December 29, 2007

My Father Died Today

Today about 11:00 AM CST my father had a massive heart attack and died. My mother and he were talking about what to have for lunch. He went into the laundry room to put some clothes in, and my mother heard him fall hard. His head made a hole in the drywall. He was dead before he hit the floor.

Please pray for my mother, she was married to my father for 46 years. He was her life, and I do not know how she will deal with this. She dealt well with his stroke 8 years ago. But this is different, this is loss, this is saying good bye, forever. Pray that my mother can have a clear enough mind to determine what she would like to do from here on.

Also pray for my whole family. They were together for Christmas as always. This time, I could not make it. I had to work. I did not get to see him, or say good bye to him. That will always be a huge regret for me. Not fighting harder to go and see him. At least my last words to him are always, "I love you."

December 20, 2007

4 Things/#3 I Am Good Enough

This one will not be long. But many people believe that God wants them to be something other than what they are. They are told that they have evil natures, that they must conform into the image of Jesus, that we are unworthy of grace, that when we sin, we are so ugly to God that he can not look at us, etc...etc...etc..

If God wanted you to be something other than what you are, he would have made you what he wanted. Oh, wait, He already did.

God does not screw up. God did not make a defective you. God made you as you are supposed to be. So, quit listening to people who tell you, that you are not good enough just the way you are. God wants you to be just who you are. He made you with certain talents. If you try to be someone else, then you won't be what he wants you to be. So, wear what you want to wear. Talk like you like to talk. Eat what you like to eat. Hang out where you like to hang out. Just be you. That is all God wants.

December 17, 2007

4 Things/#2 Doctrine vs The Path

One of the other HUGE things that has come to me, is the difference between believing in a doctrine, and following the path God has chosen for me.

First the realization of the deadness of doctrine. Doctrine, is a destination, not a journey. Doctrines are a clearly defined set of beliefs based upon specifically chosen scriptures from the bible. The only real thing that I have learned about doctrines and the bible, is that by carefully choosing the passages for proof, almost any position on faith can be proven through scripture when interpreted through a specific filter. Meaning, in essence, I can basically prove almost anything biblically. Once realizing this, it made doctrines of any kind highly suspect. Then upon more research of the ordained leaders of our churchs, came to find out that a great number of them, about 98%, don't regularly study the bible. WHAT? You say. Oh yes, in seminary, they are taught all about their doctrine, what verses support it. How to use those verses to alleviate the fears of any who come with questions about doctrinal beliefs. Being so well armed, is a great disadvantage to them. Great for institutionalized church, but really bad the for pastor, father, priest, etc.. Since they have all of the answers to their questions, why look into the scriptures anymore? Anytime they do read the scriptures, they look at it through their doctrine filtered eyes and see confirmation of what they believe every time they do. So what really is the use of study, when all has already been revealed. Plus, doctrines don't change. The strictures of the faith were laid down hundreds of years ago, they have not changed, nor will they change. I liken it to a tree. The only time a tree does not change of it's own will, is when it is dead. I like to compare any organization to trees. Because if they are not growing, they are dead and rotting. Just like a doctrine. Like the rings of the dead tree, the rules of the doctrine are clearly defined. To go outside of those rules, is not allowed. So you must stay in one place, confined, unable to grow, or to move along the path that is already, oh so narrow.

Unlike doctrine, the path is something that stretches on to our deaths. It is something that we travel at God's direction, not our own. There are no limits on God, so there are no limits on our path. God will not lead us astray, he will not lead us into something that would be unpleasing to him. He will lead us where he needs us to be. Just like he led Jesus. Jesus was always criticized for the friends that he had and hung out with. If I were in a doctrinal organization, my deep friendships with homosexuals, drug users, adulterers, and the likes, would earn me scorn as well. I count that as blessing. To be so compared to the Christ. But being outside of those chains of the doctrinal rules, with an infinite horizon, with only God as my leader, is so incredibly freeing, that it can not be described in words. Only someone released from slavery or prison can truly begin to comprehend the feeling. The path is far harder than the decision to be doctrinal. God will put you through trials at each step of the path, and will not let you move on until you learn the lesson that he has to teach. That sucks, but, it is infinitely better than the chains of the other.

December 15, 2007

4 Things/#1 Human Clay

I have been tagged for a meme on "Four Things Learned In No Man's Land." This meme struck me very hard. For all of the things that I have been through, what are the top four things that I would like to say that I have learned, and helped to define my faith. Well, the list of important things is rather longer than four, but I will keep it to four in honor of the spirit of the meme. Each one is so important to me, that I can't just give a snippet and move on, so I will do a post on each one. Starting with the one that was hardest for me, so made the greatest impact and so on.
So without further adieu. Human Clay.

How do I become the person God wants me to be? How do I live in a way pleasing to him?

These are the two questions that have split more churchs and caused more problems to believers than anything else in all of spirituality. There are many and varied responses from those that believe in our God. If you ask the Muslims, they will give you one answer of how we should live to be pleasing to the same God we believe in. The Jews will give you another, and the christians another. All the same God, belief in how to be pleasing to God is the big difference. This is the biggest stumbling block to being who God wants us to be. We WANT SO BADLY TO PLEASE HIM, that we try to DO things that please him. It is this DOING, that keeps us from becoming what he wants us to be.

We try to change ourselves into what we think he would like. We stop smoking, drinking, cussing, laughing at certain jokes, and try to behave in ways that we think he wants us to behave. So we build a prison of rules, that when we break those rules, we feel horribly guilty. Like failures, unworthy, and to feel better, we indulge ourselves in behaviors that are questionable to those rules further proving our inadequacies. It does not fill us with contentment and peace or happiness.

What is the answer, quit trying. We are not supposed to make ourselves into anything, God is supposed to do that. That is why he is the potter and we are to be the clay. The thing about clay, is it just lays there doing nothing until the potter comes to make it into something. What happens to often is when we get an idea of what God would like us to do, we go as hard and fast in that direction as we can. To make God happy of course. But clay isn't supposed to move on it's own. That would make it very hard for the potter to do things with it. So quitting trying is the big revelation. Become clay, quit trying to become, and allow yourself to be made. Let God do the work. Works of men are flawed. The only person that can make you into the vessel he wants, can utilize the talents given, and put you on the path you are supposed to follow, is God. If we try to do it we WILL fail. So give up all control or your life to God, and follow where the Holy Spirit leads.

December 9, 2007

The God Box

The God Box is a box of our own making. We go to church, and read the bible, and then we get selective eyesight and hearing. We hear what we like about God, and create this box. It is the definition of what we want God to be. So we start out our new lives of faith, with this strong identity of God. Who he is, and what his motivations are. Well, astoundingly, they almost ALWAYS match exactly with what each person's view of the world is. So, with this new faith, and new God, they start off on a new life.

They start off by living how they think that they should. Part of that is almost always going to church and listening to that denominations version of God. If it does not match their own image close enough, they try different churchs until it matches close enough. Thus, solidifying their belief of God seen in a certain way. The problem comes, when they do too much of the right thing. For if they study and truly try to understand and comprehend the scriptures, the God they find there does not match that box they made early on.

Then I hear a statement like this, "I don't know if I can believe in a God like that?" Or, "why do bad things happen to me when I try to follow God the best that I can?" Or, "my God would never do that." This is what happens when the God of the Muslims, the Jews, and the Christians doesn't fit into the box that we created, and fell in love with long ago. It is then that we begin to doubt.

Since the God we find does not fit in to our box, we wonder what our faith is really based on. Do I really want to know an unchanging God that said adultery should be punished by stoning? What is God really like? Is he really triune? Are they all separate? How can it be the same God from the New Testament to the old? All these thoughts, doubts, and lots of other things creep in. Testing faith. Causing crisis of faith.

To me it comes down to one simple thing. Am I willing to do for God, what he did for me?

That is to love and accept God, just the way he is. Just as he loves and accepts us, just the way we are.

What do you think?

December 6, 2007

Satan As Master

A very strange thought just occured to me. I haven't mentioned, Satan, the devil, lucifer, etc... on my own for a long time now. I don't even think about him. At all.

Just because of some of the reading I have done today about one person who would not touch, listen to, watch or be around anything secular becuase it was a way for Satan to enter your life. Another that mentioned that a particular thing allowed the Devil to gain a victory. Etc. etc. etc.

Then it hit me, some have made Satan their masters much more than God.

What you say? Yes, our actions in this regard are more often geared towards avoiding satan than they are of living for God. If we are doing something, or not soing something for fear of satan, then satan is dictating our actions, and he is then our master.

What say you?

December 5, 2007

You Gotta Read This

I am not a big book pusher. You know the guy, he walks up, opens his coat and says, "I got what you need right here."

This time it is different. I have found a couple of guys who have written about this Emerging thing, and what it is. The book is called So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore. They do a great job of explaining it, plus it is an easy read. Only 178 pages, with large print and large spacing. You can either buy it at Amazon if you like actual books, or you can download it for free here.