Tag Archives: life

red jumpsuits and yellow halos

Well dang. I was looking for a picture of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. I wanted to make the point that many of us have that idea of spiritual warfare. You have one in your left and one in your right and you are constantly picking between the two. I can’t see it that way anymore. Why do we read the Bible and ignore the part about all the crazy stuff that happens? How do we read about the church in Ephesus and not notice it? Missionaries come to town with their ‘nutty’ stories and we doubt…yes you do, don’t try to wiggle out of it…we doubt either that it happened exactly like that ORthat it could happen here in the USA. I am starting to wonder how much is going on right here in Maine. Right here in Southern Maine that would scare the hoopty out of Sir Mix-a-Lot. I’m serious…what makes us think that it all stopped? I know our theology might say that tongues have stopped…so demons have too. Is that the rationale? No sure…all I know is that I have been taught for years, by ignoring the teaching on demons and spiritualwarfare that it isn’t an issue and it doesn’t exist anymore. It is the church version of passive-aggressive. We won’t talk about it…and it won’t be important. People will know that, but we won’t have to come out and say it. Quite similar to the middle finger of grammar that Stuff Christians Like spoke about. If you haven’t read that post…what are you waiting for?

I think much of the attitude is the idea that Christians can not be possessed by demons…so…we don’t need to care. Posses can mean own, dominate, or influence. Satan can not own us…there are too many Biblical promises for that. Influence…of course. Dominate…ugh. Well, can they or can’t they? Satan tried it with Jesus…so what wouldn’t he try it with us?

What is happening where we can’t see? Maybe Transformers aren’t the only things that are more than meets the eye.

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Ripoff…from a smart guy.

This is a blog post from The Journey, an Acts29 church in St. Louis.

The Gospel of Gelcaps

Jan 05, 2009 ~ Jonathan McIntosh

London, 1847: James Murdock patents a new form of taking medicine, technically known as the “two-part telescoping gelatin capsule.”  Today, they’re referred to simply as “gelcaps” and most people prefer them to tablets because they make medicine easy to swallow.
But what has the power to take away your fever or soothe aching muscles?  Is it the gelcap itself or is it the acetaminophen or ibuprofen inside the capsule?  Have you ever swallowed an empty gelcap?
As our church enters a series about connecting with God through habits and disciplines, we need to remember a crucial principle – we can’t confuse the capsule with the medicine.

Spiritual disciplines like prayer, meditation, and the study of scripture – no matter how well they’re carried out – do not have the power to actually change you.  How many times have you met someone who practices spiritual disciplines religiously, yet they don’t seem to be becoming more patient, loving, kind or generous?  Somehow, through their rigorous spiritual practice they’ve instead become more bitter, more inwardly focused – to use the term – self-righteous.

This is because the disciplines are powerless on their own.  The gospel is what has the power to change you. If you and I really believed that Jesus’ death bought for us union and favor with God and that we are now counted as true sons & daughters of the King… if we believed that (not in a linear I-comprehend-that-fact-and-can-sign-my-name-to-that-doctrinal-statement kind of way, but really believed it in a I’ve-experienced-it kind of way) well… that is something that would change us.

Romans 8:16 says that God’s Spirit is always talking, always preaching, always testifying… to us, to the depths of our spirits.  And do you know what he says?
 
You’re a son.  You’re a daughter.  Don’t forget.
 

How might your heart be freed from pursuing possessions or acclaim or power or control if you heard that voice?  How might you be freed from anxiety, fear, insecurity, and self-righteousness if you heard that voice?  What would your life look like if you lived daily with this divine voice?

The call in this series is for us to slow down, bend our hearts, and be attentive to that voice; to establish a rhythm of Sabbath, prayer, scripture, worship, and even service as a means to listen.

But please, don’t pray or do Bible study or attend church and community group just to do “church stuff.”

This gospel is the power for authentic life change; the disciplines are the vehicle by which this power can be transferred to our hearts.  The gospel is the medicine, the disciplines are the gelcaps.

Don’t swallow empty gelcaps.

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What Makes My Mind Work?

It Just Does
It Just Does

Ok seriously. As soon as I saw this picture I thought, this is a picture of my life as a Christian up until this point. Hairy, ugly, and lazy. Why you ask?…It just does.

What the heck are you talking about Coldwell? Well, I don’t know. I know what the Bible says. Why don’t I do what it says?…because like Matt Chandler says…I have learned truths faster than I have been able to apply them. So I was like a caveman sitting in a jacuzzi.
I was able to ‘make it’ in church. I had arrived. I got to the place in church where I had the respect of the leaders as an ‘up-and-comer’ ready to minister to the masses. I had the Bible degree and the training and it was a matter of time before things got big. Unfortunately I had no idea that my teeth were crooked, I needed a shave…BAD, and…I was a caveman! I was clueless to my actual condition. I had surrounded myself with yes-men who never called me out and said…”Hey, you smell and you need a shave!” I was educated beyond my ability to apply.
I had no idea what the grace of God meant or how the Gospel of Jesus Christ should/could impact my life. This book by D.A. Carson is blowing me up. It is showing me how much the Bible ultimately exposes sin and shows God’s grace by what Jesus did. It is time that I start shaving, get out of the jacuzzi, and relying on Jesus to apply His truths to my life.
I am about to do some study on Ephesians and the insane amount of spiritual warfare that Paul deals with in that book. When you read Acts 19 to see what happened there before you read the book, it blows up your understanding of the spiritual realm. We do not live in a dualistic earth. Our earthly bodies have a spiritual element that too many people/churches have ignored for too long. How much of what we suffer from is spiritual?…ok no preaching here just something that has been pressing my heart and it all came to life today after talking to a good friend. God is doing some things with me and I am scared/excited to see what is next.
I also wonder if I like this blog theme…I think I like the black better…
Cheers-

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Romans

So it has been quite some time now since I first realized my sin. As a child I knew that God was God and I was not, however, the sin did not eat at me. I did not have guilt before God, I only had guilt before man. I was upset that I had let someone else down. Later in my life, that sin that ‘so easily entangled’, was for the first time seen as between God and myself. I needed help. Jesus is the help I needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a guy, I can handle it. I grew up in an evangelical church that taught us the good way to live life in such a way that no one knows you are hurting. As M. Chandler says, “My friends all came up from being baptized quoting Romans while I just said…that was weird.” I didn’t however say anything about it since it was obviously my problem. People in leadership wore a cape…I wore a diaper. It wasn’t/isn’t about the heart, it is about knowledge and actions. We don’t talk about the heart much here in church. North or South it doesn’t matter. We don’t talk about the heart much. Jesus is calling us to a relationship with Himself and we continue to make it about what we can do for Him.

I was good at it. No rated R movies, no swearing, no TV past 9pm, no drinking the devil juice…I’ve even read Knowing God by JI Packer! I could do it all, and I still try to do it all, for the sake of pride. Romans 4-8 does not leave any room for pride.

Pride looks different from person to person. Pride takes on many faces depending on the situation and the company you keep. When the Pharisees would pray and thank God that they were not like the gentiles who surrounded them…they were merely using their context to act like us. Why do we call them lost, UN saved, UN churched, NON christian? With those very titles we are thanking God that we are not…lost etc. We look to them in the negative. Un, Non…

Romans 4-8 tells us that we all exist as one thing. Under God’s grace. The fact that people can breath God’s air, live on the earth God created, enjoy the sex God created…is grace. They can not enjoy any of these things however AS God intended, but they CAN enjoy them. Grace, what a powerful word.

I am convinced that it is because of a lack of transparency in my life that I am not closer to Jesus. I can fool everyone else, but I can’t fool God. Psalm 32:1-5 speaks volumes. Unconfessed sin decays the bones and kills your soul. Is this some sort of cleansing? No, you will not see me all of a sudden confess to killing a guy or bombing a bank. What I hope you see is some one who is starting to get it and who wants to find that place where it is ok not to get it but doesn’t let you stay there.

In his book Organic Church, Neil Cole makes a good case for bringing everything down. He takes many of his ideas a little too far, but the premise is solid. We need to get into a place where we meet with 2 or 3 people (same sex) and open our hearts. No more of this ‘small group’ stuff where we get together and do mini-church. We need life changing ministry form each other. We need to realize the power of the gospel, the power of Jesus, the power that the Holy Spirit can have on us and our relationships. The church needs to grow organically. We need to confess our sin (looking for another s word) in order to fertilize it.

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Wow, has it been that long?

I can’t say that I am completely surprised it has been this long since my last post. Life has been full of twists and turns in the past two months. More than I have experienced in my life. Things are not dire, I do not intend to dramatize my life in any way, I only seek to blab on my blog. So, without further ado…adooo… without waiting any longer; here is my recent life.

1. In response to the last post; I finished the Shack. Yes it DID have many issues that are inexcusable. The  biggest issue of them all however, was the fact that this book is touted as the next Pilgrim’s Progress. It is being called the greatest work of allegory in years. Allegory? Allegory is speaking truth in fictional ways. Allegory is obvious. If this is intended to be allegory then the Theological implications are heretical. And thus, this book should be destroyed. If this is simply a work of fiction, we should treat it for what it is.  A book that will be forgotten in 10 years.

2. In mid September I realized how close I was to losing my job. The funding from the motherchurch was scheduled to run out the end of October. I had already started the process of applying for jobs when the reality of what was happening hit me. I needed a job. So, ever since then I have been hitting the virtual pavement. The problem with electronic applications is that many times your resume does not make it through the first filter for random reasons. Also, it takes weeks for everything to get processed in order to even get a return email. Ugh.

3. In late September we started our full bore practices for Gemma’s Cabaret. This was a fund raiser in memory of a little girl who passed away at 6 weeks old in our church. There has been a fund set up to help families of children with the same heart condition that Gemma had. The practices took much of my time between the actual rehearsals and the preparations of all the events of the night. We also sold food to raise money so there was quite a bit to organize. The even went off without a hitch on October 18th and we were all excited to have raised $1300 for the evening. (WIth the amount of people there, that is a large number) I of course caught a cold as I always do under heavy stress and lack of sleep. It WAS however, worth it all.

4. Now I sit here, back in the job hunt with a recent email stating that I did not pass an assessment to sell insurance. AAA has an on line assessment that decides whether you can hack it as an insurance salesman and I apparentlycan’t! So, with the brightest spot on my job radar in recent weeks gone, prayer is heavier than ever. It does seem obvious that it was God however that did the door slamming. I had decided to take the position even though it was 10k less than I needed to live for the first three months. I was going to get a part time job and cover what I needed until I could start getting commission. God apparently didn’t like that decision. Many times it is easy to put things on God when they do not go your way, “Oh it mustn’t have been God’s will!”, however I do have a certain peace that doe snot normally envelop me like this. I KNOW that it was God who shut this door

5. Just thought it looked better with 5. Go Phillies!

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happenings

So, it has been a while now that I have sat back and reminised about my years in TN. When I arrived in the south as a long haired hippie yankee; I was immediately struck by the church covered streets of the south. Every where I looked I saw churches. Big churches, small churches, white churches, brick churches, traditional churches, contemporary churches…lots-o-churches.

I remember thinking that I was out of place. For so long I was in the minority to an exponential degree. Not only was I a christian, but I was a protestant! At one time the percentages were that Catholics made up 90% of all religion in Maine. The last 10% was EVERYone else. I have never seen that number substantiated by anything other than my high school experience but I can believe it.

Here I was in TN without any idea of how to defend myself against crazy rednecks who didn’t know the war was over! (Luckily I only ran into one and I quickly let him know I was born in GA so take it easy on me) With churches on every corner I started to live the life that I had never realized existed. Bible bookstores…wait the whole store is Christian? The Christian section in music stores is more than Michael W. Smith and Petra? I soon learned that Jesus was cool here and I just needed to relax and enjoy the ride.

I met some good people down there. Some of them I even have the opportunity to connect with on occasion thanks to facebook and the like. I am saddened by what has happened in my church down there and I pray that God has healed everyone involved. Other people that I was friends with have gone on to great things and I pray that God would bless and lead them.

That time in my life had ended when I started to feel a deep longing to minister to my homeland. I moved back to Maine to find exactly what I had left. This time however, I want to do something about it. Through my experience through EE and the new XEE (ask me about it) I am ready to help plow the fallow ground as Hosea says and reignite what used to be J. Edwards stomping grounds. I do not want to be like the south…they have their problems associated with their ‘spiritual affluence’ however, I do want people to meet THE Jesus and get THE salvation that He and only He offers.

We have been known as the black hole of Christianity for too long.

Thank you TN for igniting my fire…sack up gentlemen!

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take a look at yourself

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