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June Newsletter-Go To Jail

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Thou Shall Not Steal.   Ok, I’m coming clean.  Everything I’m going to write about this month is stolen. Of course the responses weren’t, but the subjects highlighted, well, just appeared from somewhere else.  I’ll explain a bit, but the bottom line is that each statement is one someone else said but I’ve lost track of who said them.  I have ‘tons’ of notes lying June1around the house and most of them have references so that I can go back to re-read the books or articles again sometime in the future.  The notes here were found in a stack of paperwork on my desk.  As I read them, I realized I had no clue about who wrote them.  I don’t even know if they were written by the same source.

That all being said, let me hold my hands out, cuff me and lead me away.  But, before you do, read this letter and see if ‘stealing’ the material was worth ‘do the crime, pay the time’?

 ‘We are walking in a story that is not finished!’  I had to think about that a while.  It so often feels like our present moment of life is the only life we live.  Actually, we live two lives.  First, we’re what we do in the secular world and we use that world system to measure how we are doing.  In the other world, God’s world, we are changing and moving either in one direction to discover more of God or we are moving away and eventually discovering the nothingness of our secular pursuits.  (I have a friend that says that we all have the same disease, a disease that might come in a thousand different ways, but this disease is common to all: death.  We are born with it.)  We mostly do two things, in our minds we’re always trying to discover how the world works and in our hearts we’re drawn to the question of God.  We center on our physical ‘us’, which will come to an end some day when all this stuff simply dies; however, the Spiritual story we’re a part of never ends.  I know we all want nice things, want justice, fairness, desire friends and such, but eventually we’ll step into the story that continues forever. There was a beginning to this story and it began when the Father, Son with the Spirit decided that the Lamb of God would be slain before the cosmos existed.  From that moment on a story began that continues. The beginning was not just Genesis, but everything that happened from Their decision to be the solution forward to the birth of Jesus was the beginning.  Everything that preceded that birth was the start of something, all purposed to His birth, death and resurrection.  With that resurrection forward a new Life was available, this kind of Life for the very first time.  Something that existed only in Heaven existed on earth.  Now, (through His Life) having stepped into our fallen Adamic life, a new way to live came and continues in whosoever chooses to step into His: Christ, Spirit, Father Life.  It is a story that occurs every time someone ‘sees’ Him for the first time. In fact, it goes on every time we take a breath.  There is ‘no telling’ what is coming next with His powerful, changing Life.

‘The way God reveals Himself is through hearing not vision, perception not proof, through the personal not the universal.  The Gospel is a Truth chain, one Truth leads to another.’  This Christian Life is a journey.  We don’t step with one step into Truth, we are transformed daily, change over time.  It’s built upon transforming our minds from Adamic thought to Christ Thought.  Scripture states that Eternal Life is knowing God.  Isaiah teaches that the essence of the Word is built ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’. (Isaiah 28:10,11)  Everything we know about the Gospel is found, I believe, in one statement found in the teaching of Jesus, ‘If you have seen me you have seen Him’.  If we could put our brain around that one, subject our hearts and minds to knowing that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, maybe we could understand it in the fullness of it being revealed.  However, our hard-headedness and or hard-heartedness get in the way of that most the time.  We’re left with discovering it a bit at a time, from chain length to chain length, and as we do that we become strong in the Lord.  That discovery will come from hearing the Truth and a shocking Truth comes into our hearts.  And, as stated above, proof is not to be found.  What will have to happen is that our perception of God will have to change, a renewing our mind will need to happen, a new perception, not based on what Adam and Eve said about God, but one based upon what Jesus said about God.  That comes from the personal relationship that develops from having discovered Him.  The Gospel is to be started from inside each individual person.  It’s not a union to which we belong, it’s a Church made up of individual believers, and each one related by Love to Father, Son by the Spirit. This revealing is Spirit, not nature.  We continue to look to the natural, the flesh, to tell us how we are doing, when in reality we should look to Christ for our place, our Life, how we are doing having been placed in Him.  Truly, what Jesus Christ has done gives us eyes to see the Father’s heart and understand our experience as the Father sees it.  We must become pilgrims that turn our backs on the familiar and set off in the direction that Jesus taught: The Way.

‘If we are talking about someone and they walk into the room, we have to stop that talking and another talk has to begin.  God has walked into the room in the june2form of Jesus Christ.’  I like this one a lot.  Truly, Jesus Christ has changed all the conversation about God, about religion.  This man claimed to be the Son of God, Savior of the world, claimed to be the only one to know God intimately with full access and full knowledge of His heart.  And, to know Christ was to know the Father.  Jesus claimed to be the chief Cornerstone, the center stone that held up the whole of something, in His case all of scripture.  He claimed to not to be a block in the structure of all our faith, but The Block of stone on which everything True is built.  Take him out of our equation of who God is and the whole thing falls apart.  The incarnation of Jesus Christ has to change our conversation, must recognize Him as the Caption of our Faith, the Author and Finisher of our hearts.  He alone sits at the Right Hand of God and will at some future date be handed all things pertaining to heaven and earth.  I think in sports that makes Him #1.  As scripture says, he is a man of (spiritual) authority without measure.

‘It’s less important to ask a Christian what they believe about the Bible than it is to ask them what they do with it.’  Make Christ the cornerstone. He was also the stone of stumbling, stone of rejection.  Why?  I think it’s because Truth is only possible through Jesus Christ.  He is the Truth.  This Christ was and is in perfect communication with the Father and Spirit.  The reason He is the Way, the Truth and the Life is because there’s no other way to see who the Father really is except by Jesus Christ.  All our reconciliation, salvation, redemption, wisdom, peace, joy, faith and love comes by knowing Jesus Christ and His revealing of God.  Someone once said that Jesus is God’s language to man.  I know we’re all believers.  But I know me, and I’m a bit suspicious about you: We struggle with our believing sometimes.  I don’t mean whether there’s a God; I mean that Jesus’ teachings, his revealing God to us, that it’s hard to stay in the center of that sometimes.  He was born into alienation and had to ‘fight’ his way all along the way.  Accused, beaten, abused, threatened, humiliated, he was tempted in all things and did not once fail.  In the tensest moment possible, the Savior of the world was crucified.  There, his final act was to place himself in the hands of His Father. In Jesus we see the only perfect, True Believer.   Our problem is not does he exist; rather can we trust Him and what He said about and to us in our daily lives!

Sidewalk Prophets

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May Newsletter: Backwards

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Good News: the report of something that has already happened!
!happened already has that something of report the: News Good

Jane and I were in a conversation recently, actually it was about 1am, on one of those couldn’t get to sleep nights. Those kinds of nights always seem to create subjects that she or I don’t find time for in daytime. Anyway, we were talking about sharing our Gospel belief with our 3 daughters, and I said something that I don’t know that I’ve thought about saying before. If I only had one sentence of advice to give to our daughters, what would that sentence be? There were some obvious responses, I would even go so far as saying, and traditional things I might say. You know most of them so I’ll not list them for you here. But, after going over many responses in my mind, my ‘final answer’ is this: ‘If you want to discover the mystery of the Gospel, want to know Who God is, read the Bible backwards.’ It’s always been interesting to me that the Jewish text has to be read right to left rather than the other way round. That’s kind of similar to what I’m saying about reading the Bible backwards. Start at the end and read to the beginning. Kind of hard to wrap our heads around actually, but how much easier would it be if PBS’s Poirot knew the answer before the investigation to fill in the blanks?

I know our habits are to read from Genesis to Revelation; we were taught that way from our childhood. But after 50 years of this faith journey, to really come to the cornerstone of our faith, that would be my advice to our children. I always start study with Paul’s Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc and look how those revelations shed Light on the earlier. Jesus is the Light and has specifically come to show us the Father. Now, you might say, really, the Word backwards is a bit nuts, and I’d let you say that without argument. It may just be my ‘easier way’ of perceiving the Truth. However, let me at least explain what I’ve come to over the years. It all started long ago when a friend of mine asked me to hit the restart button on my Bible studies, asked me to start the Gospel with the book of Colossians, letting it affect the reality of what I would read after that. That moment has paid many dividends in my life. You see, Paul wrote Colossians in past-tense. It is news that has already happened, happened in Christ Jesus. So here we go…

What I’m simply saying is that it’s easier to understand the Gospel when we understand our present situation because of what Christ did, easier to understand when we take a look at what is finished. The whole Gospel message, from Genesis to the Book of Acts, was about something that was in the heart of God the Father and God the Son even before Genesis. The whole story of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Israel and even the life of Jesus was a journey from the heart of God the Father and His Son before the foundation of the world. Truly, Genesis to Acts was all the beginning of something, it was the progress until the cross, burial and resurrection. Something changed with that death, burial and resurrection that was a journey through human history until the ‘it is finished’ actually accomplished something in the heart of God. Now, for the very first time we really have Emmanuel, God with us. It created a new covenant, one prophesied by Jeremiah, one of the heart rather than the head. It ushered in a new way for God and His creature to relate to one another.

The Bible after all is one thing and one thing only, the revelation of Jesus Christ. He was in Genesis and He’s in Revelation. By beginning our study with the Mystery Himself we can better understand the journey from Genesis through the end of the book. Paul, having written so much of our Gospel, did in one simple statement while on the road to Damascus ask the question that is common to all, ‘Who are you Lord?’ In that statement found in Acts 9, Paul seems to have an understanding that Jesus is Lord, but who are you Lord implies a need to know Him in a way. A way that does not simply acknowledge His existence, but a deeper ‘knowing’ and intimate knowing of just exactly the essence of who this Lord is, not just that He is but what does He do. A knowing that brings us closer to not only what He has done for us but also what He has done to us!

Starting with the present and then interpreting the past, in this case, is most necessary to really and completely understand that past. That’s not to say we should throw out history, it’s just that this history is subject to our present. In this history Jesus said He was the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the World, the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, the Life, so we probably should start with Him to understand all that preceded Him. He told us no one knows the Father but the Son. That can only be placed in two categories: a crazy statement or a profoundly true statement. If true, it changes history. Simply said, that means no one in the room, no matter who is in the room, no one, knows the Father but one in that room, the Son of God. He came to reveal Him to us in a new and profound way. Therefore, it’s probably good to get our understandings about the Father from Him. Learning Jesus, we can then look back and see the Lord parting the Red Sea, being a Lamb slain, being a Scapegoat, being the blood of the Temple. Jesus was the Good Samaritan. He was the Promise made before the foundation of the cosmos. He was the priest liken unto Melchizedek, all those things and much more. Scripture says thousands of volumes could have been written about this Jesus.

The whole of scripture is not just a chronological history but truly His story. He alone is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is not a footnote to Adam, he is the Lord of Adam. Reading it from Genesis we have a tendency to read the New Testament with a ‘yes, but Adam.’ If we read it from Jesus, when we get to Genesis we get to say, ‘yes, but Jesus.’ He’s the King of kings. I am suggesting, how ‘bout we start with Jesus to understand all things, after all, all things are fulfilled in Him, He holds all things together. No man comes to the Father, can know the Father, except by Jesus Christ. From His life forward we are under His authority, even more than Moses, David, Mathew, Mark Luke, John, and Paul or any other man. While He was the Finish to the old things, the same Jesus was the beginning all things new.

If He is all these things mightn’t we start with Him to discover the Mystery of the Gospel? He is what was hidden for thousands of years, only to be discovered in this day, the day of the Spirit. One of Jane’s favorite scriptures, one that became so real while critically sick a few years ago, is John 14:17-20:

… the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, does not know Him: but you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. In a little while, and the world will see Me no more; but you will see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day (in this beginning, this day of the Spirit) you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Bottom line, Truth is only possible through Jesus Christ. He was, and is, in perfect communication with the Father, the Spirit; everything (mediation, salvation, righteousness, forgiveness, and reconciliation) comes through Christ. Jesus Christ is God’s language to humanity. He was full of Faith, actually the only wholely faithful, the true Believer. For our girls, ‘read ‘er backwards’ to prioritize the Son of God.


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