Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Crux

Through Christ we come to realize that our restless heart understands itself only if it comes to understand true reality. Such reality that is only experienced through the love offered by the divine heart that breaks for us upon the Cross. It is a love that was broken wide open on that rugged cross so as to be poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5.5).
Truth is, our hearts are in need of a revival. Each of us needs to be reminded not only who we are, but why were we created - or better yet, the purpose of our personhood. And this is why we need Jesus…
Jesus is the crux of Christianity—He is the core of our faith, the foundation of salvation—He is the Christ. However, many today balk at the aforementioned. Sure we are willing to accept Christ as being a “good teacher,” but as the Son of God, the salvation of humanity, our actions (and our words) hardly support anything other than a belief that to be a Christian is to simply memorize Scripture, follow rules and do good deeds. But being a disciple of Christ is so much more…
Throughout the Bible we witness the truth that God is love. And in this truth we come to know the beauty of His mercy. To know Christ is to know love so as to experience His merciful love. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:
The mercy and love of God are at work even in the midst of his enemies.  It is the same Jesus Christ, who of his grace calls us to follow him, and whose grace saves the murderer who mocks him on the cross in his last hour.
Yes Jesus was and is a “great teacher,” but to keep Him only as such is to place Him in a human constructed box. When Jesus took on flesh He became mercy for us. To know Christ is to know mercy. To know mercy is to be mercy, which as Paul writes, is to participate or fellowship in Christ’s sufferings and His death. Being precedes doing.
Christ’s love and mercy know no bounds. He loves friend and foe, and He calls us to do the same. When we know Christ, we know salvation and from such knowing our hearts experience the revival from His love poured out by the Holy Spirit. It is a love that elevates us from being simply observers of His life to the extraordinary place of participants in His truth.
We are called to fellowship in Christ’s sufferings and conform to His death – this is what it means to workout our salvation; this is what it means to participate in Christ’s performance. We are called to be mercy, compassion, and most of all, love. This is what it means to be a player and participant in God’s drama.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Room at the inn

Have you ever wondered about the foundation of your beliefs? Have you ever thought about the craziness faith?

Take a moment and think about Christmas...Think about its foundation and what we are asked to believe...

Truth is, this thing called Christianity does not make sense to this world. And why would it? A baby born in a dirty cave because there was no room at the inn, is said to be the Savior of the world. This same baby grows into a man that we are called to follow and emulate even though He does crazy things like walk on water, fraternize with the outcasts, heals the lame and cares for the prostitutes.

This dude that we hail as king was beaten to death - I mean he represents everything that is sooo not American hero - right? No bone crushing did He do - He let them crush Him. No whooping a little a$$ - He allowed them to beat Him to His last breath.

And so at Christmas what is it we celebrate? 

Love... Christmas (like Easter) is the celebration of love... Love incarnate. Yes Christmas is the celebration of the greatest gift given... God Himself...

Immanuel - God with us. At Christmas, God with us is said to us by God Himself, we come under a lordship . . . We come under His Lordship which is bathed in radical love.

In Jesus Christ we understand the Word of God as the epitome of God’s grace. It is a word of radicalness...

Why do Christians do what they do? Why do Christians act in ways deemed crazy and insane by the world?

Because they have been visited by the truth of Christmas... Their hearts have been overwhelmed by the eruption of God's radical love...

And what did they do with this love? They said yes. Radical Christian love happens when there is room at the inn of our hearts... Amen Jesus!

Merry Christmas...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Is there light?

In light of devastation - emotional, physical, spiritual, what is life? In light of pain, turmoil, trouble, what is life? In this life is there light?

Devastation all around seems to dampen the delight of divine beauty.

How it is that we can move into the holidays with hearts filled with good tidings and cheer? Where is our hope?

The complexity of the answer as to where is our hope, is found in the simplicity of what was done some 2000 years ago for the whole of humanity. Birth...death…hope.

Yes, a baby was born so that as a man He might hang on a tree.

One birth. One death. One tree. Three nails. Eternal hope.

Hope is wrapped in the truth of Immanuel - God with us. The only way to engage the happenings of today while seeking to celebrate the truth of life is found in the One who is life.

Jesus came to reign down hope. He came to shower us in joy. And with His entrance on the world stage He gave us the way to respond to the darkness that suffocates life.

Yes, Jesus came to suffocate us in His all-consuming love...

It is in His breath-taking performance that we are given the oxygen needed to ignite this world with His crazy insane love. A love that gives us the power to step directly into the devastation by giving ourselves over to the truth of Christmas... I mean really giving ourselves over.

When we give into the Christmas truth we find the truth of Mas Christ is what suffocates my darkness with the light of His eternal flame. And in the burning truth of His eternal love we come to witness the glory of heaven as it erupted through the birth of a baby. A birth that fills our hearts and lungs with the air of truth behind (and within) Christmas.

Let us this day prayerfully embrace the Holy Spirit so that we might exhale the grime of life. Let us this day ask the Spirit to fill us with His strength so that we might inhale the unrelenting Christmas hope that erupts in the birth of divine love. Amen Jesus.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Eruption of Thanksgiving...

To give thanks insinuates something to be thankful for; it points to something beyond ourselves that has impacted our lives in such a way that our response is one of gratitude and praise.

Today many of us will find a multitude of “items” or “people” who fit this bill, and truth be told, many of us do have a plethora of things and/or people for which we are thankful.

But what if we stopped and took a moment... What if in the midst of all the food, football and fellowship we are missing the deeper, underlying foundation of thankfulness?

I wonder for those who bear the mark of Jesus - for those who call themselves followers of The Way, how many will illumine the cross on this day?

It is the cross where thanksgiving is found…it is where thanksgiving erupts.

As soon as we gaze upon the cross our hearts, our eyes are taken to the scene of the manager hidden away in the dusty, dirty, dark crevasse of a mountainside. Yes, thanksgiving is found from the cradle to the cross for it is here that we find the One who is the ultimate giving of thanks…Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave… Our giving of thanks is the direct result of being given Love. That is, we must always remember that hanging on the cross is the One born in the manger—not just any baby, but the One who was with God, the One who is God, the One who is with us...The One who is Love...
Might some time today we give pause to the majesty of the cross? Might we stop to thank the One who gave of Himself so that we might receive the truth of ourselves? Might we take a moment and enter the drama of salvation so as to become the faithful performance of love?

Let your celebrations be magnificent this day! Stand, dance, shout for joy! And in your moments of bliss don't forget the One who is thankful for you! Amen Jesus!

Friday, April 14, 2017

So Loved...

How do we really know that God loves us?

Have you asked Him?

This weekend we witness how much love has been poured out on our behalf...

This weekend the tragedy of Friday, the silence of Saturday and the awakening of Sunday should erupt in joyful jubilation as we remember just how much we are loved. Oh yes, we are so loved...

So why not right now stop…take a knee and ask…Ask the Spirit to speak to your heart. Ask Him to destroy, remove, crush any obstacles that are hindering you from hearing the voice of the Crucified King as He hangs there on that rugged tree. Ask the Spirit to touch the eyes of your heart…

“Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.’ And their eyes were opened” (Matt 9.29-30).

We will only see when we are blinded by grace. When we turn to the cross so as to embrace the silence, the surrender, the solitude, the strength, the beauty of this weekend. 

In our embrace of His heart, that was drained for us on that cross, we lose the dead weight of selfishness so as to gain the greatness of Savior. And when we are engulfed in the greatness of Savior we realize the greatness of ourselves.

We realize that to be in His image is to be extraordinary, it is to be the deed and truth of love. For when we recognize the staggering reality of this weekend, we realize the truth of how much we are so loved...

So go ahead, ask Jesus how much He loves you. Ask the Spirit to open your heart so you might truly see. And when you open the eyes of your heart, you will find the divine hand of love stretched out so that it might embrace your heart and softly whisper, 

“My child for this I have waited, for this I came. To receive you into my arms, broken, lifeless, dead to self so that I might cover you in My love, fill you with the Holy Spirit and raise you up into our divine heart so that now you might finally realize you are so loved.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Who am I

Today we are experiencing an identity crisis... On so many different levels... Yet the question that faces each of us might not be the most obvious one...

We want to believe the essential question of identity is the one asked by Mr. Vernon (Breakfast Club), when he required the fab 5 to write an essay addressing the question "Who am I?" And indeed, who we think we are is important, but not the most essential question...

Jesus, not Vernon, gives to us the essential question of identity when He asks, "Who do you say I am?"

And so how do you respond...

Truth is, who you say Jesus is answers who you think you are. For when you answer who Jesus is you answer the question of identity.

To say Jesus is insignificant or simply a nice guy or great teacher is to say that identity rests within the realm of the human. That is, that identity is based solely on what you do, and who you believe you are. It is an identity self-created, self-supported and independent of all outside forces; it is a worldly identity based on us and nothing supernatural. 

But to say Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of all things, The Christ is to acknowledge that identity is realized only through the supernatural. That is, to fully recognize Jesus' divine reality is to fully recognize the fullness of our human reality. For when speaking of identity in Christ we are not speaking of a loss of identity; quite the opposite. Identity in Christ is the awakening of identity. To be identified in Christ ultimately means to be conformed to Him. Yes, identity in Christ is conformity to Christ. 

To be identified by Christ is to be conformed to His way, truth and life, in and through the Holy Spirit. To be identified with Christ is to be wedded to His mission. That is, “yes” to Christ is "yes" to being stretched to our breakthrough... A breaking through to His transformative movement. Saying YES to Jesus is saying yes to being immersed in the revelation of His radical love. A love that ignites the heart so as to saturate it in the mystery of our home-coming—the final return home, into the heart of the One who is love…
So question is, have you found your identity by answering the question of "Who do you say I am?"

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Heaven's passion

No matter what may come your way, when we are in Christ through the Spirit, nothing in this world can separate us from His love. All we need is to find our place in prayer so as to realize our place in His heart.

God’s great desire for His people is that we feel secure in His love and in His power. Everything else in life may be unstable—our health, our family, our job, our education, our society, our world. At any given time and within any given moment you may feel as if you are out on a ledge forty stories up in an unpredictable wind. You feel yourself losing balance and falling, and every brick you grab pulls out of its mortar. When we walk according to "ourself" the ground beneath and the pillars all around us will only crumble.

Stability only comes from the One born in the stable.

Paradox of life is that being in Christ is the riskiest decision you can make…according to the world.

And yet saying "yes" to Jesus is the greatest decision you can take security in. Saying yes to Christ is saying yes to the crazy of life so as to find the stability of heaven's passion. As Paul writes, life in Christ is: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword—we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered (Romans 8:35–36).

Paul knew the craziness of a life of a disciple but he knew that the love of Christ was even crazier in its power, presence and passion.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us…for nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vs 37-39).
Paul’s life of faith was much like ours, one many questioned as to why do it? Why live such a life? Why give sacrificially when you are beaten, ostracized, criticized, while being opposed from every side?

But for Paul, as is for us today, the stability and power needed comes from the truth of being in Christ. For in Christ and through the Spirit we encounter the heart of God so as to find security in His love and strength in His power, even if everything else in the world is uncertain.

We have to be willing to fall to our knees and thank the One who became sin so as to seal us with His eternal love. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection far surpass all understanding and knowledge and yet they are so simple that a child can understand that Jesus loves them. This is why Christ’s incarnational performance is to be the foundation of who we are if we are to be the foundation of love this world so desperately needs.

Jesus wants to be our security. Question is, “How will you respond to the life Jesus is calling you into? Resting in His security or trying to secure your own rest?”

Father Almighty, in Christ and through the Spirit, we are covered in Your eternal security and presence so that we might be the covering of Your love for all the world to experience. Amen Jesus!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Love Beyond

When is there a time that we don't need love?

Holiday seasons only illuminate and exaggerate the truth of our need for love. And here is the absolute of love's truth: In Christ we encounter the fullness of love. Yes, in Jesus we meet the "realness" of love because when we encounter Jesus we encounter love.

It is a love that is beyond... It is a love that is here... Now

A love that is crazy, insane, inviting, intoxicating, scandalous, scrumptious, fiery, fierce, radical, relentless, real... 

It is a love that has come to saturate our hearts, our souls, our minds and our bodies so that we might fall deep... oh so deep, into the heart of God. 

But please be mindful of one thing... It is a love that will mess you up... It will rock your world... 

Problem for so many of us is that we are afraid of love. We are afraid of entertaining the idea that we are lovable.

And so we close ourselves off. To each other. To ourselves. To Jesus.

What is holding you back from opening up? The greatest gift you could give yourself this Christmas season is the gift of love. 

He is here. He is waiting. He is love...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

To Become...

Sometimes don't you want to call a timeout on faith so that you might live according to the flesh just this one moment?

Yes, to be honest, I do... But then again when Paul talks about being the greatest of all sinners, he looks over at me because he knows a wrestling match is about to begin regarding this very title.

Daily I struggle with living out the truth, the way and the life of Jesus. Why? Because Jesus was one crazy dude that mesmerized life with His all-consuming, all-combative, all-conquering, fiery love.

I mean how many of us would look at the one who just beat us so fiercely that we have but one breath still in us and with reckless abandonment of love ask that this person be forgiven of their actions?

How many of us would look our abuser in the eyes and tell them,

How many of us would look into the eyes of the one crushing our wrist bone as he pierces through our skin such that our flesh tears from the bone and with tears in our eyes softly whisper, "Friend, you know not what you do. You know not who you are. But I know... And I want you to know this, I love you."

This is Jesus... This is Love... This is who I want to become...

Who do you want to become?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Podium Participant


Such a wonderfully sexy word, concept, slogan...

So what is transformation? In the midst of the "olympic world" right now, transformation seems to be akin to one who was 4th in 2012 but worked hard so as to become "transformed" over the last 4 years into a "podium" participant.

But is this really what transformation is? Nothing more than behavior modification? Is the podium participant truly transformed? What happens after the podium? Truth is, the podium is not the epitome of transformation - at least not in the realm of faith...

When speaking from a Christo-centric perspective, transformation takes on eternal significance because it is rooted in the way, the truth, and the life of the One who came to transform our hearts, our souls, our whole humanity... He came to transform so we might go and act...

Truth is, Jesus was intentional in His act of transformation. That is, He came to us - to you and me - so as to invite us into His eternal act of love. And if and when we say yes, we find that in Christ transformation is real.

Participating in the will of God occurs when through the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes the pattern of our life, when He becomes our first love. As Paul writes:
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph 5.1-2).

A life that has this world as its first love seeks peace and hope in the comforts of the world. But a life in love with Jesus stands in stark contrast to a life lived in love with the world. For the truth of the Christian faith is that peace and hope are only found in the One who is peace, the One who is hope.

When He is our hope we can step into everyday and see it as an opportunity to be intentional in how we love the other. That every moment is an opening to be love.

And how do we become love so as to be love? We follow in the way of the Master Builder who told us, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

We become love by building up the other through our intentional acts of love. Moments that will open up into amazing encounters that allow us to invest in the heart of our community by investing in the hearts of the other.

Truth is, this world is in need of more people who seek to elevate the other rather than tearing them down. Daily each one of us should strive to be a servant who seeks the betterment of society. Daily each one of us can make a difference through our intentional acts of service. For when we seek to serve the other, we live out the truth of being love. And in our intentional acts of love, grace, compassion, mercy, and justice erupt and overflow so as to begin transforming the landscape of this great nation of ours.

Let us this day be love by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, welcoming the stranger, and freeing the enslaved. Let us this day step off the podium and become transformation by lavishing our love on the other...

Transformation begins with the heart…it begins with you…

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fall into His heart

Read James 1.2-25
Ever have those times when you feel like doing nothing but crying? Times when you hardly want to get out of bed and have no energy to do anything, let alone prayer or reading the Bible. You know those times when every door seems to close, every way seems to be darkened and everybody seems to have turned their back to you?

Times when even God seems distant and unloving and you actually wonder if He even sees you…

Strange truth of faith is that through our trials we find growth, because we find Him… 
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (vs. 2-4).
Joy? How so? Because such trials have a way of pressing us to go deeper with God. When we are brought to our knees we see fresh truths about God intersecting with our lives in the hardest of times. When we fall to our knees so as to cry out to His heart we realize what David did: “He sent from on high, He took me…He rescued me,” –and here is the best part—“because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18.6-19).

How many of us, when we cry out to Jesus, realize that He has entered into our suffering with us, broken down the barriers of sin and eradicated death so as to reach out and rescue us because He delights in us?

In our trials we are not expected to fall back on our own power, control or resources. No, Jesus wants us to embrace the Spirit so as to “rely not on (myself) but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1.9).

All Jesus wants is for us to fall into His heart so that He can take care of us.

There in our suffering and through our trials Jesus says to us, “I want you to have peace. I want you to be deeply joyful. I want you to believe in what I say and what I do — to have unshakable faith. I want you to have the kind of peace that I give, not the world. The kind of joy that I give, not the world. The kind of faith, I give, not the world. I want you to have the truth of love and the truth of faith—I want you to have Me.”

Do you want Jesus? Then go to Him, embrace Him and receive His love…Amen Jesus!

The Crux

Through Christ we come to realize that our restless heart understands itself only if it comes to understand true reality. Such reality th...