Wednesday, October 26, 2016
One should not believe that because I have not said anything about which candidate I support for the Presidency that I do not care which one is elected. I care. Okay?
Sadly and tragically, it has been my experience that talking very much about current issues, specific candidates and the like quickly draws people into the shallow end of relationship, and it then becomes difficult, if not impossible, to talk deeply and of the heart.
We lose each other and become “pancake people.” We become shallow, have heat only for a moment, and lack any real value.
We abandon our inner selves in favor of an attractive and nicely positioned look or prosecuted argument, which then becomes our exterior identity. Although the apostle Paul warned us against viewing people from a worldly and surface view because it isn’t true, it isn’t enough and it will hurt us if that’s all we get (2 Corinthians 5:16-21), we take hold of it anyway while our depths remain remote and malnourished. We’re starving ourselves.
Some of us have become quite accomplished as pancake makers, flattening people into shallow, issue-oriented identities like Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, heterosexual and homosexual, global warming alarmist, global warming skeptic, and on and on it goes. If I accept you as any one of those things, you’re a pancake to me.
There are those who have already made me into a pancake by placing me into a category (Republican, wacko-Christian, white male, or whatever), and that has become for them more real and more important than my true, below the surface identity:
I am a son of God, who has been loved, hurt, rejected, rescued, betrayed, accepted, disappointed, hurt again, healed and loved again—both battered and buoyed over and over again. I’ve lived a lot. I have quite a story. And those people can’t know me or hear me anymore because they think of me with a worldly ID emblazoned upon my forehead: “Republican.” “Wacko Christian.” Whatever. Frankly, we’ve lost each other, even if we see each other every day. We’re pancake people, like it or not.
I don’t like it. Actually, I hate it. I despise it.
I post this in the hope that a few people will be awakened by a good kind of pain found in discovering that they, too, do not like pancake relationships—even if they’ve been the pancake makers, they recognize that they’re starving. Perhaps they will wonder why people do not talk heart to heart with them—maybe with you. Why they don’t share their inner fears. Why they’d never confess failure or admit weakness because they’ve never ventured into anything deeper than shallow-end stuff. Pancakes are the daily special, and the only thing on the menu. Is that clear enough?
I like playing around in the shallows of humor and cartoons, and post pictures of seasonal beauty and stuff like that, which you’ll sometimes see on my Facebook wall and blog. Some of you post pictures of your lunch, and I’m actually interested…a little…well, sometimes.
But I would much rather get out of the shallows with you so we can actually get somewhere that counts, somewhere that’s deeply true and real. Life is found there, and I want to share.
And if you and I can’t share because we’re too far apart or something, I hope you hunger enough to start telling Jesus how badly you want to be real with Him and with people. He will be with you in that! Oh, there’s fear and some pain involved—yes—but there’s real food for real life that you’re supposed to have and give away, because none of us can live on pancakes.
(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Pancake People,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, scroll down this blog page, or click https://youtu.be/DDW1mXoFMpk. And PLEASE SHARE.)
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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(If you would like to invite me to speak with your group or church, whether in person or via Skype or Facetime, send me a message, or go to http://lifecourse.org/Schedule_Event.html.)
Thursday, October 20, 2016
However, whatever is heatless, whatever is lukewarm, be it water or human, cannot heat itself. It requires something else for heat.
Works do not provide the heat for the non-Christian of what is lacking; belief in the gospel provides what is missing. Works do not provide the heat for the Christian of what is lacking; belief in the gospel provides what is missing.
Yes, it’s the same for both. Faith without works is certainly dead, but works without faith are just as dead.
A focus upon works requires the skilled judgment of motivation, effectiveness, frequency and number. Some church gatherings have postured heat through a works focus, and everybody examines everybody. What fun. Judgments galore. But even if the pastor or speaker tells the listener to examine his own works—not the works of anyone else—the works focused person will have put himself into the position of Pharisee to himself. Nobody does well from there. Who among us could accurately estimate works sufficient to pass a works or heat test with God? (Shudder.) The only test, and the only thing upon which we rest is whether or not we are “in the faith” (see 2 Corinthians 13:5-6). In other words, do you believe? That’s it.
If and when the “fire” or the motivation of passion for a Christian should grow cold, works are not the wood that will heat the hearth of the heart. Works are the result of the Holy Spirit fanning to flame the heart that takes in the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the worst thing we can do to a presumably passionless or “heatless” believer is to tell him to have heat. The best he can do is to try for the appearance of heat, which does nothing for the heart. What he needs, what we need, is the great gospel—over and over again. The gospel is that because of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, we have no worries with God; we may approach Him as a friend, with confidence and without fear, and have been given all things already in Christ for free. That is the wood for a genuine, heart-held fire made by the Spirit.
If you or someone you know, Christian or not, appears to lack heat, add the kindling that is the gospel of the grace of God in Jesus—take time with it and with them—and the Spirit will take care of the heat and the works. That’s what He does, and He’s pretty good at that. Right?
(This is a transcript from yesterday’s video, “The Problem with Passionless Christians,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click https://youtu.be/fAy42Z2qlrM.)
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Thursday, October 06, 2016
Saturday, October 01, 2016
2Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
During how much of each day do we try in our mind to get somewhere or to become something when, IN Christ, we have already arrived? And He is always doing something in and through us. Always. Thinking about that might do you some good.
2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?