional integrity check. I make this critique with quite a bit of caution because I don’t want to be an alarmist or a downer on the church that I love. But people outside our faith would stand up and cheer if we would be honest and consider a little good-hearted critique of what we call “church.” Let me go further: I’m a huge church lover. I pastor a local body, and I believe that the church throughout history has shown its ability to mobilize people for the good of humanity. Whether involved in social programs, neighborhood benevolence, Protestant work ethic, hospitals, schools, or just good ol’ fashioned generosity, Christians account for a staggering percentage of social good throughout the world. Yet as we approach a new world fraught with injustice, hunger, disease, poverty, and social and sexual exploitation—and as the world looks for the true face of God to believe in—I feel we can no longer view the viability of the church through the lens of a Sunday church service. That’s simply not the time we do our best work.

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Divorced, But Still Talking

"The church wants to feel able to explain about her spouse even when she has lost sight of him; even when, although she has not been divorced, she she no longer knows his embrace, because curiosity has gotten the better of her and she has gone searching for other people and other things."

(Carlo Carretto. The God Who Comes)

Holy Spirit Can Pass Through Church Walls

"The spirit Works where he wills. The spirit of God cannot be restricted in his operation by the church; he is at work not only in the offices of the church, but where he wills: in the whole people of God. He is at work not only in the "holy city," but where he wills: in all the churches of the one Church. He is at work not only in the Catholic Church, but where he wiills: in Christianity as a whole. And finally he is at work not only in Christianity, but where he wills: in the whole world.

The power of the spirit of God can pass through all walls, even Church walls.....

No decrees of the Church, in doctrine or practice, can force him to act or not to act at a given time."

(Hans Küng. The Church)

Friday, February 3, 2017

How About Pastors With Other Jobs

Most do this.

"I don’t feel that there is anything bad about having a full-time pastor, but our little portion of the body of Christ is making the intentional choice to work in the world, simply because it seems to give us more street cred, more natural interaction with the culture, and less need to put money into propping up a program to keep consumer Christians content. Although it is often more difficult to manage life, our struggle is everyone’s to share, and it helps the Christians who join our community know that their lives, vocations, and struggles matter deeply."

(Hugh  Halter. FLESH)

Why Wait For Other To Support You?

“Based on the world as it exists today, with the unique economic, social, and global issues facing people, what is my best response and option for blessing people and sustaining my life?” I believe that in most centuries, as in the time we live in today, those who take the Trappist approach may enjoy life and do more good than those who wait on others to empower their passion."

Hugh Halter. FLESH)
Rodney Stark, in his book The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, said that capitalism was invented in monasteries in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. The reason was that these men, unlike the greedy, self-oriented society, actually believed that God was letting them steward His resources and followed the call to bless people and create sustainable products in line with God’s heart for them. They dealt with integrity, compassion, creativity, and hard work, and it changed the world. Again, not all monastic orders place such a high value on business enterprise. The Franciscans and Dominicans, like Buddhist monks, have to depend on charity and donations and sometimes stand on street corners, begging for help. They believe that, like Jesus, those who are “set apart” will be provided for. Again, I don’t think it’s helpful to dissuade people from being dependent on others, but as you consider your own calling, I want you to be aware that there are options. Missiology requires that we ask, “Based on the world as it exists today, with the unique economic, social, and global issues facing people, what is my best response and option for blessing people and sustaining my life?” I believe that in most centuries, as in the time we live in today, those who take the Trappist approach may enjoy life and do more good than those who wait on others to empower their passion.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Get a Trade Pastor - bi-vocational.

"As I write this, I’m sitting in the Denver ChopHouse in terminal A. Two young guys in their midtwenties are sitting right behind me, talking about finishing seminary. One is deciding between staying in seminary forever as a theology professor or taking a church job. The other guy wants to move right into a senior-pastor position. Excuse me while I pull away from you for a moment and try an experiment to see if I can get these guys to consider working a job. I’ll be right back. Twenty minutes later … Okay, so I just met Josh and Evan. Both are newly married, and Josh has a two-year-old son. I bought their dinner, so they were happy to chat, but the talk didn’t go so well. I let them know that in ten years America will be as unchurched as the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Australia, Portland, or Boulder and that there probably won’t be many churches looking for pastors. And even if they choose to start a new church, they won’t be able to make a full-time living for quite a while because people don’t give as much to churches anymore. Also, seminaries, denominations, and other structures that have been formally tied to the growth of local churches and their financial support will also begin to tighten up on spending as they struggle to survive. I asked them the big question I ask most young wannabe ministers: “If there were no churches to pay you to be professional Christians, what would you do to provide for your wife and kids while you answer the full-time call to ministry?” Evan was open to my question and said that he was presently working for UPS and could conceive of doing that for a while but couldn’t wait to get out of it so he could serve God fully in a church. Josh said, “Well, if I had to work a real job, then I wouldn’t feel that I had a full-time call to ministry at all. I’d feel like I would have to pick one or the other.” He continued, “I also don’t think God would ask someone to be so focused on ministry to people and still have to hassle with the normal pressures and fatigue that come with a normal job.” After listening for a while, I said, “Guys, did you know that from the time Jesus was old enough to work, He did? As a Jewish boy, and then a Jewish man, Jesus put in a nine-to-five until He was thirty.” They looked at me like the thought had never occurred to them before. Then I mentioned the apostle Paul’s bivocational life after his conversion, as well as that of the disciples, and reminded them of many great saints throughout history who had massive influences on the movement while sustaining their own livelihood. John the Baptist, Barnabas, Priscilla and Aquila, Saint Patrick, John Wesley, and John Calvin, just to name a few. “Guys, the gospel got to you and me primarily through men and women who were lawyers and plumbers, prostitutes, meat carvers, or folks who just lived off their own land. And the day is coming fast when the gospel will again pass through the lives and ministries of normal people who have a full calling to ministry but also have a trade.”

Hugh Halter. FLESH

Disciple Like A Thirty Year Old Scotch

"Here is what goes through my head: • I rarely feel like I’m doing enough. • I almost always feel that I could do more. • I’m failing in the opportunities that God brings my way. • I tend toward cynicism and apathy because I don’t think my little efforts will do much for the kingdom anyway. But the more I study Jesus and see Him letting God dictate who, when, how, how long, how much, and how often, I find some peace in knowing that God has always showed up before me, that He will be there after I’m gone, and that He loves these people infinitely more than I and will continue to pursue them after my life has rubbed up against theirs. That blows my feelings of inadequacy out of the water. Most of the time, I’m able to look at everyone as a friend and every fleshy moment as an opportunity to help move someone just a few inches closer to seeing God’s glory. Stop for just a second now, and think about the totality of your life and the influence God wants to give you with the people He loves. Your life can be like a thirty-year slow dance, a thirty-year scotch, or a thirty-year oak tree that grows up and gives shade to many."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH )

Evangelism ADD We Don't Want To Stick Around

Longevity is a hidden secret for those who truly want incarnational fruit. If Jesus spent thirty years becoming known, building a reputation, becoming a man of the people, maybe we should reconsider the transient nature of our lives.

I live in Denver, Colorado. People here change their housing locations every eighteen months on average. That includes those who live in the suburbs. As our economy has struggled, as families have been blown apart, as people try to navigate normal life, the new norm is to move around. I tell pastors to mentally prepare to view the ministry in their church just like they would view a college ministry. Expect to have only two to four years with people. Though everyone’s on the go, we can make intentional decisions not to be. Incarnation has a home, and over the course of our lives, we’ll probably have the most impact if we can stay put in an area and be the one constant in a constantly shifting world. I realize that the future economy looks bleak and that you will feel pressure to move whenever you can upgrade, but Jesus honors our prayers and plans to stick around. Incarnational fruit doesn’t just happen. It happens over time, and the more time we can give to a community, a street, a school, a sports club, or a pub, the more impact we will have."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Evangelism Nut Jobs.

"The best words come from Jesus in John 5:16–17: “So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I’” (NLT). Jesus was saying that even on a day when men and women should be resting, God is still perusing around the minds, souls, and circumstances of people, so we can chill out and just sensitively saunter in when the coach calls.
But, “What if you are on an airplane and you have only one hour?” someone might ask. “Shouldn’t you just dive right in and go for it?” Again, if you believe people perish if you don’t do what you perceive is “your job,” then I guess you should.
But if you believe God has been working in people’s lives, pursuing them, trying to protect them from nut jobs who try to convert them every time they hop on a plane, then your job may be simply to be a Jesus follower who changes their assumptions. Maybe your role is to be kind, to provide an encouraging conversation, pick up the tab for their cheap airplane snacks, or offer help in getting their bags out of storage. These are all seeds of the kingdom."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

I Dont Care If They Chat Or Sing

"Next week, I’ll head back to our Sunday church gathering. Everyone who was at the wedding will be there, and they will be doing the same thing. They will come in, enjoy food, and wait for others to arrive so they can laugh, hug, share more stories, and enjoy their crazy kids together, and it will take me at least thirty minutes to get them to move into the worship center. Oh … oops, I forgot to tell you. Celebration is worship! So we don’t care if they move away from their conversations to come sit down and sing. Their song is their love for one another. But don’t worry—the front rows are always full of Christians who come from other churches to “check us out.” They usually bypass the party zone and quickly sit down with their Thomas Kinkade Bible covers and wait for “church” to begin. I’ve learned over the years to just let them be. They get annoyed by how long it takes for us to start the formalities; they don’t mix well in a community of the King that loves to celebrate, and they eventually leave. That’s the way I like it."
(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Relationships With Agend Are Most Churches Relatiinships.

"The psychology of agendas is that they make relationships transactional, which means that people are used for a purpose. People become a means to someone else’s end, and this erodes a person’s belief that he or she is valued regardless of any production.

Again, religious leaders have a real problem with this. Religion makes us want to build things and grow things and improve on things, and although none of those ambitions are bad in themselves, they cause a person to be expendable or valuable only if he or she plays along."
(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

When Your Eyes Dont See- Your Mouth Is Wide Open

"Eyes are a key part of incarnation. When they are open, the ears stay open, and when the ears listen, the heart softens—and soon the hands start moving to touch, help, and heal. But when the eyes are closed, the ears close, and the mouth opens. Words fly out, and quite frankly, the world doesn’t want to hear any more of our religious rhetoric!"

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

How To Curb Pornography

"Pornography is rampant. People think it’s normal and just an ugly part of human existence. Unless you’re a father of two daughters, as I am. As a pastor I’ve tried to help countless hundreds of men fight this battle, and after many years I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s only one way to keep a man from looking lustfully at a woman. No, it doesn’t work to use the age-old philosophy of trying to get men to deny their humanity or to vilify their sensual or “natural” lusts. To say, “God hates it,” when you take a second look at a woman who passes by or to say we are animals with debased passions just never seemed true. There’s just too much evidence that God created us with these natural desires. So what answer seems to work? I tell men to look more closely at a woman they are lusting after. What? Yes, stop denying that you are attracted and stop feeling guilty that you are attracted. Instead look more deeply at this woman. Stare at her longer, and while you do, consider these facts. She is a daughter to someone. She has dreams just like you; she has fears just like you; she desires to be valued and cared for—and all over the world, millions of women just like her are abused, raped, and exploited because men settle for base animal lust over redeemed human identity."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Leadership is Not Influence

Leadership is Not influence... its presence.

"Everyone wants to have influence. We count Facebook fans, Google circles, and Twitter followers. We measure Sunday church attendance and yearly budget numbers, all the while thinking we are creating our own wave. The multitude that followed Jesus was more than willing to speed up His influence and make Him the leader they wanted. But Jesus knew that real influence could be gained only as people were made into disciples one by one."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Stories Of What Did Not Happen

"Imagine the day you find yourself in heaven, sitting in a recovery circle with Abraham, Moses, Rahab, Peter, Paul, and Jesus, and one by one, you get to show your scars and tell the story of all the things you did for God that didn’t work."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Blessed are PeaceMAKERS not Peacekeepers.

Peacemaking costs? Hue difference between peacekeeper and peacemaker...
"Last year, my daughter McKenna was assaulted by a boy in her high school. She was trying to break up a fight between him and his girlfriend, who happened to be her best friend. The boy turned on my daughter and slammed her head against a car. This was just two months after her doctor told her that if she had any more blows to the head, she would have to quit playing hockey. Because she came to the rescue, she lost a hockey scholarship, and a year later she is still not completely back to her vibrant self. Of course I tried to find this boy and remove him and his family from the universe. In my rage, I called McKenna and asked her to tell me where he lived, but she wouldn’t give me his address. She told me to come home, and then, as I sat on her bed, she said, “Dad, you always taught me to be a peacemaker. Do you actually think that will always work out without any pain?” Through my own tears, I was deeply proud of the woman she had become, but the gut check was more real than I wanted it to be!"
(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

It Costs When You Serve?

"Looking back on twenty years of living by faith and leading my own family into the mission of God, I’ve come to one conclusion. Living the gospel costs! If you follow Jesus, you will lose energy, time, money, friends, and quite possibly even more."
(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Jesus' Neighborhood

"We miss the incarnation when we view Jesus only through His death on the cross instead of through His life in the neighborhood."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Here Is How Your Good News Sounds

Words from our own mouths.

"Here’s how people hear our “gospel” today: God loves you but can’t stand you unless you become a Christian. God wants to set you free, but here’s a long list of dos and don’ts. God loves the poor but wants you to give your money to rich churches. God loves lost people but wants you to have only Christian friends. God is preparing a beautiful heaven for after this life, but only those who pray a prayer and go to church get to go. God didn’t come to judge but applauds when His people picket abortion clinics....."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

As Excited About Shoes As Prayer Meeting?

"Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel the same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes."

- Oswald Chambers

Hey Trump - Hey Church Muscling

"No king succeeds with a big army alone,
no warrior wins by brute strength.
Horsepower is not the answer;
no one gets by on muscle alone."
Psalm 33:16-17

No Working Love Agenda

"I'm not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your working agenda."

Jesus, John 5:41-42

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Exhaustion Of Comparison

"I confess that I live much of my life that way too: comparing myself to those who achieve more and greater things. I do so even though I know that this means endless and inevitable pressures."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way Is Made By Walking)

Church Will Outlive the Universe, Nations and Institutions

"That structural position in the Church which the humblest Christian occupies is eternal and even cosmic. The Church will outlive the universe; in it the individual person will outlive the universe.....
There will come a time when every culture, every institution, every nation, the human race, all biological life, is extinct, and every one of us is still alive. Immortality is promised to us, nit to these generalities. It was not for societies or states that Christ dies, but for men."

(C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory)

Wind of God, Blow!

Blow, wind of God! With wisdom blow
Until our minds are free
From mists of error, clouds of doubt,
Which blind our eyes to thee!
(Hymn - Spirit of the Living God)

Don'r Look Up To Find God - Look Down

"An old Rabbi was once asked why so few people were finding God. He wisely replied that people are not willing to look that low. Jesus was born in a stable, and God is especially concerned for the poorest, the lowliest, the lost, and the neglected."

-Harvy & Lois Seifert. Liberation of Life

Monday, January 23, 2017

A World Of Wounds...

As Aldo Leopold famously lamented, "One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds."

The more we learn, the more we see how much is wrong and destructive, and too often it feels like others neither know nor care to know.

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way Is Made By Walking)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Church as Institution or Community?

From Turkey.... community....

"Persecution changes how you view our faith. For example here in turkey we live our faith as a minority, and this defines the way we live the faith. In the way that we understand ourselves and the relation we have with God, and in the way we understand the church h as institution or as spiritual reality. When you are a minority and you are a minority which was, up to very recent years, was persecuted, literally.
You see things different.
You do not feel an institution, but as a living community.

(Fr. Albrto Ambroise An eastern Orthodox in Turkey.
Interview with Krista Tippet On Being, podcast. August 2, 2012)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

How Can One Reorient A Lifetime Of Customs?

"How can we, in a few sentences, bring context to a confused conversation someone has been having in his or her own consciousness for twenty-five years?How can each of us, as one person, help our friends reorient after a lifetime of tradition, doctrine, customs, and beliefs picked up from the overwhelming majority around them?"

(Hugh Halter. Flesh)

Scarred From Repulsive Religion

"But you know that the proclamation of truth seldom penetrates the rocky soil of a heart that’s been scarred by repulsive religion and the agony of a hard life."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Benevolent Atheist Because of Murder

"Roscoe is an atheist. A really benevolent one. Thirty-seven years ago, at the age of five, Rosco found himself hiding under a table in his family’s small Northern Ireland cottage, desperately trying to keep his dog quiet by distracting him with a bowl of milk. He was hiding under the table because his mother, in fear of losing more family members, had scattered the children just seconds before a band of IRA henchmen came in, holding his father at gunpoint. In that moment, Rosco prayed that God would save his father. The answer? The sound of a pistol discharging, followed by a deadening thud as his father hit the kitchen floor right next to the table. The fading memories of the day God didn’t answer, combined with seeing his father’s murderer singing hymns and taking Communion in Mass the next week, left Roscoe with no faith in God at all and only the lingering memory of the smell of his dog and the milk. How do I know Rosco? I just performed a marriage between him and his fiancée, Tanya. I heard this amazing story over coffee at Starbucks before Rosco flew in to Denver."
(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Jesus Did Not Pray For Activity. BUT oneness.

"........ the most astounding lines comes in verse 21: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one” (NLT). Notice that Jesus didn’t pray that they would grow churches or make converts, start nonprofits, or stop sinning. He didn’t pray that they would do a ton of miracles, get people’s attention, go on speaking tours, start Bible studies, or lead successful evangelism efforts. He prayed that they would be linked into the family of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He prayed that every person rippling out from this handful of men would become grafted into the fellowship of the family. The incarnational way of life is not about conversion. It’s about adoption."
(Hugh Halter. FLESH )

He Did Not Come So You Could Go To Church.

"He didn’t come and take on flesh so that you would someday pray a salvation prayer, go to church, and settle for a semireligious life. He has bigger hopes and dreams for you than that. He came so that His divine life could actually take root in you and so that you could relate to Him like humans used to before sin messed everything up."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Hey Church- God Wants His Family Back

"Christians often make it sound like Jesus came only to die for sin and then make converts, grow a religion called Christianity, and make more converts. But God never wanted converts, church attenders, prisoners, or parishioners. He wanted His family back."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

When Church Can't See People.

"For two days they talked about how to build their churches, how to multiply their congregations and develop leaders. I know they didn’t mean to, but little mention was given to real people. It was like we were looking out the tiny passenger window from a 747 jet and seeing a plane fly by in the other direction; I felt that somehow we were missing Jesus and human beings amid all this church stuff."
(Hugh Halter,. Flesh)

How Would Jeaus Live Your Life?

Dallas Willard

“Jesus teaches you to live your life as He would live your life.”

How Would Jeaus Live Your Life?

Dallas Willard

“Jesus teaches you to live your life as He would live your life.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In Life You Run Into Theology

"I suppose when you boil all of life’s wins and losses down to the real issues, you’ll run into theology. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. Life is about God. Everything is about God. It can be said that the most important thing about each and every one of us is what we believe about God—and more specifically, what we are convinced about regarding Jesus."

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)

Outside The House.

"One Thanksgiving, our family hosted Fred, a Masai  man from Kenya, who was studying at the Seminary where I teach. He spoke about how his nomadic fellow tribes people are not vulnerable to political disruption because they can easily move into the bush whenever the need arises. He told us, "All your wealth and possessions are in this house, but ours are outside." Their Investments, he meant, we're in the cattle that Masai own. He pointedly reminded us that we North Americans see homes as our own private domain.......
And our sense of Independence means we are often concerned only for what goes on in our home but not do not worry about the astonishing waste and
poisons put out on the curb, flush down their toilets or let run down our sinks."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way Is Made By Walking)

Deal With Our Own Shirt In Our Own Backyards

"My sheltered life too often disconnects me from hard reality. Many of my cloths, possessions and appliances are produced by underpaid laborers abroad and overtaxing the earth. And their disposal is often destructive too. Our alienated way of life is one of the most important spiritual and ecological challenges today.
While I enjoy indoor plumbing and miss it ehen it's not an option, I also know that it's convenience - and the fact that I do not have to deal with what goes down the sink, toilet or drain - makes it easy to be responsible. Perhaps outhouses should be brought back. Maybe we ought to deal with our own garbage in our own backyards."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way Is Made By Walking)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Theological Pornography

"Bad theology is like pornography—the imagination of a real relationship without the risk of one. It tends to be transactional and propositional rather than relational and mysterious. You don’t have to trust Person, or care for Person. It becomes an exercise in self-gratification that ultimately dehumanizes the self and the community of humanity in order to avoid the painful processes of humbling and trusting. Bad theology is not a victimless crime. It dehumanizes God and turns the wonder and the messy mystery of intimate relationship into a centerfold to be used and discarded."

William P. Young. Forward to Divine Dance

How Could People Love Your God?

"We have to have a positive image of God.If our God image is lethal, shaming, negative, accusatory, there is no spiritual journey. Why would you go on a journey with some you don't like,or someone you don't trust, or someone you can't entrust yourself to,"

Richard Rohr. Podcast interview. Snarky Faith Radio. Sept 21, 2016)