I Didn’t Realize What I Had

Posted: October 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

Being a product of the 1980’s (young adulthood I mean) I remember when the IBM 286, Commodore 64, and Atari 2600 were cutting edge technology.  So unlike the under generation biting on my heels, I still over complicate my I.T. world.  My recent goal was to get a photo onto my post that was not “available” except for the odd fact that I was HOLDING IT IN MY HAND.  Do I even have a scanner?  Oh, yeah… that all in one printer/fax we bought is also a scanner.  SOOOO…I scanned the picture and looked –  COOOOL … it looks better than the actual photo, so I started scanning…& scanning, & spent hours saving photos that I probably will never look at again!!!

What I really had going on in my mind was putting the years of our ministry into perspective.  Sometimes when God is manipulating you into a place of preparation for His next big assignment, He does it by totally combing back through all the lessons in your past.

As I began to comb through pictures, I began to scroll through my brain files.  It was exhilarating to look back at the beginning of our ministry and see that it contained the same DNA as our current determination and vision.  We are older, wiser, more seasoned, sadly more used, abused, broken, yet welded back together, reinforced, and …well… very very different…YET basically the same.  Our rally cry in the beginning was “Reality Christianity”, “multicultural, multi-racial ministry”, actually doing what Jesus SAID instead of just shouting it at people, teaching what the Bible actually SAYS…not what grandpa or grandpa’s preacher said.  True and sound doctrine based solely on the actual scripture, not feelings, wishes, and conjecture.  Solid doctrine requires, of course, godly wisdom – but it also requires an equal amount of humility and consciousness of our limitations.

Truth is we ALL need to get rid of A LOT of religious garbage.  I have said at least a million times in my life, “show me the chapter and verse”, and “don’t twist & contort it into something barely recognizable”.   As I have combed back over our ministry the common element is this: we are actually more “truly” reliant on the WRITTEN word than some of the most legalistic “fundamentalist” we know…but what might be ironic to some is, we have ALWAYS consistently helped free those around us with whom we have shared meaningful relationships.  Sound scriptural based doctrine allows us to more confidently internalize and respect scripture.

Some of our very best lifetime friends recently commented, “well, you can definitely tell that (our daughter) was baptized and first discipled by you!  She thinks exactly like you!”  I ponder this last year of Facebook reunions – basically hearing from past ministry partners a similar spiel, “we’re a bunch of misfits because nobody understands our views, our actions, our lifestyles.  We don’t fit into anyone’s preset mold”  So how can a person who is “conservative” theologically … consistently LIBERATE people.  It’s simple; just stop the charades.  Stop faking it.  When you don’t know, say I don’t know.  Stop competing with your own teammates.  We will NEVER win like that.  Seriously, I’m waiting for someone to get brutally honest and just name their church Balderdash Community Church.

My answer: don’t take what “THEY” say quite so literally (positive or negative), whether they seem to love you or hate you.  Truth is, we tend to agree with people who are saying what we want them to say and we oppose people who seem to oppose who we are.  It’s a very dangerous thing called confirmation bias – we simply surround ourselves with “yes men” who will always sing our praises and agree.

From the 1980’s until now, Lis & I have focused our teaching and preaching on… what the Bible ACTUALLY says, and to a large extent, what Jesus ACTUALLY SAID to do, the apostles, the substantive doctrine. On the other hand, our EQUAL task has been to shine the light on the very common & convenient principle that has absolutely ZERO foundation from the Bible.  That of INTERPRETING God’s Word to suit OUR own ideas and preferences.  Every honest Christ follower has thought, “It sure would be easier if He had dealt with THIS issue, preferably “on my side” of the debate.  Point is, He said what He said, and refrained from saying what He wanted to refrain from saying.

“The Bible Belt” of the USA is probably the most difficult mission field we have in my opinion.  WHY?  Easy…the Holy Bible, PLUS a “special exclusive voice from on high” to some random dude sitting under an oak tree …equals a CULT…an antichrist.  The most commonly used Bible in the world is not the Bible that has 66 books, 1189 chapters, some 31,000 verses, some 783,000 words.  The Bible that is MOST common is the PEV version – The PERSONALLY EXPANDED VERSION (customized to suit our preconceived ideas & arguments) which probably adds another 30% of material to the real deal.  By the time we “explain it” there is a good chunk that’s “just implied”.  You know “a teenager shalteth not cometh in after midnight with some lameth excuse unless he be groundeth for an eternity…eth”  Uhhhh…chapter and verse please!!!

But isn’t that what we all do?  Don’t we all “interpret” the Bible, present it in understandable terms, give explanation to what it really means?  Use it as a two edged sword to cut what needs to be cut.  NO…NOT, if we’re wise enough to recognize our human ignorance and tendencies.  Yes we must internalize it, but…1)  it is TRUTH… 2) WE are …well, sometimes pretty clueless.

When I argue with my wife (which is honestly seldom) I surely NEVER argue “HER POINT OF VIEW”, HER INTERPRETATION of the subject.  That would be rather oxy-moronic (and moronic).  NO…I argue vehemently for what I have already blurted out and am NOW committed to.  Even when I begin to see my “facts” falling apart, I tend to attempt propping it up with whatever is at my disposal.”  We all tend to do that … until we finally liberate ourselves enough to admit that there actually IS an absolute truth out there, truth that is ALWAYS TRUTH, truth not always all that easily internalized through our personal, cultural, & behavioral norm.  But, no matter how loudly we talk or how angry we get – TRUE TRUTH IS TRUE TRUTH.

There is a reason that the Bible says in 1 John 2:27   , “As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.” AND it warns us, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.  For all of us make many mistakes.” James 3.   BUT WHY???  If I take upon myself the responsibility of teaching, I will be held responsible for every misrepresentation that I present as truth because it (my twist) taints the REAL truth.  The wise goal of a teacher is to provide assistance for students to receive the written truth without twisting and manipulating it through our “approval” system.  How many times have you thought – “that person is living in denial”?  Real truth is the truth no matter what.

I am currently working on a holistic ministry concept which is deep only in its simplicity called BASICS CHURCH.  It’s not a “church plant”, it’s a study concept.  As I continue to see the Holy Spirit flesh it out on paper, it is amazing how simple it is.  Jesus had some very specific MANDATES for us and we just dance all around them.  I love church history and if we take a broad look at Christianity there has consistently been an ebb and flow of adherence to these Jesus mandates.

We’ve been called by Christ to propagate the truth of the simple gospel…that through Christ ANYONE can be reconciled to God.  Surprisingly, we’re not here to do most of what seems to be our priority at times.  We’re not here to announce and argue about the million things we are AGAINST.  Surprisingly, we’re not here to clean up this “world”.  We’ve already read it … it definitely, no doubt about it, continues to get worse.

What REAL TRUTH am I willing to stake my life on?  The easiest answer for anyone would be simply … NOTHING?  I’ll just EXIST, LIVE and MIND MY OWN BUSINESS.  But, IF THERE IS … ABSOLUTE TRUTH and we MISS it … it REMAINS absolute truth, we were just too “apathetic” to recognize it.  ME – It’s simple – I’m going to concentrate on getting the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as I can before I die.  COMPARED TO getting people into an understanding and acceptance of a redemption in Christ, ANY and EVERY peripheral issue pales.

Don’t let the confusion of “churchy talk” keep you from the truth of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:18-21, 26-27   Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth.

26 I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.  27 The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.

  1. Jena says:

    Loves it 🙂

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