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Friday, January 20, 2012

Religion > Relationship

I'm grateful for the ministries of people who proclaim Christ. Our savior. Our Lord. Our Lover. Our intercessor.

I'm grateful for the testimony, the vision, the love, and the passion expressed by the newest internet sensation, the Spoken Word Poetry of Jefferson Bethke  especially in the new poem that has shaken up the blogging community over the past few weeks.

Maybe some of you have heard of the video, watched it, maybe you even loved it.

I didn't.

I loved the video techniques, I was a TV production guy in High School, and I appreciate deeply the amount of work put into making the video look and feel so presentable.

I loved the poetry, the style, the way he fit things together. I love poetry, I write poetry, but nothing comes close at least in my own mind to the things I have heard from Jefferson.

Hands down. The guy is awesome. I hope to meet him one day.

But I do have an issue with the message portrayed in the video poem, "Why I hate Religion, but Love Jesus."

With the words of my mentor Brian, "
This is not meant to be mean, to be a jab, to poke fun or to bash anyone. This is meant to be a loving response. I stand on the conviction that Jesus came to fulfill the law and that Christianity is a religion. Matthew 5:17 & James 1:27," I want to preface a response to the video that I think is just as well done.
Because Christianity IS a religion.

Christ came to make all things new. One thing was to create a new way of living, a set of standards, a new phenomena with the Holy Spirit of God in our midst, presence, and indwelling us, a stand for social justice, and freedom to pray and be God's people on earth. Whether we want to admit it or not, this idea explodes out of a tiny box we like to stuff it into with the word, 'relationship'.

'Relationship' can't even begin to describe

this journey.
This endeavor.

The question that just recently came to my mind is not 'Why did he write such a poem?'


'Why did he feel he had to?'

What kind of church have we become that we had to be awakened by such an idea?

Because I do believe that this was Jeff's exhortation against pride, laziness, and hypocritical 'Christians'.

Why do we need to address this to begin with?

Wake up Church. Be who you were called to be.

I wish I really knew the answer to that question. But I don't. It just plagues my mind. I don't know why we have settled for such a comfortable lifestyle when Jesus calls constantly for our trust in Him. For us to pick up our cross daily, forgoing comfort and security and to be thrill seekers and risk takers for His kingdom.

I don't know why I have settled for such a comfortable life.

I know I need to do more.

Do Justice.
Love Mercy.
Walk Humbly.

And so I believe that this video response says just about everything.
Let us be the church. The real church. Members of the religion that Christ established. Not our watered down, hypocritical version of it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

RIP Michael Enochs

Lamb of God
You take away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.

For the unbearable toil of our sinful world,
We plead for remission.
For the terror of absence from our beloved,
We plead for your comfort.
For the scandalous presence of death in your Creation,
We pleased for the resurrection.

I did not know Mike, but from all that I have heard he was a hero, a man of great courage and a man who loved life, loved people, plain and simple: he loved.

I pray for peace for those affected by his passing. He may have lost the fight physically but emotionally, mentally, spiritually, he won. Death is not the end, merely a beginning.

Friends, my prayers are with you.

Lexi, my prayers are with you.

Peace be with you all, may Mike rest in peace, may Christ give His peace which surpasses all understanding.

Friday, January 6, 2012


"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.' And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Genesis 1:25-31 (ESV)

These verses say so much. God gave man authority in the earth. But we sinned, and whereas we still have some measure of authority it was tainted. It is no secret that we don't have any authority in this world like we seem to have been given in these verses. But it doesn't end here. God's love is too strong to be hindered by the barrier of our sins.

God sent us Christ Jesus. Christ came, taught us, lived among us, loved us, and then died for us. He was raised from the dead and ascended to be with the Father. But from then on everything changed, the isolation and the barriers were crushed. God sent His Spirit to dwell inside of those He has called.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 'I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved b y my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.' Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?' Jesus answered him, 'If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words and the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." John 14:15-26 (ESV)

The Spirit comes upon us when we love Christ and follow His commands. Christ gives a few commands, He sums up the law into loving God and loving others. (Mark 12:28-34 ESV) and then he tells us to go out and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

These tasks are not easy to accomplish, they require something many are unwilling to give. A friend and I were talking about this on the way home from Passion. God is called the Consuming Fire. (Deuteronomy 4:24, 9:3, Isaiah 33:14, Hebrews 12:29). In the Old Testament God sends fire from heaven to consume sacrifices and offerings (2 Chronicles 7:1, Leviticus 9:24, 1 Kings 18:38). I believe God still does this today.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 (ESV)

Why would we be asked to present ourselves as living sacrifices? Because God still sends His Consuming Fire down upon our offerings. We are now the offerings, surrendering to our Lord Jesus Christ to follow His will and expand our hearts to include the world and all of those within it. Our commission isn't about us, it is about all those around us, so we have to sacrifice ourselves in order to receive the Spirit.

This happened to me over the last few days, I surrendered in a way I never have previously, during worship I was completely abandoned, and with others I was fully given over to them, and God responded, I felt His presence, my body shook, and on my tongue were words not my own, words that uplifted and built up those around me. God's Spirit did descend, there was visible impact. These pages are not abstract thought and vague concepts to be pondered, the scriptures are TRUTH, they cannot be denied, and they need to be shouted from the rooftops to all who have the ears to hear.

I would like to close with a passage that connects with where I started, to bring this full circle.

"He is the image of the invisible god, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister." Colossians 1:15-23 (ESV)

Jesus is that image Genesis 1 says we were created in. We are created in Christ, and because of His death, and the coming of the Spirit we are one with Him again. The authority we were created with is resting in Christ, and when we surrender, Christ rests in us, therefore restoring things to a point of Genesis 1. God has returned His people to Himself.

To God be the glory forever, may He bless you all.