Jan 3, 2017

gran-torinoWho was the pastor in Gran Torino…the Priest or Clint Eastwood?  The church today has a manish creature (pastor) that no one calls Father!

Is going to church just another consumer experience for your spiritual resume?

If yes, then GET OUT! and go find the Living God.

Be terrified, take the dare, risk it all, shutter in horror, wander in a daze, sit stooped in silence, clamor about in a sea of inner noise, circumcise your unopened pierced ears, squint through eyes bleached by light, may the scales glossed over by your perceptions be shredded by a single grain of sand, may the canvass of creation tattoo your eye lids, may your lips cracked and bleeding by unbridled passion be burned by the kiss of holy desire, may your tongue get caught in the spokes of your heart, may your grace be forged by the wind burns of tears crisis-crossing your face, may your soul tremble out through your weather veined hands, may the sinews of your strength flatline under the weight of invisible matter, …

We’ll know you’ve found Him when you don’t return, but never go. You only get TWO lives so make it a good ONE.

Be grateful beyond repair, be kidnapped by wonder that can’t be ransomed, be ravaged by divine beauty, be rescued in a mysterious maze, become human again with a child’s gaze.

When I look for the divine I find a man. When I find a man I look for his I AM.

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Why is it that we believe Christianity is to be tolerant or fused with other world religious beliefs? Jesus, the Way went way out of his way to bring an end (read Hebrews) to his own religious system.

The religions of the world have oppressed people, impoverished countries and promoted cultures of enlightened darkness.

Don’t be lulled to sleep by syncretism. Jesus did not come to start a United Nations of Religion.

The Cross is not a town hall meeting of how we can all get along. It is the crucible where all men come to repent and die.

We preach Christ crucified not a world pacified.

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The next Reformation is not from within the Church, but a Reformation back out and away from the infiltration of our unity with the world and its religions.

Jesus is not the leader of the spiritual old guys club (religious leaders… Mohammed, Moon & Sun, Joe Smith, the Fridge, Jehovah & the Witnesses…) who meet in the morning at McD’s for a warm cup of coffee.

He’s the only Son of the Father…that should spill some hot coffee on the groin of the guy next to you!

He is not a pale Galilean, but a towering and furious figure who will not be managed. – Tom Howard

You cant drift on Jesus.  John’s vision is describing the preeminence of his being the lord god, god of gods, king of kings, lord of lords, man of men.  Creator of creation, savior of the world, all the fullness of the godhead dwells in him.  Be held by him, be arrested, don’t divert your attention for one moment.

jesus-iconDon’t let your faith flat-line, don’t let the church shortchange the Christ for a better life message, don’t let your denomination let you sink to the lowest common denominator about who Jesus is or what he wants to do in your life.

Jesus is not the MVP of all those enshrined in the religious hall of fame of the world.  He does not take his place as the most honored among, buddah, moses, mohammed, joseph smith, sun yung moon, the dali lama, confuscious.

Yes we can coexist on earth as people, but what cannot coexist is the gods of the world’s religions and the Christ.  You can have as many gods as you desire and you can call all of them or one of them by the same name, BUT the creed of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church declares, We believe in ONE Lord, Jesus Christ.

You have to keep your eyes and ears opened to see and hear, don’t dose off, don’t just get religion, don’t just hang out with disciples without a vibrant, bell ringing Jesus.

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Revelation 1 (video)

What he is revealing is not a future world, but a continuous present reality.  father-and-sonOne of the reasons why there are so many references to other scriptures in Revelations 404 verses is so we may see that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

“In these 518 references to earlier scripture there is not a single direct quotation.  That means that though John is immersed in scripture and submits himself to it, he does not merely repeat it – it is recreated in him.  He does not quote scripture in order to prove something; rather, he assimilates scripture so that he becomes someone.”  -Eugene Peterson

After the ascension, when Christians speak of Jesus they can no longer speak of just the Gospels, but must include his Revelation.  If the Revelation is always present, then it forever tells the future. If it is only future, then it is never present.

What Jesus as God veiled in flesh accomplished in his life, death, burial, and resurrection is actually on display in Revelation. Jesus in the Gospels is like walking thru a Gallery while the art is still shrouded in sheets…come back later to see the art unveiled…in Revelation

In the Gospel Jesus reveals the Father.  In Revelation the Father reveals Jesus.

The Gospel in Revelation is the mysterious disclosure of how all things play out in the story since Jesus became king of the nations.  Revelation is the full mystical disclosure of how the kingdom of God is at work in the heavens and earth since the Last Adam regained our seat as Emperor of the Earth.

The chair is occupied…in Revelation the word THRONE is used nearly 40 times…The God who became Man promised to be with us always…until the end of time.  Jesus isn’t going to come again…but he will reappear. He hasn’t gone from us, we just can’t see him. Heaven isn’t a distant place just a different dimension. His in and out appearances before the Ascension were prototypes of how we were to expect life to be once he sent the Holy Spirit.

Today we begin the Revelation of a global Icon.

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The Best of 2016 (March)

Can I trust that what comes to me is for me?

The heart is the inner face of your life. -Celtic Wisdom

SALVATION – if your concept of salvation is different than David’s idea in the Psalms then yours may not be as personal or practical to the affairs of everyday life as God intended.

Men do not quit playing because they grow old. They grow old because they quit playing.  -Oliver Wendell Holmes

ramsgateBefore Van Gogh was Van Gogh, he painted some pictures of streets in Ramsgate, a village in the UK.  What if he had stopped, saying, “This isn’t good enough, it’s a failure, I’m never going to amount to anything?”  Nobody, ever once, pops to the top. You walk there. Step by step, each a failure until it’s not.  If you’re not yet at Ramsgate, you’ve got some walking to do. And then, when you get to Ramsgate, more walking.

Throughout church history, pastors spent most of the week out in the community, not in a church building. Church isn’t going to a building set apart for Christians, church is going into the buildings that don’t belong to Christians.

prophetic-pioneerLeaders are the Entertainment Directors of a cruise ship.  Pastors are the Spiritual Directors of a life boat.

Observation: Nearly 95 percent of the men of God I follow on Twitter are either old or dead and none of them talk about the church in terms of success and leadership.

Our first ministry is to minister to the LORD.  God did not call you to anything other than himself. When you make your title, brand, group, church, gift, office, work, etc…”YOUR CALLING” then you have left the ministry.  He called you to himself. I challenge you for the remainder of Lent to “give up” using the word LEADERSHIP.  Maybe no other singular word is more responsible for fashioning the business model of American Christianity.

To the greatest pastor in my life!  My wife…You loved me to health, emotionally and

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My Wife – Diana

relationally. You gave me a consistent everyday example to gaze upon. You never failed to believe in me regardless of the situation. You were an unshakeable foundation of peaceful righteousness and a tower of an unimaginable beauty that chartered our future.  You preached with your life and were the most faithful in the face of fear from my ungodly anger and in the darkest caves of my personal brokenness. I owe the last 30 years of my life to your daily devotion of undying covenant love. To the pastor of my heart and our home…

Come to the Table and be accepted in your imperfection by the Human One who was rejected in his perfection.  Draw closer to the cross by picking up the burden that someone else is contending with.

The first eucharistic Table was laden with swords, arrogance, betrayal, jealousy, and denial…ours will not be much different.  Our Table for the Passion will be decorated by two blades. Contrasting the complication in our life by the complexity in his death.

Fasting Day 32 – Fasting isn’t designed to make you thin, but to make you into a thin place of his presence.  Day 33 – Snow is the confetti of God falling from the sapphire dome declaring that your sins are forgiven, and victory is yours, ours, his!!!!!  Day 34 – “When I can picture what you’ll look like when your dead is pretty bad. I can see the shape of your bones.” -my wife

Christ have mercy on my shaking soul.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is the Sacramental Center where most Post Modern America worships.

We live in a state of constant semi-attention…-Merton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best of 2016 (February)

This has been an undertaking in the past 5 years of the most brutal brokenness, haunted humbling and severe undoing of everything I was in ability and identity throughout my first 50 years.

I see faith in the irreverent, miracles in the ordinary, and beauty in the margins…We don’t beauty-marginshave a church building yet we conduct personal, pastoral, practical ministry in 10 locations around the city.  We don’t have a pulpit to preach from, but we have hearts to talk to.  We don’t have sacraments to offer so we present ourselves as living sacrifices.  We don’t meet only on Sunday’s we meet on any or every night of the week.  We don’t require the people to believe or behave, we only require ourselves to make them feel like they can belong and become.  We don’t require that they come to us, we make our way to them.  We are an apostolic missionary outpost of the kingdom of our Great God and Savior.

We are learning to speak Broken Gospel like a foreigner learns to speak Broken English. Why? Not so we fit into their world, but so that they can cross over into ours.

I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 MSG)

It is easier to die than be killed.  I see people whose life is killing them and I see people dying who are coming to life.

The church has trained many people in not growing up.

Things get ugly when talent exceeds maturity.  Our culture celebrates personality too much and character to little.

We do not need leaders to serve the church. We need servants to lead the church. Right now we are overrun with leaders. Time to prune the vine.

Get to a place where normal living doesn’t make sense. So ruined you can’t and won’t go back.

I have not yet encountered God in my fast. I’ve just been encountering myself.

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PASTOR’S ONLY conference…  Confess your sins to one another, Tissues will not be offered so wear a long sleeve shirt. Pray for one another. Bear each others burdens. Love one another. Speak the truth in love. Bibles are not allowed, only the Word that has become flesh is spoken. Pour in oil & wine in open wounds. Bandage up the brokenness. Real wine and a single chalice is offered for your forgiveness and tasteless broken bread is given for wholeness. You won’t leave with a notebook of cool ideas to grow the church. There will not be a front of an auditorium, only a circle of chairs. No refreshments will be provided except for the soul. There will be no worship band to make you feel better only the stringed instruments of the heart will generate song. We haven’t rented out Bronco stadium, because we really only expect a closet full to attend. See you at the Tree +

Decrease your certainty is an increase to his mystery.

Lent will always come it just may not coincide with the season. The season may be the preparedness for the time when it comes out of season.

A good source of guidance: if you were watching a movie of your life, what would the character playing you have to do to make you proud? -Ortberg

My sons were just home for Christmas; all three of them. They are young men now, out collegemaking their way in the world. And as is fitting to their stage in life, they are living on limited means. But when they come home, they get to feast. The refrigerator and pantry is theirs to pillage and they don’t have to ask permission. When we go out to dinner, there is no question that dad will take care of the bill. For they are sons—they get to live under their father’s blessing; they get to drink from the abundance of my house (Ps. 36:8). And when the holidays were over and they packed up and left, they took with them my best shoes, my best sunglasses, some of my favorite books, climbing gear, and cigars—with my absolute pleasure and blessing. Luke was the last to go; he was hoping to pillage some of my travel gear for an upcoming trip. I said, “You are my son—everything I have is yours. Plunder as you will.”  This is how sons get to live; this is how a father feels toward his sons. -Eldredge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best of 2016 (January)

The broken people of this life have been teaching me how to speak Broken Gospel the potterysame way others learn to speak in Broken English.  When talking to someone in a language that’s not easy for them, you discover that idioms and other forms of communication disappear. You need to be extremely direct and specific in order to make yourself understood.  The thing is, just about everyone speaks some form of broken Gospel. It’s “broken” because it doesn’t match our version. Their language and our language isn’t the same one.  Our ability to communicate with one another isn’t nearly as sophisticated or error free as we think it is.  You will be misunderstood. If it’s critical that we understand you, say it more clearly. Say it twice. Better yet, act it out, live it, make it an action, not merely a concept.

The beggar stretches out his hand not to ask, but to give you the kingdom of heaven, and you do not notice.  -Elder Arsenie Papacioc

Desiring a double portion?  I find that when I use the first portion it gives way to revealing the second portion.

irish-abbeyMy body is becoming the stone ruins of an old Irish Abbey. As intriguing as the ruins may be, when you visit me, I hope it is the Ghost stories that inhabited my spirit that outlive me.

I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received. – 1998, 2003, 2011,

See the world with the innocence of children, approach the world with the daring of children, love the world with the readiness of children.

It is not the GREATNESS of our troubles as much as the LITTLENESS of our spirit, which makes us complain. -Hudson Taylor

Jesus cleansed a leper and then required him to bring a gift. I am all out of excuses.

When you come from strong addictive behaviors you can’t afford to go to a weak church.

Most of the unhappiness in your life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. -Lloyd-Jones

You may preach to more people than me, but we both pastor the same…one person at a time.

Those who marry the spirit of the age will find themselves widows in the next. -GK child-criedChesterton

The world has never known a day when a child has not cried. I wonder if that’s the proof that we died inside. (Eden’s Fall)

When you go into a “new land” where you’ve never been- rising to your destiny, being ALL you can be…don’t expect a welcome mat…It’s war!

If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher it would be something like this: Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

We live under a coup of business models that want to buy a presentation of God without proper representation of being with God. We are guilty of wanting to buy the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Secularized minds are terrorized by mystery.

You can’t time lapse your transformation.

Rescuing the human heart is the hardest mission in the world.

Make sure your fame isn’t bigger than your anointing & your platform isn’t bigger than your character! -SS

 

 

 

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Meek Strong

The beatitudes of Jesus from the Stone Table in Aurora, Colorado

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Pure or Perfect in Heart

from the oracles on the Beatitudes of Jesus at the Stone Table in Aurora Colorado.

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