Monday, February 27, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
“For in him [Jesus] dwells all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form.” [Col. 2:9]
So, I don’t think it’s really heretical to suggest that the Godhead has no hierarchical structure but has a more circular/mutual submission to one another model where each one exalts the other in loving humility.
Here's a little 5 Minute Video I made about this subject:
So, in conclusion: I'd say that we should all keep in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction. Just like "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "The Lord of the Rings" or "Bruce Almighty".
Many Christians are pretty upset that "The Shack" portrays God as a black woman [which wasn't even on this list]. But if you're someone who is upset about that portrayal, I'd have to ask you: "Are you upset when God is portrayed as a Lion, or as a Sheep?" If not, then why are you upset when God is portrayed as a human being who is - according to Scripture - actually created in the image of God?
After all of this, I almost want to watch this stupid film now, or perhaps even read the book.
What do you think? If you've read the book or seen the film, I'd love to hear your thoughts, or just hear what you think about my reactions to that list above.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
I couldn't be more proud of our house church family. A few weeks ago, all on their own, they took the initiative to reach out to the people living in the Tent City that has built up along the Santa Ana River next to Angel's Stadium.
One brother, David, bought a case of emergency thermal blankets from Amazon to pass out to the people there. Another sister helped coordinate the time to meet - about an hour before our Sunday gathering - and suddenly we had a little team of people ready and willing to go and serve.
That morning there were six of us standing on the sidewalk and praying for God to lead us to the people He wanted us to minister to.
Right off the bat we got to pray for a couple who eagerly accepted the blankets and a handful of batteries. We even got to pray for them as they faced the uncertainty about where they might go next, as the County of Orange had recently brought in large rocks to store for flood control purposes [and coincidentally to displace everyone living there along the river bed].
Our next tent was "Louis" who was cheerful and smiling, even though he had been hit by a car trying to cross the street a few days earlier. We got to lay hands on him and to pray for him, which he gladly received. He let us know he had just been reading the Gospel of John before we arrived. It was still sitting there beside his lawn chair on a box.
Soon, we were praying for "Christopher" who received prayer for employment. When we finished he said, "I know prayer works. I used to walk with the Holy Spirit for about 3 years, but then I messed up so I know He's not very happy with me right now."
Wendy spoke up first and said, "I think we need to pray again."
So, once more, we all laid our hands on Chris and reminded him that God will never leave or forsake his children. We reminded Chris that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We reminded him that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ - not death, or life, or height or depth, or the present or the future, not angels or demons...nothing.
As we prayed for Chris I could sense his body relax. When we said "amen" I saw a look of relief and peace in his face. "Thank you," he said quietly. I knew those words of truth had penetrated his heart and exposed the lies of the enemy.
"God hasn't forgotten you, Chris," Wendy said. "He still loves you so much," another sister said to him.
"Thank you," Chris said again.
We all need reminding sometimes, I think. We need to remember that God is for us, not against us. We need to accept that He has accepted us, and that His love endures forever, and that His mercies are new every morning.
If you know someone who needs reminding of that, please share this post with them. They might need it more than you think.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Our allegiance is to Christ and His eternal kingdom.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Many of you are aware that our family and our house church have been serving at a motel locally for the last 17 years or so.
Our ministry is largely to those people who live in the motel because they cannot afford to live in an apartment or purchase a home in Orange County, California where affordable housing is hard to come by.
We also minister to a lot of people who are actually homeless and either sleep outside, or in their vehicle, or in a local shelter whenever they can find a vacancy.
Last month I happened to see a witnessing tract that one of the people at the motel church had picked up during the week at one of the Christian shelters or ministries to the homeless.
I picked it up and flipped through it and what I saw really angered me. In fact, I decided to confiscate the tract and later tossed into the trash can.
Why? Because this "Good News" was anything but. As an example, near the end it said this:
"You are filthy, disgusting, hateful and offensive to God. If you are not a Christian, this is how He sees you."
Really? Is that what Jesus tells us? Is that how the Apostles share the Good News of the Kingdom with people?
What about the parable of the prodigal son that Jesus shares to let us know that the Father is longing for us to return and eager to welcome us with open arms?
What about the declaration from the mouth of Jesus that "God so loved the world..."?
Even for those who are far away from God, He does not see them as filthy or disgusting or hateful people. He sees people made in His own image whom He longs to draw nearer to Himself.
As Paul reminded the pagan Athenians: "[God] is actually not far from each one of us. For, 'In Him we live and move and have our being.'" [Acts 17:27-28]
That means those who are near and those who are far away both remain in His presence and are surrounded by His enduring love.
Then, later in the week, I listened to a worship song that said, "There is nothing good in me" and I had to stop and ask, "Is that true?"
Maybe before I came to Christ it could be said that there was nothing good in me, but now that I am in Christ, there IS something - or SOMEONE - very good in me: Jesus!
Jesus tells us that "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." [John 14:20]
He also says:
And later Jesus says:
"Remain in me and I will remain in you." [John 15:4]
So, we should never say: "There is nothing good in me" ever again as long as we are in Christ.
There is someone good in me - and in you - and His name is Jesus.
Rest in His goodness. Trust in His transformational presence. Rely on Him to make you like Jesus.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." [1 John 4:16]
God's view of you is better than you think it is. He sees you as someone worth dying for. That means everyone around you is loved by God as well.
Don't buy the lie that God hates you, or is disgusted by you. Stop talking as if Jesus does not live inside you by His Holy Spirit.
There is SO MUCH good in you if you are in Christ and He is in you!
Do you believe it?
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
John Fischer has been one of my inspirations for years now. His column at the back of CCM Magazine kept my subscription going for years after I had stopped reading the rest of the magazine.
Then his books challenged me to rethink what it means to follow Jesus, and later I was overjoyed to meet him in person and discover more about his life, ministry and sincere dedication to Christ and His Kingdom.
So, it is my high honor and great privilege to share this conversation between John and myself about my new book "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb".
I hope you're blessed by what we talk about. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you haven't picked up a copy of the book yet, you can do that at Amazon.