"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).

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Can We Really Be Like Jesus? Really?

If so, he was not very unique then. We can't be like Jesus, try as we might. But we can walk with him and give him our best love, and he his best advice and encouragement and best love in return too. Abiding in him does not mean being like him. Good job! We would be up the creek.
"To present Jesus as primarily an example to us is devastating. If to be like Christ is to be the aim of my life, I give up the struggle in despair. Love my enemies? Never hit back when I am insulted? No despising of the incompetent, the ham-fisted and foolish? No complaining about privation or pain? Always ready with "a word in season"? What a hope!... if Christ is simply my copybook then count me out. (D. W. Cleverley Ford)

My Regrets Before I Die

Top 5 Regrets.....Bronnie Ware is a nurse who spent many years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog, which later became a book called, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Cheaper Church... Great Concept.... Cheap Christianity

"Consumerism indeed has its own spirituality.

Perhaps the darkest dimension to the accumulation of wealth is the exploitation of cheap labor to procure the luxuries we've grown used to. If you had a cup of coffee this morning, as I did, you participated: “In Africa a healthy young adult male cannot possibly make more than $1.50 a clay picking coffee. It is no wonder that women and children are compelled to share in the picking.” If we paid the East African pickers the minimum American wage, we could not afford to drink the coffee.

Let us be bold enough to ask ourselves, as Christians, whether the church of the Lord Jesus in the United States has anything to say to our nation and its ideologies of materialism, possessiveness, and the worship of financial security. Are we courageous enough to be a sign of contradiction to consumerism through our living faith in Jesus Christ? Are we committed enough to his gospel to become a counter—current to the drift? Or have we so accommodated the faith of our fathers to consumption that the question of simplicity of life, sharing of resources, and radical dependence on God’s providence no longer seem relevant? How do we build the kingdom of God on earth if what we incarnate in our lives is the dogma of our culture....."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

I'll not quote what he said next, as it was too painfully illuminating..........

"Perhaps the darkest dimension to the accumulation of wealth is the exploitation of cheap labor to procure the luxuries we’ve grown used to. If you had a cup of coffee this morning, as I did, you participated: “ln Africa a healthy young adult male cannot possibly make more than $1.50 a day picking coffee. it is no wonder that women and children are compelled to share in the picking.”& If we paid the East African pickers the minimum American wage, we could not afford to drink the coffee."
( Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Consume Spiritually. ..

"Consumerism indeed has its own spirituality."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

We're Suppose To Help The Poor. ...Not Get To Know Them...

<blockquote>"It is a commendable (even hip) thing to give money to programs and organizations that help the homeless, or perhaps serve as a volunteer dishing up Thanksgiving dinner, but you should never actually get personally involved with these people. Encountering them along the side of the road or in the supermarket parking lot, you might direct them to the local mission and perhaps even arrange a taxi ride if you are looking to go the extra mile. But you should never give them money or let them in your car or home, because they will probably kill you or blow all your dough on alcohol and drugs. I guess you could actually get to know one of them, but why? They’re homeless people. You help homeless people; you don't get to know them." </blockquote>
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Stop And Take look For Love From Time To Time...Do You See It?

"Despite all the denominational distinctions I've come across along the way, for the life of me, I cannot find any other litmus test Jesus insisted upon to authenticate his followers except love. This was unsettling when I realized that despite knowing Greek and Hebrew and the boxes in my attic filled with hundreds of my sermons on tape telling others how to be a Christian, I wasn’t very loving. Winston Churchill cautioned, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." My version of Christianity wasn’t making me much like Jesus."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Run...He's Alive....Shout...He's Alive....Dance...He's Alive...SURPRISE!...He's Alive

<blockquote>"Frank Clements dreamed of flying airplanes from the time he was a little boy.  During World War II he joined the U.S. Air Force, became a 2nd lieutenant and was soon flying dangerous missions over the English Channel into France and Germany.

Everyone in his hometown of Big Spring, Texas and the Fourth Street Baptist Church, where the Clements family had been members for years, was proud of Frank.  Pastor Elmer Dunham related that the church prayed for Frank often and tried to get reports back about his welfare, but feedback was sparse.

One day the tragic message came to Big Springs that Frank Clements was missing in action.  Mr. Clements was working in his repair shop just off the side of his garage, but when he got the news about Frank, he and his wife dropped everything and went straight to pastor Dunham and the three wept and prayed together.

Not long afterward they got the dreaded telegram.  “Greetings, we regret to inform you that Frank Clements was killed in action over the English Channel.  We extend our deepest sympathy.”  The Clements family was devastated.  The town of Big Springs had a memorial service, and since west Texas people are close, the whole town turned out for his memorial.

They placed a single red rose on the empty casket and the entire community mourned Frank’s death.  The problem, however, was it was a case of misidentification.  Lt. Frank Clements from Big Spring, Texas was not really dead.  Another pilot with the same name had been shot and killed.

Frank from Big Springs had also been shot down but he had survived the crash, was picked up by allies after several days at sea, and taken back across the channel in a boat.  He knew nothing about the other Frank Clements or the wrongful death notice.  But because he survived such an ordeal the military gave him a leave to go back to the states.

Frank was a young man – not yet twenty years old and decided not to call…he’d just surprise his parents.  That’s pretty typical – especially considering he didn’t know they had received wrong information and were mourning his passing.  He chose just to surprise them.

Frank took a passenger ship that took over a week to cross the Atlantic, then a train from the East Coast to Dallas, then a Greyhound bus to Big Spring, Texas.  When he got to the bus stop, he felt like walking so he took his big duffle bag and started walking home.  He didn’t come in contact with anyone he knew along the way.  He went to his house, heard activity in the repair shop next to the garage, walked up, stood in doorway and watched his dad, whose back was turned to him, for several seconds as he worked at the bench.

Then Lt. Frank Clements simply said, “Dad….” His Dad froze.  Again he said, “Dad!”  The old man turned and saw his son and couldn’t believe his eyes!  He ran to him, hugged him, crying his eyes out with joy.  Frank couldn’t understand what was going on.  They had always been the type to just shake hands, but his dad wouldn’t let go of him.  Finally his dad let go, stepped back and looked at him one more time, raced inside to tell his wife and then ran down Main Street of Big Spring. Texas, hollering, “He’s alive!  He’s alive!  He’s alive!”

The next day the Paper in Big Spring, Texas carried a huge front-page headline that read: “Lt. Frank Clements returns- Alive!”

Jesus Christ actually died and returned from the grave.  The women who came to the tomb were alarmed to see an empty tomb and an angel.  (See Mark 16:5.)  Mary Magdalene was shocked when Jesus appeared to her in the garden. The two on the road to Emmaus were stunned when Jesus revealed himself to them, and the disciples in the Upper Room couldn’t believe it.  They couldn’t wait “go into all the world and preach the Good News” to all who would listen.

Someone suggested that Easter can be summarized in one word, “Surprise!”  Surprise, Satan!  Surprise, Caiaphas!  Surprise, Pilate!  Surprise, unbelievers!  Surprise death!  Jesus is alive!  Death is conquered!  Sin is defeated!  Hope is alive!  What a wonderful surprise"</blockquote>

My Favorite Easter Illustration

Written on April 19, 2014 Bob Russell

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Criticism Of Other Churches Proves My Holiness???????

"Just days after I completed this chapter, Father Jeff resigned as priest of his Episcopal church and shared his desire to continue in ministry as a Catholic priest. He further explained he was planning to start a Catholic home church. I didn’t think that was possible, but Father Jeff explained that the tradition of the church doesn't require buildings and bureaucracy to carry on. We think more alike than I thought. Maybe we should team up. Perhaps we will. I used to think that the deciding factor in knowing God was one's form of worship style or church life: traditional church versus contemporary church, seeker—targeted versus purpose—driven, high church versus home church, modern church versus postmodern church, institutional versus organic. After coming full circle to a greater appreciation for my Catholic roots, I realize now I was barking up the wrong tree by focusing on form and style. There will never be any wineskin capable of fully containing the life of God, but it’s funny how criticizing everyone else’s wineskin seems to distract a person from the life of God altogether."

(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Gen Xers Are Looking For Fools...

"Maybe Generation X doesn’t need the latest and greatest high—tech church service to attend but instead needs to see a few more holy fools, people whose lives revolve around the radical, foolish gospel."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Are Chruch Events Trying To Manage God?

"...I grew increasingly disillusioned with my church involvement, which didn’t seem to be getting me any closer to God. The conclusion I came to at the time was that any form of organized or institutional church (Catholic, Baptist, nondenominational, whatever) must be flawed, and perhaps God never intended people to relate to him through services, programs, and meetings. Maybe “church” had devolved into a man—made bureaucracy seeking to control and manage God."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Will God Help Me Get Girls?

<blockquote>"TO SAY I WAS RAISED CATHOLIC IS A STRETCH. TO BE MORE accurate, there was a string of years when as a youth I was made to attend Catholic Mass. Though I never doubted there was a God, my life was preoccupied with too many other things to be interested in the Almighty. Had I thought God could help me meet girls or pass algebra, I probably would have become an altar boy. As it turned out, I rarely dated, had to repeat a grade of high school, and never made it as far as confirmation."</blockquote>
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you. )

Faith Is Exposed By Going Fishing

<blockquote>"Religion is a guy in church thinking about fishing. Relationship is a guy out fishing thinking about God." (Unknown) <blockquote>

Friday, April 18, 2014

God's Dance.... And Tears

".... the God who dances over the breathtaking sunrise weeps over each victim of brutality."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

The Fake Jesus

"Such reductionisms dilute the radical demands of discipleship so that Jesus is frequently honored today for what he did not mean rather than for what he did mean. An unthinking, uncritical cultural propaganda becomes more persuasive than the sayings of Jesus regarding what is real, true, good, and of enduring value."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

What If Jesus Said; "STOP Inviting People To Church First."?

If Jesus temporarily took away the Christian's ability to invite non-Christians to our church, some church service, program, or special event first.  What (or who) then would our spiritual conversations be about? What would we say, table to discuss, or talk about with other people, if we stopped making church, or, "Come attend our church....."(insert the name of some program or event), the foremost conversation? 

I suggest that those themes are probably much more important and pivotal conversations to have first.  Long, like, way long,  before a church invite.

We get the cart before the horse in our discipleship habits, and we never get to the critical life conversations with people.

Even I get annoyed when people invite me over and over and over again, to their church events, but never visit, call, or extend ANY relational contact or express ANY desire whatsoever to get to know me otherwise.
But that is probably just me ;-)

But it seems to ease their guilt and offer a sense that they discipled or evangelized me in the inviting (I need evangelizing because I am not a member of their church denomination).  Biblically, in my view, I would suggest they have done neither by a mere invitation to church.

I might be mistaken, what do you think?
What should the real conversations be?
What do you feel are the "first" importance subjects?

Side-Of-The-Head Church Fellowship... My FAVORITE Kind..

<blockquote>"Transformation into Christ’s image takes a life-time and beyond. And it doesn’t work very well outside of face-to-face community."
(Frank Viola) </blockquote>

Just what we all long for anyway- connection in community... and it's what helps us most. I've not met many running from the real deal.

The "face-to-face" part is key too. Most of us have tried the "side-of-the head", and the, "back-of-the-head" kind of community and confessed a group is not necessarily community and no longer need to fake or pretend it is when it is not.

Find some people to walk with face-to-face for your good, and theirs.

God Bless My stuff, My Nation, And My Pleasure

"Our culture, as John Kavanaugh observed, “fosters and sustains a functional trinitarian god of consumerism, hedonism, and nationalism. Made in the image and likeness of such a god, we are committed to lives of possessiveness, pleasure, and domination”;

Unless the church of the Lord Jesus creates a counter—current to the drift of materialism, self—indulgence, and nationalism, Christians will merely adapt to the secular environment in a tragic distortion of the gospel, in which the words of Jesus are reinterpreted to mean anything, everything, and nothing."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Ya Think Like An American...

"Whether we like it or not, our very membership in Western society imprisons us in a set of political, economic, social, and spiritual principles that shape our lifestyles, even when we don’t subscribe to it."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Loving Fear?

"The apostle John, the lone male disciple who stood at the foot of the cross, says,
“In love there is no room for fear” (1 John 4:18, NJB).
If you are still afraid of judgment, go kneel at the cross and the Messiah will set you free."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

No One Wants Jesus Crucified

"He went on to point out that nobody wants to hear about Christ crucified these days. Everybody wants Jesus the agent of social change, or Christ the revolutionary, or the Master of interpersonal relationships who is going to help them win friends and influence people. But nobody wants to hear about a Christ nailed to the wood who says, “Change your life. Strike out in a new direction. Come follow me and allow yourself to be radically discipled."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Stop Shaming People.

"In my study I kneel before the crucifix and see the human face of God. Throughout his passion Jesus condemned no one. Throughout his life his words were not those of blaming and shaming, accusing and condemning, threatening, bribing, and labeling. Nor should mine be."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Who's In Heaven Before Us..... Surprise. ...

"Jesus told the chief priests, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you" (Matthew 21:31, NASB). Christianity is simpler and grander than the commentators and theologians have made it out to be: “Treat others the way you would have them treat you” is indeed the whole law and the prophets."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Addicted To Preaching Addicted To Being Preached To... Now We Don't Hear Jesus Any More?

Read the quote at the end first. 

I'm throwing this out there, and it is not too coherent yet. It may be off base. However, been mulling it over for some years now as I change how I serve.

I remember Neil Cole telling us (and I paraphrase) to take people to the cross and leave them there. Get new believers bonded to Jesus,  hearing his voice, sensing his direction.... not running to a middle man (church or a pastor) to hear what they say you should do.  This is why they do life transformation groups where people get together after reading 25-30 chapters of scripture each week to duscuss and pray over it. Bond people to Jesus and the word...  not second hand sermons about it....

Certainly we learn about scripture from others, but the final direction is Jesus in you, and his word.
I rarely answer this question anymore, "What do you think I should do?".
Instead I ask, "Well, what does the word say and what do you sense the Spirit of Jesus in you suggesting? I'll walk with you until you get this figured out."

This used to sound so hokey to me... like some neo charismatic bull crap. I did not get it because, well, I was not getting "it"- "direction from Jesus". I was serving at church like I was supposed to, because that IS what Jesus wants me to do. So when I asked people what I can do for Jesus, I was given another church job or church program to run for Jesus, and, oh, "evangelize people and pray", talk. So I did the same for others for over thirteen years of minstry.....basically answering by saying, "Here do this"

Now, I ask them to ask Jesus about  that. We will ask Jesus about this together. This way I feel I am training people to examine the word and tune in to the Jesus Holy Spirit's convictions, promptings, and moving based upon that.

This natural spiritual mechanism is very weak in our fellowships.... frankly because we think it's kind of "loosey spooky"... at least I did.

Rather than training individuals to take human direction, the human voice casting their idea for you (which frankly is often reduced to pluging in and filling a nebulious slot in a pastor's or leadership teams vision script, that frankly leaves no room for Jesus to move you another way.), lets develop the idea of "lets go to Jesus" so YOU can figure it out.... Jesus can guide you, and others can give insight too, and we as a body will walk with you in this process to the end, ok?

If Jesus does move you other ways, I guess it does not further my script and therefore, I am wasting my time with you. In leadership today, we only have time for people playing our game, very little for those who don't.  The desire is to recruit you to the vision I cast, so I spend more time selling my vision to (for) you, than walking with people like you to help you respond to Jesus and what Jesus would have you do today.

The more people we train to live like this... the less control I have over outcomes... the more difficult it is for me to build something that I came up with.  But I think it's good. Because when people do rally together for a common goal, it will be because Jesus put them together to acomplish this. I no longer need to sell it, or beg for people to serve at it. That has become Jesus’s job as it should be.

<blockquote>"Institutional Christendom is bound to sermonizing and weak because of it.  Preaching is an excellent means of drawing a crowd and becoming a celebrity but the poorest means of  effecting change.  People listen to religious lectures all their lives and never mature to do anything.    Jesus looked at the 12 and declared to them that it would be better for THEM if He went away.  What could be better than life with God in the flesh?  Life with the Holy Spirit in your own flesh!    If we create followers dependent upon "being fed"  we never create followers of Jesus who are dependent upon the Holy Spirit.  Some leaders put out so much "good" food that their followers never learn to hear from the Holy Spirit.  Their followers are addicted to the "milk (that which has been digested by another) of the word" .  But "lactose intolerance" is rising and teachers are beginning to see that their real function is to make folks hungry to learn for themselves by asking the right questions and to train them to trust the Holy Spirit's answers."

(Steve Hill. Harvest Now April 2014)
<blockquote>

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Poor Have No Protection By Law.

".....buried in a little—known but thorough report by the United Nations which simply states: most poor people do not live under the shelter of the law, but far from the law’s protection."

The Dummies Helping Me Lie......

"Lying is a cooperative act. Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie."
(Pamela Meyer. TED Talks)

Rich Murderers Buy Their Innocence In Much Of The World

After a graphic story of how a rich family buys their way out of a murder and rape of a poor 11 year old girl with blood all over their home,  the police burning all the obvious evidence against the rich family, and then torturing two innocent poor people for days to make them sign a fake confessions.... the author writes.......

"When we think of the global poor, we easily think of hunger, disease, homelessness, contaminated water, illiteracy, and joblessness. But José and Richard think of another reality that keeps the poor in poverty, and that is violence. This reality is very hard for outsiders to see—even for frequent and sophisticated visitors to the developing world—because most acts of violence against the poor are intentionally hidden. It’s hard not to see the squalor, the shanties, the sewage, the begging, and the trash. But behind the walls of poverty, few ever see with their own eyes the swift strike across the face, the ugly struggle of rape, the iron blow to the head, the hands throttled against the throat."
(The Locust Effect: Why The End Of Povery Requires The End Of Violence. Gary A. Haugen & Victor Boutros)

The story made something primal rise up within me about injustice, especially against the poor. I was so angry I had to stop reading the story of the girl and hiw the poloce etc consupred witj the rich family to protect them for the rape and murder.... The poor have no protection under the law. The law is not there for them... but only an elite rich few in many countries.

No Evidence Of "Christian".

"If I had to take my family to court and convict them of being followers of Christ, I am not sure where I would find the evidence..... My family does not display Christ-like behavior. I hurt for the people my family has hurt."

(Mark Phelps. Saved from Hate: An Interview with Mark Phelps, Son of Westboro Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Ed Stetzer)

"It is very difficult to comprehend the degree of control and fear that results when rage, violence, psychological domination and hateful teaching from God's Word starts at birth. The very soul of the child is forever engulfed—and lost—unless the Lord breaks through with his healing love and delivering power."

Jesus Died For A Traitor(s)

"How easily we forget that the church was founded by disciples who betrayed their master. None was willing to stand by Jesus as the religious and political authorities condemned him to death. At his moment of greatest need, the disciples fled in the darkness. The boldest of the lot, Peter, was the very one who cursed and denied him three times before the cock crew. It was for traitors that Jesus died."
(Philip Yancev (b. 1949). Soul Survivor)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nasty Pulpit View....

Yep......

"The ordinary group of worshipping Christians, as the preacher sees them from the pulpit, does not look like a collection of veryjoyful people, in fact, they look on the whole rather sad, tired, depressed people. It is certain that such people will never win the world for Christ... It is no use trying to pretend: we may speak ofjoy and preach about it: but, unless we really have thejoy of Christ in our hearts and manifest it, our words will carry no conviction to our hearers."
(Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ALMOST One Rape A second in Eastern Congo

"....Eastern Congo, where, in 2011, armed conflict in the region reportedly gave rise to an epidemic of sexual assaults against women at the stunning rate of 48 rapes every hour."
(The Locust Effect: Why The End Of Povery Requires The End Of Violence. BY Gary A. Haugen & Victor Boutros)

Broken Justice For The poor.

"Secondly, given the brokenness of the public justice system, forces of wealth and power in the developing world have carried out one of the most fundamental and unremarked social revolutions of the modern era in building a completely parallel system of private justice, with private security forces and alternative dispute resolution systems that leave the poor stuck with useless public systems that are only getting worse."
(The Locust Effect: Why The End Of Povery Requires The End Of Violence. BY Gary A. Haugen & Victor Boutros)

Distracted From My Own Demons

"Maybe demonizing people out there distracts me from the demons of pride and selfishness within myself."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Right.... But Excluded From Their Life And Dialogue.

"I began to see the meaninglessness of it all one afternoon in my front yard after passionately debating politics with a non—Christian neighbor. Getting all red in the face and almost in tears, she stormed off to her house, leaving me standing there with my “words of truth” still floating in the dialogue bubble above my head. Right or not, what did it really accomplish? She’s now even more convinced that the other side is wacked—out and closed—minded, and I’m now excluded from her list of people with whom she can hash out the difficult questions of life. Something just didn’t seem quite right when “them" now included my next—door neighbor and Ms. Jill, who had practically become my daughter’s biggest fan and hero."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

I Love Labeling Peoole..... Becuse I Get It Right...;-)

"To imply these realizations resulted from some determination within myself to assign all people equal dignity is a far cry from the truth. No, that would be Gandhi. Labeling people was actually very comforting. lt supplied what every adolescent adult like me needed: scapegoats to blame, adversaries to defeat, and dimwits to set straight, making me innocent, victorious, and right."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Give Me Someone To Blame. ...

"For crying out loud, would someone just tell me who to hate and pin the world’s problems on? People who previously fit into my “l’m—excused— from—loving—you box” were not cooperating very nicely... Sure, there are greedy wealthy people, folks who abuse the system, and wackos who want to see it all go up in flames, but mostly I found my stereotypes didn’t accurately describe the ordinary people I knew. It just didn’t pay to let others do my thinking for me."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.) "

I Sat On Her Grave, And Knew. ......

"I recently sat at Carol Ann’s grave and wondered what she must have been doing that day. As I pondered, I realized there are but a few things that matter to her now. And there will be but a few things that will matter to me then. And thus there are but a few things that matter to me today: to know him, and make him known."

(Jim Palmer.  Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion To Find God- And the unlikely people who help you.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Build A Castle...

"Stones in the road?
I save every single one,
And one day I'll build a castle."
(Fernando Pessoa)

When It's OK To Disappoint

"Some people will only love you as long as you fit in their box. Don't be afraid to disappoint."(Unknown)

When Is Changing Church Impossible?

"You cannot change what you are willing to tolerate."

Church Will Abuse You...Then Criticize You For Not Coming

Paraphrase of something I heard from a speaker reciently..... it slapped and dumbfounded me because I've seen it... probably a part of it in some way too.......forgive me.... 

"Only an institutional mindset can permit us to treat someone like crap, say mean things, mercilessly accuse and criticize, gossip, speak harshly, make phone calls about, slander, backstab, give the glare, demonstrate hostility, and give a cold shoulder. 

And then, remarkably, when the soul leaves, because they can't take the abuse any more (and make no mistake about it, this is abuse), we then criticize them mercilessly for no longer coming anymore. 

'They should/could be coming here...Why are they not coming here anymore? What's their problem?'

Are we serious? It's the scene of the crime. That is the same thing as a person who raped some unfortunate girl asking her, "Why don't you come to my house anymore? You should be here. Didn't you forgive me? Why are you so bitter. There isn't any reason you can't come. What's your problem?". 

This is telling because proping up our institution just became more important than a soul, than a person. That, my friends is warped and sick."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Missional People Hear: What Church People Say - What The Discipled Say...

C: Where were you Sunday?
D: Thank you for coming over Sunday.

C: What's more important than church program attendance?
D: Thank you for talking about this stuff with us.

C: You should have been in church!
D: We know you had other important places to be but we appreciate you taking time for us.

C: Where are they going to Church?
D: I've  never known a Christian who thinks time with people is as important as their church programs.

C: You are backsliding!
D: In the past my friends who became Christians were so busy doing church things I never saw them any more. Thanks for deing available.

C: You need to come hear the word of God.
D: Thank you for talking about Jesus with us. We learned so much.

C: You shouldn't be hanging out with those kind of people!
D: People like you usually avoid people like us, but you are different. Why?

C: You should be ashamed of yourself for not being more involved in this church.
D: We're thankful you are so invested in us, you are a great friend.

C: What good are you doing if none of these people ever show up to church here?
D: This kind of no-fuss gathering is one I feel I can be apart of.

C: There is more to Church than that!
D: I never knew church could be this simple.

C: You are being Rebelious.
D: You must really love your Jesus to want to bring him to people like us.

C: Who are you accountable to if you are not in this church? 
D: It's interesting how you keep reminding us that Jesus is our shepherd, his Spirit will guide, and his word is true.

C: You need to be part of a local church to grow.
D: I can see we have all grown so much from the time we spend together in this small and simple "church" group.

What do you think. Heard any of these? Have any to add to the list?

Free From Applause

"... what it would be like to be free, free from the need to be spectacular, free from my addiction to people's applause, free from the burden of being a somebody."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Zombie Christian Compassion

"The frozen parts of me began thawing at 8:03 P.M. on April 28, 2000. Somewhere back in my distressed childhood, a thick, icy layer of hurt had formed over my heart. Shutting off my emotions as a survival mechanism growing up, I couldn't seem to turn them back on as an adult. Listening to a grieving friend share deep pain, I'd be nodding my head and offering facial expressions of deep concern but feeling nothing. It was particularly acute in church services as people around me displayed emotions of joy, sometimes tears, while I was going through the motions like a zombie."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

When Evangelism Turns People In To A Project

When our evangelism and discipleship become part of participation in some church program... we have conditions and time lines ... we do it thursday nights and onlt for a few months, and onktbwith those who are ready to jump our evangelism or discipleship hoops as was pre-planned and mapped out in the "training".

"If I'm going to get there, I'm going to need some help from a friend or two without conditions and time lines."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

WHEN Church Is No Solution...Or Help

"I don’t need another fluffy pep talk. Many times I simply can’t bear the thought of pasting a phony jesus grin on my face. I want something real. I NEED something real. I need real people in my life. Where does a guy find people like that? I'm finding non—Christians are more honest with themselves and the struggles of life than Christians. I’m bitter and just can’t take it anymore. My parents go to a church where the pastor insists women wear only skirts, no pants. Is that what Christianity is all about, skirts Vs. pants?!

I know jesus is true and real. I just don't know where to start anymore. I've tried so many different things: being a gay Christian, being just gay, being just a Christian. I’m just plumb out of solutions. I know Jesus is the answer, but I don't know where to go to find him anymore. What to do, or not to do. I just don't know."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Tired....?

"I'm weary from my lists of dos and don’ts and tired of trying to figure it out, yet I struggle to simply receive the love and life God wants to give."
(Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies : Shedding Religion To Find God - And the unlikely people who help you.)

Say Nothing, Do Nothing And People stop Criticizing

"There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing. say nothing, and be nothing." -— Arisioile

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Onlt Professionnels Can Guide Faith Or We Become Wacos

"There seems to be this notion that knowing God is a special field of expertise, and ”professionals" are needed to sort through the complexities of the Bible and bring order and organization to God's work. Left to ordinary people, who knows what kind of heresy, chaos, and anarchy would ensue."

(Jim Palmer.  Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion To Find God- And the unlikely people who help you.) 

Gatherun With A Few Othrs IS Enough

"I'm not convinced there's any value added by a large group of believers gathering in one place at one time compared to the benefit of maintaining a few close relationships. I need to hang out and really get to know and experience others depending on the life of Christ in the everyday world of sick kids, control—freak bosses, and the misery of staining and sealing your own deck. I want more than just two Sunday services or a midweek pick-me-up; I want to get to the bottom of ]esus’s words: ”The kingdom of God is within you."
(Jim Palmer.  Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion To Find God- And the unlikely people who help you.)