Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Splinter in your Mind

I ordered the book and the movie today. I have never actually seen the movie or have I read the book. A scene from “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suite” came to mind this morning. The scene I recall seeing very long ago has Gregory Peck, as Tom Rath, walking down a crowded street in Manhattan, NY, USA and you hear, as a voice over, his voice speaking his thoughts. Its been so long I cant recall the exact words, the basic idea being that Gregory Peck’s character is questioning how all the people around him can go on day after day, day in - and out, doing the same meaningless tasks, (OK so maybe I added a bit with meaningless tasks) His character is questioning himself, or so I recall, on “if everyone feels like something is missing or is he missing something they all know.

The same premise is laid out in “The Matrix”. If you haven’t seen it I’ll summarize the part that is important to my point. Keanu Reeves plays the role of Mr. Anderson who’s day job is a computer code writer of some sort. Like many he works in “cube world” When not at work he is Neo, a computer hacker. Mr. Anderson/Neo is plagued by the persistent thought that something isn’t right. He doesn’t know what "it" is but he knows it's there. As the movie progresses you find that his premonition of something out of sort is that the world he perceives is actually an illusion and that the real world is something vastly different then what he thought, and from what the rest of the world think, it is.

Now if you saw “The Matrix” please rest assured I’m not about to begin telling you how the world is controlled by machines and that our lives are actually just bits and bites of code pumped into us so we will produce energy for the new rulers of the world.

My point IS the feeling/ premonition/ fear/knowledge that both of these characters had. Something is amiss, something in them or in the world just isn’t right, and they are troubled by it.

As long as I can remember, much like Tom Rath and Neo, I have known something is missing. As a child I didn’t recognize the question but felt it. As a young man and later an adult I recognized the question but could never find words to express it. I just assumed everyone else in the world “just got it” that they knew some precious secret that I didn’t which allowed them to go on day after day, doing much the same things I did, and being satisfied or fulfilled. As an adult I learned that I could drown out the question , make it go away or mask over it with some new interest or challenge that captured my attention. Horses, motorcycles, fast cars, girls, fishing, hunting, shooting, mirage, having children, business, politics, booze, money the list is almost endless. One thing the distractions have or had in common is they all held my attention, blurring my vision and thought that something was missing, ------ for a season. The season would eventually end and I would again know that I am out of step, something missing.

Just to clarify I’m not taking about happiness, I am happy and in a very natural way content. This is something more then happiness, deeper then contentment.

Before anyone starts to pontificate the “standard” Evangelical, Full Gospel, Born Again, Church Attending mantras please allow me mention a few items of interest.

I have been a Born Again Christian since 1978. I was baptized in water that same year, as well as receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I attended church 3 times a week, participated in outreach ministries, and prayer groups for years.

My wife and I sold all that we owned packed our two babies into an old car and drove half way across the country to attend and for me to graduate from Christ for the Nations Institute.

I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and have seen all of them work through me, some many times, some on occasion.

I believe I have met and talked with angels, two times that I know of. Hebrews 13:2

I know I have met and talked with demons, and I’m not speaking in a figurative sense.

For more years then not I have read my Bible almost daily, on the days I don’t read it I normally listen to it on CD in my work truck.

I had my right hand crushed in an industrial accident to the point that the doctors told me I would never regain the use of it. Believers prayed for me and within 2 weeks God fully restored it.

I have been shot at for witnessing to prostitutes in Dallas Texas at point blank range and the Lord stopped the bullets. Where they went I have no idea. They didn’t hit us, the wall behind us or anyone around us. Oh, and the girls did accept Jesus that night.

I was buried alive 27’ underground at 9:05 AM on August 2005. The circumstances were so bad that the 100+ fireman sent there to “rescue” me treated it like a training exercise. Witnesses later told me that my rescuers seemed to have had no real hope of saving me. In fact, they had so little hope that they turned back the helicopter dispatched to rush me to the hospital when they dug me out. I climbed out of the pit, on my own, just 2 hours after the cave in. The Evening News called me “the luckiest man alive”

I’m not a rescue worker or an EMT but God has used me to snatch 5 souls, that I know of, from death. Two from drowning in pools, one who fell through the ice in a reservoir, one who fell off an observation platform over 100 feet above a waterfall and one who stopped breathing from anaphylactic shock. I also know of two I should have saved but lost.

God- the Father, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit are and have always been deeply involved in my life. Even at those times when I drifted or willfully walked away.

I am very happily married for over 35 years, to the same woman. We love each other more each day.

I have 4 great children who are grown, 3 married now. All are successful and we have wonderful relationships with them.

I have 2.95 (at the time of this posting) grandchildren, all bundles of joy.

I own a small but successful construction company and God, despite the present economy, has blessed us with a flow of business and customers.

In short I have just about everything I could want or of dream of. Against all odds we have become an embodiment of the American Dream.

On the other side of the coin, I have needed Gods cleansing, forgiveness and restoration more times then I care to remember. Take it from me, if there is a way to mess up as a Christian I have probably done it. The Holy Spirit has been faithful to convict me and the Father to forgive me through the Lord Jesus Christ each and every time.

“No brag, just fact” , (Walter Brennan, “The Guns of Will Sonnett”)

I have come to realize that the rest of the world does not know “a secret” to fulfillment and satisfaction that I somehow have missed. In fact I am now certain that “the secret”, is that some of us know something is wrong or missing and the masses do not. Romans 11:8

I and other Christians have talked about this and they understand the existence of the question. This fact suggests that the prompting is of and from God. My Spirit tells me “the secret” needs to be revealed.

This post is The Proclamation of my intention to seek God to answer the question , to uncover, understand it and then share the answer “the secret”.

These scriptures are my anchor, my assurance that I will find the answer.
2 Corinthians 9
8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever." 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Matthew 7
7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Do you understand this yearning? Do you hear the question? Please take a moment and share your thoughts with me on this. Please drop me a post at

More importantly, the quest for this prize will be traveled primarily in prayer.
Please, while your thinking about it, mention this to God.

It will only be prayer, by his Word and through The Holy Spirit that the answer will come.

Footnote, I received a call from a dear brother in Christ doing the Lords work in Columbia this evening. I believe God is anxious to answer "the question". Tonight’s call might very well have been His notice to me that the answer has already been dispatched.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Born to Die

I “borrowed” this from a Blog called SanctiFusion. If you click on the title you’ll be taken to the Blog I found it posted on. Robert, who posted it, notes at the bottom that he “borrowed” it from another site. This posting really spoke to my heart and spotlighted what I feel to most true about the condition on the Christian Church here in the North East USA. It speaks so loud that I thought it worth posting for you as well.

Hoping you have a Great day In the Kingdom of God,


One of my beefs with contemporary Western Christianity is the way it often reduces the Gospel to only one domain, fire insurance. The Good News is apparently only applicable to something totally unfalsifiable, the afterlife. To quote Dr. John Macarthur, Jesus "didn't come to fix life here. He didn't come to eliminate poverty. He didn't come to eliminate slavery." I remember hearing some of my pastors saying that Jesus was “born to die” and that his only purpose was to die for our sins that we might be saved. In short, apparently Jesus didn't come to change anything that can actually be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or felt. He only came to save us from Hell, which none of us has ever seen, and send us to Heaven, which none of us has ever seen.

Here's where my skeptical brain kicks in. How do we know we're not just being sold a bill of goods? Snake Oil? Do we just trust those that tell us we can be “saved” while life, our life, their life, goes on otherwise unchanged? We still go to the same job, eat the same things, dress the same way, spend our leisure time on the same activities, but now we've got a really killer retirement package that we “receive by grace through faith”?

If this is only thing that the “Gospel” is about, doesn't that kind of make a good deal of Jesus' teaching kind of pointless filler? If the Gospel, in it's totality, is about going to Heaven by appropriating God's grace by belief in Jesus' death and resurrection what the heck is the point of the parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matt 25:31-46)? Why worry about most of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) if I've already got all the Gospel has to offer? Apparently, being a peacemaker (Matt 5:9) doesn't actually make you a child of God. (To be fair, the text does say “Shall be called” not “Shall be”. I guess you can be called one and not be one. I wish Jesus was less confusing on this issue). Are all the interpersonal, social, and moral aspects of the New Testament like optional equipment on a new car, nice to have but not necessary to get you from point A to point B?

I'm thinking this is where I kick platonic assumptions about the nature of reality to the curb. I do believe that Jesus saves us from our sins, but I think He intends to do so in the here and now as well as the sweet by and by. I believe he intends for us to be free from the bondage and consequences of our addiction to consumerism, noise, drugs, lust, the mindless consumption of electronic media, the economic ease and privilege of living at the center of the Empire, etc. now, as well as later.

I refuse to serve a neutered Jesus that has been made in our image and is safe for mass consumption. I don't need a smarmy platitude-spewing Lord that is simply there to give me an eternal pass on all my instances of wrath, greed, apathy, or elitism. I want Him to be fierce in my life. Like Aslan in Narnia, I pray that Jesus is good, but not "safe" for me to spend time with. I want Him to destroy my apathy and self-deception to reveal what His Kingdom, what His Gospel is truly about. I want to see the Gospel, the declaration of the ascendancy of a new King, turn the world upside down again, to save people here and now. I want to see Jesus set addicts free, mend broken families, reconcile communities, and bring peace to nations. I just pray that I have the courage to walk into that new land when I'm given a glimpse of it. Then, after a long hard fight, I'll take that retirement plan.

(Shamelessly stolen from a recent page at The Ooze!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Really smart believers make mistakes too!

For the past 3 weeks I have been trying to reach out to a few old Christian friends. These are men I haven’t seen or spoken with in a very long time. I was hoping somehow we could re-connect because I need some good Christian advice. I located a couple of them on the internet and sent them emails but as of yet they have not responded. I’m not seeking any great confirmations or revelations I would just like to bounce some ideas off them.

I believe it’s always a good idea to bounce ideas off well grounded Christians. If you can’t tell a fellow believer what you think God is leading you to do, then there is a good chance the leading is not coming from God. In spite of how your idea is received there is still is no guarantee that the idea came from God.

In Chapter 7 of 2 Samuel, King David decides it would be a good idea to build a house for God. He tells Nathan the prophet about his idea and Nathan responds in vs. 3 “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

Later that same night God speaks to Nathan and tells him to tell David NOT to build God a house.
2 Samuel 7:4 –17
That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying:
5 "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" '
8 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. " 'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' "
17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

Apparently Nathan didn’t bother to seek God’s direction on the subject before sharing his advise with David.

Jump forward in time, and the Bible to 1Kings 5. King Solomon is beginning his preparation to build a house, temple, for God.

Verse 5 “I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God, as the LORD told my father David, when he said, 'Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.'

Now Solomon was pretty smart, in fact the Bible tells us he was the smartest man who ever lived!

Kings 3:12, “I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”
In spite of how smart Solomon was he neglected to seek Gods advice about building the temple. We now know that God was referring Jesus, when he spoke through Nathan to David regarding David’s plan to build a house for God. “'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Solomon thought that he, as the son of David, was the one to fulfill the prophecy and he built the Temple. Why God didn’t send a prophet to dissuade him ? The Bible does not answer that question but God did address the Temple when it was finished.

1 Kings 6:11-13 The word of the LORD came to Solomon: 12 "As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel."

Notice that God refers to the Temple “As for this temple you are building” and that’s all he said about it. He tells Solomon that if he follows and obeys His regulations and commands that He will fulfill the promise he gave to David. What promise?
Go back to
2 Samuel 7: 11-13 'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

It seems to me that God was not impressed with the Temple. Why should he be? He created the very rocks and trees used to build it. Is there anything we can do, build or say that would impress God? I don’t think so.

God’s anointed King David, his prophet Nathan and the smartest man in the world, King Solomon all were mistaken about building a house for God. God had sent word to David to re-direct his efforts because David had asked Nathan’s advice. The scriptures don’t tell us that Solomon sought out any advise or that he inquired of God. Go back to verse 5 Solomon said " I intend" He didn’t ask God, he didnt ask a prophet, he didnt ask anyone, and consequently he wasted all that effort, time, manpower and money. He even conscripted, (forced labor) 400,000 men of Israel to build it. The Bible doesn’t tell us but I would imagine the people of Israel might have had some less then positive things to say about King Solomon’s Temple.

It occurs to me while I write this that Solomon’s Temple actually became a hindrance to Israel. Just the fact that they called it Solomon’s Temple suggests it took their eyes off of God and onto a work a man. It was such a hindrance that the Temple had to be destroyed to make way for the Christ to come.

Is God leading you to do something?

Make sure you spend some quality time on your knees and make sure that what you are about to do is really directed by Him.

Double check His Word to be sure your direction is in accordance with the Bible. Be sure it lines up with the “full council” of the Bible, not just some verse taken out of context to justify something. This is one reason why it is so important that we read His Word, all of it. God will never direct you to do anything that contradicts or violates His Word.

Then bounce the idea off a few brothers or sisters in the Lord, remembering that even Solomon was capable of a mistake. Ask them to pray about it as well so that like Nathan, God has a chance to speak to them on the subject.

Then, and only then, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

“ Lord, help me today that through my life someone will be touched by you. Help me to walk in your Spirit. Mostly Lord, help me to be more like Jesus”