Archive for January, 2015

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“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1,2)

A dancer spends many long hours learning the fundamentals of dance, including the basic moves and combinations of steps.  The goal is to have these fundamentals so ingrained in their minds and bodies that they begin to be intuitive — so that when they hear music, it is no longer dance steps they are thinking of, but the music and how it moves them — moving beyond craft and into the realm of art.  And I believe that is what God wants for us as well.

But it seems to me that there are two different and opposite problems highlighted by the above verse: (1) Many in the Church are continually going over and over the fundamentals, and never go any further. (2) And others try to move into the more intuitive realm without really understanding the fundamentals — and their improvisations can take them into dangerous places, theologically, making sometimes harmful assumptions that are not of God.

The Truth in this matter is not either/or — it must be both. We must truly learn the fundamentals — and we then must have the faith and courage to go further.

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It has been said that love is a CHOICE we make. And in many ways, so is HOLINESS. Yeah, Jesus did the heavy lifting (on the Cross) — and the Holy Ghost lives in us and empowers us — but He did not make us ROBOTS who always do the right thing, no matter what. We are continually being given the GRACE we need to walk in holiness — but we must CHOOSE to walk in that grace at every crossroads — and each choice has its own unique set of CONSEQUENCES, good or bad.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

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“Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” (Proverbs 4:7-9)

TRUTH often seems non-intuitive to the natural mind. There was a time when the world of atoms and molecules seemed like a fairytale to minds and eyes that could not see (and therefore disbelieved) them. In a similar way, God and the realm of the Spirit can seem like mere religious myths to a materialistic, naturalistic, unredeemed mindset that cannot perceive and/or receive revelation.

That is why we need to often unplug from electronica and pop culture and have our minds renewed. That is why we need to intently and regularly study the Scriptures. That is why we must cry out for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Because we have been called to abide and navigate in a Kingdom and Realm whose physics is very different than that of this natural world. And our success in that Kingdom and that Realm depends on this transformation of mind, if we are to know the will of God and accomplish it.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

 

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“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

(1 Corinthians 6:19)

I believe the practical outworking of this is to simply learn how to hear the voice of God, and then to regularly listen for Him and do whatever He says.

That means we don’t have to be brilliant or exceedingly clever — just ATTENTIVELY AVAILABLE.  This, IMO, is a big part of the “crucified life” — to regularly, throughout our day, pay the emotional price of unplugging from our inner monologues and to-do lists and distractions and connect with Holy Spirit and seriously listen for whatever ways He might want to tweak or overhaul our plans/goals for that moment or that day — and enter into what I call “the adventure of Holy Ghost improv.” 

He might tell you to pray for that person next to you in the check-out line.  Or to share the Good News of Jesus with the guy in the next cubicle.  Or forgive your brother.  Or…

 

Here’s a short video I made
that I pray will encourage you
to find true hope in the new year.