Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fifty Questions

When was the last time you felt God was really doing something new in your life?
How many of us have our testimony as an historical narrative but have no current revelation of the Spirit’s work in our lives?
Is there a momentum carrying you into whatever buffer zone still remains between you and Jesus?
Do you think I am speaking of something mystical, something that God is doing specifically to bring you to a greater level of obedience, trust, and worship?
Are you living in yourself or in Him, and is your spirit soaring over all your problems or are you chained to your circumstances?

Can you actually hear the voice of the Spirit or are you even listening?
Does the Word leap in your spirit or are those Words just doctrinal pieces to some dead orthodoxy?
Does eternity permeate your being and cause you to walk with a pilgrim’s mentality?
Can God speak to you at any moment?
Do some people consider you a fanatic or is everyone comfortable around your benign brand of Christianity?
Are you even weary of the mundane practice of religion or are you hungry for a life that walks with Jesus in such a way as to have some effect on those around you?
Would you be willing to sell everything tomorrow and start a journey without first knowing the destination?
Is your faith predictable and at its strongest when you can actually see what you are trusting?

Do you believe Jesus desires a deeper and closer walk with you?
Does your prayer closet have more shoes and coats than prayer?
When was the last time you earnestly fasted with no thought of weight loss and with a passion to see God’s face?
Are there places that have mildew because of the tears of intercessory prayer?
Have you come to the place that you do not care about anything but following Christ?
Are there still plans and strategies that have captured your heart or have you given everything to Jesus and are resting completely in His wisdom and will?
Do you travail in prayer or does it seem like hollow words while your mind wanders?

Have you been brought so low that you can only see Jesus or are you still clinging to something about you that makes you feel worthy?
Is your own understanding how you interpret things or are you relying on the leading of God’s Spirit regardless if goes against all you “know” to be true?
When was the last time you were actually physically immobilized in prayer way beyond the time you planned to spend?
How do you plan to spend the rest of the life God has given you which is in reality His to spend?
Are you willing to return to the place of salvation itself and begin again and turn away from all the mistakes you have made before?

If you felt the tugging of the Spirit to radically change all that you are doing, will you have to get it approved by others?
Or will it have to be approved by you yourself?
Are you willing to take steps backward and even risk the ridicule of friends and foes alike in order to get out of the comfort of the dry boat deck and walk by faith upon the waves that rage around you?
Is Jesus in your boat or is He calling you from in the midst of the storm?
Can you actually risk the danger of exposing everything to God’s inspection or will you allow a few minor adjustments?
If no one else sees what you see or hears what you do will it affect your passion and determination?

Are you willing to repent of even the smallest sins and can you be trusted not to become a judgmental legalist concerning others who are careless in their lives?
Will you be humble, painfully humble, without being prideful in your humility?
If God does use you to bring His power and grace to others will it elevate you in your own eyes?
If others are drawn to you because they are thirsty as well will it make you feel good about you or good about Him?
Are you prepared to love those who you could never love before?
If God touches something about you that you never thought He would will you be immediately obedient or will you resist?
When God tells you words to speak to someone, words that might be extremely embarrassing and uncomfortable, will you speak them?
Are you ready to be completely shocked when the Spirit reveals to you the level of narcissism that has dwelt inside you for years?

Are you willing to worship Jesus publicly with an abandonment that does not purposely draw attention to yourself but makes no concessions because of the presence of others?
Will you endure unwanted attention because of the conspicuous changes in what used to be your life?
And will you handle criticism with grace and joy while rejecting any hint of being a self serving martyr?
Can you be trusted to give all the glory to Jesus without allowing the flesh to create a pseudo-piousness that projects selflessness but is actually self righteousness?
Will you grow weary when you fall or will you get up and begin anew and afresh?

And when all is said and done, will you live and share Jesus in everything you do and say regardless of the consequences or inconveniences that must come with a dynamic divergence from the mainstream of western Christianity?
Will you be honest with God and yourself concerning all these questions?
Are willing to pursue what it really means to walk in the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
Can you endure the spiritual pain of deconstruction?
Can you receive His strength necessary to rebuild the broken walls and burn the walls that were never in God’s original design?

Are you ready to die to live?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Whatever You're Doing
(Sanctus Real)
It’s time for a healing, time to move on
It’s time to fix what’s been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It’s time to find my way to where I belong
There’s a wave that’s crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
But I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone, time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
But I’m giving in to something heavenly,

something heavenly

Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life, something heavenly

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life, something heavenly,
Something heavenly

It’s time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
The Call of God's Altar

Where do we first see what God calls the “altar”? We see a glimpse when God slew animals to make coats for Adam and Eve and wherever that event took place that was the first altar of sacrifice. The altar was a place of sacrifice, blood, death, and worship. From the very first sin of man God began a revelation that included death and blood and that place would be named the altar. And this altar would not just be an appeasement to a vicious God who desired His revenge, no; this would be a place of redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and worship.

God instructs Abraham to take his son, Isaac, and go to Mount Moriah and sacrifice his son. Abraham arises early in the morning and heads to Moriah with Isaac, wood, a knife, and two servants. When they get to the place of sacrifice Abraham takes the wood, the knife, and a fire and heads to make an altar of sacrifice. The wood is placed upon the back of Isaac in a startling prophetic disclosure that one day God’s own Son would carry the wooden altar upon His back as He climbed the mount to adorn that wooden altar with Himself.

And we realize that when Abraham lifted his knife to offer his son, God stepped in to allow a ram to take Isaac’s place. But Abraham’s altar was still a place of blood and death, and a place of worship as well. There is no painless redemption and there is no bloodless sacrifice that can be the atonement. Although God pardoned Isaac He still required blood, the blood of a ram. The altar is always a place of sacrifice and blood. It is Jehovah’s butcher block anointed by the Spirit of God, and God’s attention is drawn to that holy place of worship before Him.

God prepared two Roman planks that would serve as an altar upon which He would sacrifice His Son. That would be a place of much pain and much blood and much suffering. It would be the altar upon which the Passover Lamb would die as a sacrifice for sins, and all who enter into that death by faith would be crucified with the Christ of God and in that death they will find life. In a mystery, when Christ was sacrificed on that vertical altar, all who by faith embrace that sacrifice are partakers of that sacrifice. The Passover Lamb of God becomes our sacrifice and His blood is applied to the doorposts of our hearts and souls, and death must pass over us as a defeated foe.

But even as we are made new creations in Jesus Christ, do not believe our calling and journey is complete. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are called to present ourselves as living sacrifices, crucified, and yet risen from the dead. All of it in Him. And now we are called again to God’s altar and there to be crucified daily. The parts of us that live are blemishes to God’s sacrifice. We must die to ourselves and live unto God and that can only happen when by faith we place ourselves on the bloody altar of death and allow the Spirit to remove the dross and mold us into His image once more. God stands with a cross with our name written upon it and He beckons us come and die and come and live.

We are so filled and even consumed with our own desires and aspirations, and the altar of God looks so painful and so gory and our flesh recoils at such a thing. Who will understand us and who will mock us if we offer our entire lives on God’s altar? What will it cost us, and what plans will it shatter? Will it diminish our joy or will it release joy unspeakable and full of glory?

The word "altar" (Greek: θυσιαστήριον) appears twenty-four times in the New Testament. The word means a place of sacrificial death. This is not the butcher block where you buy your favorite steaks, no, this is the altar of the Spirit where only God can put to death the enemy God calls the flesh. It is the flesh that contaminates our entire beings with thoughts of self and sin, and it is this flesh that makes Christ a doctrine rather than the Risen Lord controlling the vessel He has purchased and now owns. This flesh seeks its own and has very little consideration for the will of Christ, and, in fact, this flesh will present a deception and call it the will of Christ. The flesh will offer God’s will in a convenient and shallow form which costs little and gains much, but that is the very nature of the flesh.

The altar will not reach out and capture you, you must be willing to lie down upon its already encrusted crimson stains and die once more. There is no resurrection without death, and there is no pleasing God without the excruciating and liberating faith that not only allows its flesh to be sacrificed, it even invites it. The pain of death translates into the abundant life that is Him. It is impossible to please yourself and Christ as well. God will not accept a partial and contaminated sacrifice upon His holy altar; it must be the entire life. All must be offered and all must be consumed.

Do you doubt God? Are you unsure as to His ability to consume every part of you? Go ahead; pour water upon the entire sacrifice and see if God can consume it. Gather all of your desires, all of your plans, all of your insecurities, all of your doubts, all of your compromises, all of your sins, all that you hold back, and gather everything that is in the slightest bit not of God and place it all on the altar. Then lay down on top of that dung and lift your hands to worship your God who will do what He promised. Feel the pain and experience the release that walks you through the freedom of service and worship without the double mindedness that has yoked you to you and not Him. And like the birth pangs of a woman in labor, a new life comes forth.

Are you not tired of being half in and half out? Isn’t the fence a poor resting place? Are you peculiar or are you predictable? Do people find you the least bit curious or do they have trouble finding you at all? Is the crowd your home or is the crowd watching you? Are sinners uncomfortably drawn to you or are they comfortably ambivalent to your life? Are you thirsty or are you quenched? Are you content with crumbs or will you press in to eat the entire Heavenly Loaf? Do you believe there is significantly more to this life of following Jesus or do you suggest we have reached the limits of His power and presence? Are you more concerned with the things of this life than the things of the Spirit?

The altar awaits you. Approach it as a privilege and with a holy expectation of a sacred sacrifice that drains your life and flings the stone wide open to a life that permeates your surroundings with the fragrance of Jesus or at the very least causes people to question your sanity.

Unremarkable lives contradict professions of faith in Jesus and are essentially false witnesses.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seeking Jesus the Christ

Matt.11:29 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

The gospel. The word is Greek means the good news. And the narratives of the life of Jesus are called the four gospel simply because the overarching theme is good news, the good news of redemption. In this age of political maneuvering and global orchestration that seeks to bring about an earthly kingdom without the King of Kings, we as followers of that one true King must seek His face and none other. He is all we need and all there is.

The sounding brass and tinkling cymbals have draw the ears and hearts of God’s people for way too long, and we must turn our hearts wholly to Him and Him alone. The Jews desired the Messiah to overthrow the shackles of Rome and in so doing they became blind to the freedom Christ was offering. And so it is with this spiritual generation who seek to force morality on others while being blind to our own immorality in oh so many forms. We seek governmental freedom while being yoked in bondages of all kinds ourselves. The church sees so clearly the sins of others but only casually acknowledges a self serving label of "lesser sins" within her own walls. Causes and issues fill our agenda that can only be achieved by a powerful demonstration and revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our church services have become nicely compacted pageants that resemble school programs rather than expressions of grateful worship that know no limitations and have no schedule but that which the Spirit dictates. The time slots for announcements are greater than the time allotted for corporate prayer. The church building remains dark most nights and the schedule itself guards against any unexpected outbreak of God’s power and presence. Elongated seasons of prayerful seeking of God’s face are historical accounts of ages gone by and have found little place in the age of self.

There is no peace but Jesus. There is no love but Jesus. There is no mercy but Jesus. There is no grace but Jesus. There is no salvation but Jesus. There is no life but Jesus. Why has Jesus become such an invisible appendage to the church and why has He become a doctrinal test rather than a living and powerful revelation that identifies individual believers as well as the visible church? Why does Jesus find a nice and comfortable place in many lives of western believers that only slightly deviate from the lives of their lost counterparts?

And even Sunday morning, which should be the one place where believers are stripped from their cultural chains, has become a predictable and orchestrated performance that rarely changes anyone at all. And when you watch hundreds of people exiting a worship service at the appointed hour with little if any residual effect of being in God’s presence, you must wonder if God was there at all. How can people believe the claim that we have met powerfully with the Creator of the Universe and the Lord of our Souls when we are more excited or solemn when we leave a football game? And how can we expect God to manifest Himself in unusual ways when we have cavorted with the world all week and spent an embarrassing amount of time and labor seeking Him? We treat the church service like a concert where the musical celebrity shows up simply because we are there and have paid for our seats.

Church itself has become part of the culture and is given a small seat at the table of policy making. We as believers should not be concerned, much less consumed, with what the kingdom of darkness is doing and planning. Our kingdom is light and that light is Jesus who must be proclaimed and lived in humble boldness and sacrificial love. We are highly organized; we are highly doctrinal; we are highly educated; and we are highly cultural. But are we highly passionate in our pursuit for Jesus Christ? Our hedonism has ensnared our time and motivation and in so doing we remain in Martha’s kitchen uninterested in what is taking place at the feet of Jesus. Watch the church as she rallies new energy every election cycle only to return to her former self afterward. Listen as the church disrespects the president because he is not the one of their choosing, all the while giving lip service to God’s sovereignty in the rulers of nations.

Listen further as the church supports a particular war and with that support she tethers it to God Himself. The church uses the term “just war” in the same way others use the term “just abortion”. The American church has been carefully taught over two centuries the divine favor of God on this nation, but that teaching has always been false. Jesus is now a conservative, and the mystical absolutes found in God’s Word and in seeking His presence are now subservient to some moral and political agenda. This is not the faith of Christ, this is a mutation that continues to evolve away from the pure faith found in the Scriptures.

It is time the church, or at last a handful of awakened believers, cast off the grave clothes and set a course, albeit against the ecclesiastical wind, to seek Jesus and His kingdom. All of us must begin anew and afresh, and we must never question the redemption found only in Christ but we must now question almost everything we have constructed in practice and lifestyle. We must invite again the Spirit of God to fall on us in power and leadership as we fall in brokenness before our God. We must tear up our plans and strategies and create a thirst for God Himself.

Jesus. There is no thought and no emotion greater than knowing Him in all His fullness and in His experiential presence. How can we neglect such a privilege? How have we constructed such an ecclesiastical form while leaving Him behind? We have entire quarterly sermon series’ that deal with all kinds of relevant western issues and relegate Jesus Himself as an understood aside. We bring flag displays and soldiers into God’s sanctuary in celebration of a nation that rose up violently against its government resulting in a combined 50,000 deaths (American, British, German) and many more casualties. All because of “taxation without representation”. The entire war goes against all the teachings of Jesus Himself.

Let us return to the empty tomb and go forth with a new vigor and a new way of living and preaching Jesus. Not with a post modern compromise that obscures the gospel and not with a hardened orthodoxy that exudes self righteousness and judgmentalism, but with the revelation of the Savior Jesus in all His love and graciousness. The darkened world is desperate to see people who are selfless prisms that allow the light of Christ to shine forth without the self interest and political activism that sculptures a different Jesus than is revealed in written Scripture.

At the end of this post I want to exalt Jesus Himself. I want to publicly praise Him for showing grace to a profound sinner like me who did not deserve one cell of His precious blood. I have not been as faithful to Him as I could have been, and I am not what I could be for Him, but to His praise I am not what I used to be. I was a violent racist who sold drugs into the high schools and was unconcerned about God or man. I was widely promiscuous and rode a motorcycle and drove a van, both of which were vehicles that helped me live a life of sin. Only the providence of God rescued me from committing a murder in a planned bank robbery, but I heard the gospel from a sick bed and was saved forever. Morality did not save me; the pro-life movement did not save me; traditional marriage did not save me; conservative values did not save me; and humanitarian causes did not save me.
Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected, saved me one day in March of 1975, and it is this truth that I will cling to by His grace until He receives me from this present life.
I glorify the Person of Jesus Christ forever.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Please Understand the Situation

II Tim.4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Col.2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (principles) of the world, and not after Christ.

There is a man who is an up and coming phenomenon in the emergent church movement. His name is Peter Rollins and he is from Belfast, Ireland with a degree in philosophy. I would like to present to you some of his teachings that I have gleaned from some of his interviews and writings. You are welcome to google his name and peruse his teachings for yourself. Here are a few meanderings that are accurate representations of his overall theology.


“The desire to get a God’s-eye view of the world is reflected throughout history in theology, mythology and philosophy. In much of the Western intellectual tradition there’s a strong desire to name and capture God in conceptual form. I am trying to explore the ancient idea that God transcends all names. We can’t reduce God to a theological idea without making an idol out of words. Instead of thinking of God as a noun it is perhaps more useful to think of God as a verb. For God is known through action.”

“We see this in the word "doxology" which doesn’t mean belief, but rather worship. So orthodoxy actually means correct praise not correct belief. In that kind of a way, it becomes less about the affirmation of a theological approach—important as theology is—but a way of being like Jesus. We have to rediscover this idea that orthodoxy isn’t belief -oriented but praxis-oriented.”

“To bring love into the world is to know God, for God is love. This is not the knowledge of creeds and theology but the knowledge of a transforming relationship with the source of all love. Truth in Christianity is thus different from the way we understand truth in the world, for the truth of Christianity is life, not description.”

“The parable of the mustard seed grasps this. It speaks of a seed becoming a tree that will provide a nest of birds. The traditional interpretation is that this tiny movement will become an institution that will house people. But then there is another interpretation which says that the birds of the air are symbols of evil. In this reading, the movement will grow into an institution that will house that which stands opposed to God. What if neither interpretation is true but rather they both are?”

"In other words I don’t think we experience the truth of Christianity but the truth of Christianity is hinted at in the renewed way we experience everything else. In this way the truth of faith is not one thing among other things but rather is that which brings us into new relationship with all things. The way we explore this within Ikon is by attempting to create a gathering in which Christianity is not fundamentally about an understanding or experience but rather a way of being and interacting in the world."

Taken from here.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us this evening at our intimate, humble gathering. Take a seat, make yourselves comfortable and prepare yourselves. Tonight we would like to share a secret with you, a sacred secret that must be kept strictly between us. To be honest it is a secret which cannot be told, for it cannot be understood or even experienced, but only birthed within us and lived through us. Nonetheless this evening is a futile but necessary attempt to place this sacred secret into some kind of language, for language is the only messenger we know, fallen angel though it may be.

My first encounter with this secret occurred a number of years ago while I was walking home, late one evening. As I weaved my way through the half-dead trees that inhabited a piece of wasteland connecting my origin to my destination I heard an inner voice calling my name. I stood still and listened intently to what I took to be nothing less than the solemn, silent voice of God. As I stood there, rooted to the ground, God spoke to me, repeating four simple words, “I do not exist”"

Taken from here.

"You sit in silence contemplating what has just occurred. Moments before you had been alive and well, then the screech of brakes and the darkness. Now you stand in line waiting for your call to stand before the judgment seat of God. As you reflect upon the last moments on earth your name is called and you find yourself in a huge room facing an awesome throne. Sitting on this huge throne is a breathtaking being who looks intently at you before speaking, ‘My name is Lucifer the angel of light’

You are immediately filled with fear and trembling. ‘I have cast your God from His throne and banished Christ to the realm of eternal death. I hold the keys to the kingdom, I am the gatekeeper of paradise and it is for me to decide who shall enter and who shall be forsaken’.
Then he stretches out his vast arms, ‘In my right hand I hold eternal life and in my left I hold death. For those who would bow down and acknowledge me as Lord I shall let them pass through the gates of paradise, but for those who refuse I will vanquish them to death with their Christ’

"After a pause he moves his arms so that each of his hands are placed before you, ‘What do you choose’?"

Taken from here.

"What if one of the core elements of a radical Christianity lay in a demand that we betray it, while the ultimate act of affirming God required the forsaking of God? And what if fidelity to the Judeo-Christian scriptures demanded their renunciation? In short, what if the only way of finding faith involved betraying it with a kiss? By employing the insights of apophatic theology and deconstructive theory this book seeks to explore the subversive and clandestine nature of a Christianity that dwells within religious institutions while simultaneously undermining them."

Taken from here.

At the outset please note the absence of any mention of the cross and resurrection. And anyone with a semblance of impartiality can see that Rollins has dramatically reinvented Christianity and presented it as a set of works rather than a born again experience by believing on the Risen Christ. Missing among all the philosophical gibberish is the gospel itself, and yet millions of professing Christians have accepted his “message” because he is emergent and endorsed by men like Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt.

I will not insult your Biblical intelligence by an elongated comparison with his words and the Word of God. But I wanted to present you with just a small sample of evidence of this man’s spiritual position along with the men who endorse him. And the tragic issue is that many believers who are already enamored with a man like Rob Bell will not even give an impartial assessment of these aberrant views. In fact, there is no statement and no teaching so Biblically deviant that some cannot manipulate them to say what they obviously do not say. Many lack even the most elementary discernment concerning redemptive truth because they have become followers of men rather than followers of Jesus and His Word. This is not due to any deeper duplicity or evil intentions in their beings; it is simply due to a profound deception as to what is happening and their complicity in this falling away. I alternate between anger and a deep sorrow.

The immeasurable tragedy has gained momentum through both the weariness of orthodox Christianity and the modern allurement of everything new and spiritually inclusive. There is little reasoning with those already caught adrift in this post modern tide, and it becomes somewhat irrelevant to some when we address even the most doctrinally violent teachings of men who have garnered emergent credentials. To be sure we must guard against any hint of haughtiness or hubris, and we ourselves must never believe we have arrived and are licensed to sit and evaluate all others but ourselves.

Pray and watch both for the deceived and ourselves.
The apostasy has long since gained a beachhead and moves forward with lightning speed. God help us…

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Children of a Lesser Christ

There He writhes, surely in inestimable physical pain, but in infinitely more unsearchable spiritual pain and suffering for the sins of all mankind. Who can enter into that realm? Who among us can grasp the enormity of such an event, and even the partial understanding given to us renders us weak with gratefulness and worship. Only the redeemed can comprehend the spiritual implications of His death, and only a sinner enlightened by God’s Spirit can believe that event carries any sort of redemption for them personally. Only the Spirit of God can shine a divine light upon a narrative that looks on the surface like a Jew, dying on a cross, and by that light reveal something of a far greater mystery that has eternal implications for us all.

Men look into the expanse of a star filled night and find a profound wonder concerning the creation, and most find it unimaginable to be asked to believe that dead Jew was the Creator of all of it. How could such weakness be the open revelation of the Great God of the Universe? Yet there He is, draped in a crimson robe of His own blood, and gasping His very last breath. The reasoning of man not only doubts it, he rejects it with confidence. This figure impaled upon two Roman crosses cannot be anything more than another sinful Jew receiving the punishment for His own transgressions. This is nothing more than spiritual superstition.

But just as the invisible wind showcases its power by its influence over that which it targets, so will the power of this event be revealed through those who receive and acquiesce to its life changing power. A few weeks after this punishment was meted out, many thousands of people, the same ones who looked into that night’s sky, will be transformed into followers of the man who died on that day. Only they will no longer view him as just another dead Jew, no, they now realize He has risen from the dead, and He is the Lord God of Heaven and Savior of their souls. They have been captured by God’s Spirit, internally changed, and they will never be the same. They now walk in a strange land which they once called home but now is just a path to walk and a temporary place of sojourning.

These believers have gladly entered a personal journey to learn of Christ and follow in His footsteps, but always looking to and delving deeper into that cross and empty tomb. The paradox of all who believe in Jesus is that all the deepest and most profound aspects of His life and Person are found in that cross and in that empty tomb. That week of passion is the foundation that not only begins the journey; it is the place where the building blocks for future understanding must be hewn. The newborn Christian chicks do not fly away to build their nests elsewhere, instead they bring any additional twigs and food back to that same nest. The tree of Golgotha houses all true nests, and that tree itself gives and sustains all life that flies to its redemptive canopy.

This is the Christ we embrace and follow and this is our faith. We must not entertain the new constructs of men who suggest our faith is found elsewhere, regardless of how noble the cause. One small step away from Calvary is one giant step toward heresy. And when we move Christ and His bloody redemption away from the very core of our teaching, we do despite to the gospel itself and in fact we present a lesser Christ, a Christ that conforms to the philosophies of men and not the Christ whose brightness destroys the philosophies of men. Anything substantively new is most assuredly not true. Only a new and fresher well that is dug deep into the knowledge of Christ that begins and ends with redemption can be considered new revelations of established gospel truth.

And so in today’s exhilarating genre of Christian thought and teaching we have so many who follow a lesser Christ. Some follow the prosperity Christ, others follow the ceremonial Christ, others follow the philanthropist Christ, some love the abortion crusading Christ, others follow the gay hating Christ, and still others follow the American Christ. These are lesser Christ’s and in a real way they are other Christ’s. Gone is the tearful brokenness produced by a deep gratefulness for the cross. Gone is the spiritual contentment that comes from meditating upon that bleeding form, replace by the philosophies of men which excite the flesh and divert the worship from the Eternal One suffering in intense agony over our very sins. The lesser Christ carries no wounds and bids us to change the world through caring for the needs of others with the bloodless offerings of Cain.

We live in an ecclesiastical atmosphere with so many paths to God and so many different representations of the gospel that it is impossible to identify those who are washed in Christ’s blood and those who earnestly follow a noble Christ with high morals, compassion for the poor, but lacking the imperative crown of redemption found only and continually at Golgotha. Some even follow a crass and reckless Christ who was indistinguishable from the sinners with whom He ate. But the true Christ is exalted in His death and all other truths flow to and flow from that same sacrifice. To speak less of the cross is to diminish Christ, and to avoid or even deny the substitutionary element of its power is to deny it altogether.

I can never assess the limits of God’s grace, and I can never pronounce knowledge of any person’s standing before God.
However I can say with certainty that many today are the children of a lesser Christ.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Abortion as a Stumblingblock - UPDATE*

Whatever cause draws us to league with unbelievers is a clandestine attempt to draw us away from Christ. To single out abortion and use incendiary verbiage to leverage the most intense and explosive emotions concerning the plight of children is unbiblical and steers the human heart away from the gospel of Christ and onto the horrors of this world. And regardless of how accurate in their assessment of that moral issue, their unguarded rants only seek to awaken uncontrollable emotions in many, the result of which has been seen again in Kansas.

It is surely true that abortion is a sin and against the will of God. It is the murder of an unborn child. But how we handle that truth within the gospel context can be a very fine, yet significant, line of demarcation. An irresponsible diatribe about abortion can excite the emotions of hatred and revenge more than point to Jesus Christ. Our calling is to lift up the Person of Jesus Christ, not engender a torch bearing mob mentality about the actions of lost sinners. In fact, the hope of the world is the gospel not the elimination of any sinful practices regardless how horrific.

Far too often in these days of political involvement the church has been known for its stand on certain moral issues and not its overt and tangible projection of Jesus Christ. Cursing the basement flood without addressing the leak in the pipe is an unproductive venture, and we as followers of Jesus should repairers of the breach rather than condemners of the lost crowd from which we came. These moral campaigns are a clandestine form of compromise since they trade in the good and not the perfect.

So the next time you read a blog post or hear a message on the subject of abortion which is purposely inflammatory with all sorts of invectives, hyperbole, or an a pictorial meant to arouse emotions of hatred and outrage, think of how that draws people to the Lord Jesus. Being against abortion is a Biblical given, but exhibiting the grace and love of Jesus Christ to the vilest among us is a challenge of the highest difficulty and sacrifice. Jesus died for the abortion doctor and calls us to offer him that redemption.

Be a light, not just a verbal firearm.
*UPDATE - If you believe that war is a God ordained way to protect human life, then by the same logic killing abortion doctors can easily be considered God ordained as well. In this age of terrorists, the doctors can be called utero-terrorists. What they are Biblically is lost.