Forgive me, Jesus, for thinking

my life is UP TO ME — that You are not in charge.  I’m so heavily influenced by my flesh, and the flesh of others in this world, who are convinced human lives are up to humans.  But when I read Your Scripture afresh I get sane afresh, because Your Scripture clearly teaches that You are in charge of Dave’s life, Dave’s problems to be solved, not Dave.  Ahhh.  I love it when You grant me curiosity/expectancy to see what You do NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, a struggler in practicing what he preaches

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If you have an easy life,

you don’t really need to be reminded over and over about the sovereign reign of Jesus over every life and every thing.  But.  If your life is harrrd?  You need much-stronger medicine than a healthy devotional life, especially if you are unusually self-aware — in touch with your feelings.  If you don’t focus on Scripture that clearly teaches the sovereignty and providence of God, and/or listen to sermons on these subjects from say, sermonaudio.com, I don’t see how you’ll survive with any measure of peace and joy.  You’ll face the harrrd circumstances feeling ALONE, and in CHARGE of your life, terrorized by your circumstances, instead of enjoying Jesus, curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in you, others, circumstances.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, voice of experience speaking, and still needing over-and-over reminding

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Financial Update on GospelFriendships.

As of our Annual Board Meeting Nov17, we’re $13,000 short of covering expenses, and I’m guessing we could end up having a year-end deficit of $5-10,000, but I’m always unsure because of year-end giving.  Over the past dozen years I’ve lost some monthly supporters.  I’m a coward when it comes to individually asking believers to consider supporting this work, as I did in the early years of the ministry, so instead, I’ve sometimes taken pay cuts to balance the budget.  Janet and I are not destitute by any means, and we have never been as happy.  But I will warmly welcome any who would like to join this cause as a monthly/annual supporter, or send a year-end gift.  GospelFriendships, 110 Johns Rd, Cheltenham PA 19012-1307.  For monthly supporters we also provide electronic funds transfer so you don’t have to send a check each month.

Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships
dumbsheepdave.com

If you don’t want your kids to be prodigals,

ask Jesus to grow you as the chief confessor in the home, not the chief accuser, or the chief expert on all things Christian.  If you unwittingly give them the impression that you’ve got this Christian life down pat, you run the risk of them concluding they don’t have the spiritual genes you do, and following Jesus is just not for them, especially in adolescence and beyond.

What does it look like for a parent to be the chief confessor?  HUMBLE — not defensive, good listener, doesn’t need to be right, admits his/her failures in following Jesus and parenting.  Not humble ACTing, that is, humble on the outside. Humble on the INside. Unconditional love is the biggest need of your kid.  And when you fail?  CONFESS.  To your Savior and to your kid.

You as the parent are the weakest link to your kids’ spiritual growth — the one MOST needy of further overhaul/transformation by Jesus, no matter how much you’ve been overhauled to date.  It only seems to YOU that your kids are the ones most needy of overhaul by Jesus.  Keep your focus on YOUR failures, more than on your kids’ failures.  A chief confessor does not try to manage external behavior of their kids, but attempts to reach the conscience.  More sell, less tell.  Pulling rank is a means of last resort, and even then, best done with a gentle, humble love.  The conscience is reached by unconditional love and other-worldly humility.  Humanly impossible.  Only Jesus can make this happen in your life.  It’s painful being overhauled by Jesus, but good painful, healing painful.  Proud parents produce prodigal kids.  Not necessarily proud on the outside, but proud on the INside.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, voice of experience speaking in what NOT to do, as every one of his six kids were prodigals in adolescence, and he learned this stuff after all his kids were grown, and he still doesn’t practice what he preaches about humble love to all humans

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Everything seems sovereign over my

life except You, Jesus.  News, politics, my health, stock market, bond market, talking heads predicting the future.  When my eyes are fixed on these other sovereignties, I feel ALONE, like my life is UP TO ME to know how to navigate through everything.  And because You’ve grown me so-much-more self-aware these days, I’m easily overwhelmed, especially when I feel lousy.  But when Your Spirit freshly convicts me of my INdependence, I’m freshly undone, contrite, happily clueless-I-know-what’s-best-but-trusting-You-do, curious and expectant to see what You do NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.  Ahhh.  The future is not up to me, but up to You.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, always needing fresh conviction of the sin of INdependence, so he might have something seculars actually want

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The more Jesus grows us in self-awareness,

the more we see our flesh’s pervasive influence on every area of our lives, and the root of it all — the confidence-it-knows-what’s-best.  Until we are unusually self-aware it seems normal to us, to feel like our lives are UP TO US, like we are SUPPOSED to make good decisions, and we have the wherewithal to do that, in the power of us.  We simply will not grasp this pervasive problem of INdependence in our lives, leaning on our own understanding, being wise in our own eyes, that feeds the massive control addiction each of us have.  Impossible to try and control my world, unless I am confident-I-know-what’s-best, so I don’t ASK Jesus, and I  know what’s thankable and what’s not, and I am NOT curious and expectant to see what He does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.  Alone.  Pressure.  Stress.  Without a contagious peace that is compelling to the seculars around me.

— ControlFreakDave, undergoing overhaul by Jesus, enabling him to take baby steps in a healthier direction, but still a toddler

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The Thanksgiving holiday is very-dangerous

for followers of Jesus, seems to me, because thanking Him for the easily-thankable, obviously-thankable, reinforces control addiction, and surprisingly leads us into an INdependency that encourages God-bless-my-agenda kinda praying by believers, confident-we-know-what’s-best, confident we know how to direct the CreatorSustainer of the Universe.

Thanking Jesus for the harrrd is commanded in Scripture.  Thanking Him for the easy, is also commanded, but way-more dangerous.  When I ONLY thank Him for the obviously-thankable — when things go my way, when my flesh APPROVES of the outcome, CHEERS the outcome, I’m being lured into a destructive INdependency/control-addiction — an attempt to control my circumstances based on my confidence-I-know-what’s-best.  INdependency, not Jesus-dependency.

Impossible to have an agenda unless I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best.  Pride, not humility.  The unhappiest Christians are confident-they-know-what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not, and they ONLY thank Him for the easily-thankable — things going their way.  It’s sooo tempting to thank Jesus when things go your way.  Beware.  It’s a subtle trap.  Instead, in all circumstances, it helps me to thank Him for His genius plan.

I’m not at-all opposed to the Thanksgiving holiday, just pointing out what sees to me its danger.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, that believers might be compelling to the seculars around us

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Worst aspect of the human condition,

is the confidence we all have, that we know best, what’ll make us happy.  We know NOTHing about what will make us happy, but we THINK we do, leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes.  Fools we are.  Only SovereignShepherdJesus knows what’s best for me.

Looking back over my life, I see the countless times I thought I knew what I needed, or what should happen, and so many times I was WRONG.  INdependency has NEVER served me well over the long haul, and any short-term success I’ve experienced has merely strengthened my control addiction, making me yet-more convinced I know what’s best.

But DEpendency on Jesus, now this is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.  Ahhh.  ASKing Jesus and THANKing Jesus about everything, especially the harrrd, acknowledging that He knows best and I do not.

So how do I get more Jesus-dependency?  CONFESS my unbelief in His sovereign reign when I notice myself feeling pressure, hurried, stressed, ALONE, like my life is UP TO ME.  Ahhh.  The amazing peace doesn’t last long, because of the control-addicted world around me, outside the Church, and INside too, but it is sweeeet while it lasts.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, trying to promote Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness to Christians, especially DAVE, hoping Jesus transforms Christians so much that surrounding seculars actually want something Christians have — other-worldly peace and other-worldly love

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