I deserve BETTER.

I’m not a contented follower of Jesus.  I feel ENTITLED to better than what I have, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally, vocationally, and for SURE, automotively.  I’m like Oliver Twist in the orphanage — I want MORE.  Jesus is not ENOUGH for me.  I want MORE.  I want BETTER.  I DESERVE better.  I feel ENTITLED to better.  Or so my flesh is convinced.  I’m not a humble man.  I’m not an enjoyer of others just as they are.  I’m their critic, judge, looking for ways to feel superior to them.  I LOVE people watching, because I discover fresh, new ways to feel SUPERIOR to other humans.  Ummm.  My flesh DELIGHTS in feeling superior.

Utterly impossible to feel superior unless I’m confident-I-know-what’s-best, INdependent not dependent on Jesus.  Wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, a great example of a bad example of a Jesus follower, ever needing fresh conviction of the sin of INdependence, and also needing reminders that grace is for BIG sinners like Dave

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Failure is the best-case scenario.

WHAT?  Seems to me.  And big failure is better than small failure.  Whyzat?  Because until you are freshly stripped of your own worthiness, you will not freshly treasure Jesus and His imputed worthiness.  Worthiness-idolatry stands in the way of treasuring Jesus and His imputed worthiness.

So, Dave.  Are you saying I should TRY and fail?  No need for that.  Just pay closer attention to your thoughts, feelings and reactions, especially when you’re all alone, like driving or walking somewhere by yourself, and if you have a wide, deep foundation of grace teaching, and the Spirit is opening your eyes to know better your real flesh, I predict you’ll see your failure in every direction, over and over and over.  You will become overWHELMED with your failure.  But.  You will be highly motivated to run to Jesus for your worthiness, and leave your own pathetic worthiness behind.  So WHAT if I’m a big failure?  My success/failure is meaningless, says Ecclesiastes.

And being hyper-conscientious — obsessive about failure-avoidance, is the trap of the devil, to get you so self-absorbed that you are a poor enjoyer of others — seed sown on thorny soil, unable to reproduce thirty, or a hundred fold, or even double.  Fruitless.  No contagious Jesus within.

We don’t learn to be obsessively-failure-avoidant from the Bible, but from the world around us, outside the Church, and sadly, inside too.  We Christians have bought into the worldly value of one’s personal performance determining our worth, contrary to Scripture which says personal performance is like filthy rags, and only the imputed performance of Jesus means ANYthing.  Jesus warned against the leaven of the Pharisees — imagining we are following God, but actually following OURSELVES, awhoring after performance/worthiness of our own, and living in denial of our failure to obey, to find contentment in Jesus and His imputed performance/worthiness, in denial of our dissatisfaction with Jesus and His imputed worthiness.

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

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My life is UP TO DAVE,

when my reality is informed by my eyes and ears.  But when my reality is informed by Scripture, my life is up to my SovereignShepherdJesus.  I’m not MY problem, but His problem.  It’s not MY reign, but His reign.  Ahhh.  So thankful for His growing me more-and-more aware of my INdependency, because Jesus-dependency is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, slowly becoming distrustful of his eyes and ears, and slowly becoming more peaceful, because of the convicting work of the Spirit

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I don’t need a different car —

I need a different DAVE.  My flesh imagines I would be happier with a different car.  But I already HAVE a great car, and it hasn’t made me content.  I need a different DAVE.  A Dave who is CONTENT with the car he HAS, with the body he has, with the maturity he has, with the health he has, with the savings he has, with the LIFE he has.  How can I get a different Dave?  Impossible for me to make happen.  I’ve TRIED.  But one thing I CAN do, is to THANK Him that I’m NOT a different Dave, NOT content, just as I am, just the way He’s made me, and THANK Him that I want something MORE than Jesus and His imputed worthiness.  How humiliating.  But.  A Dave who is HONEST with his God and himself, who comes clean about his neediness, will be a happier, more-contented believer.  And I’ve experienced this.  It’s TRUE.  But I keep forgetting.  I keep forgetting that my flesh dunno nuttin about how to make me happy, even though it THINKS it does.  My biggest need is not a different car, but a different Dave, so I don’t CARE about the things that consume my flesh.

So that’s why I call my car my “training wheels”, because Jesus is USING time spent in my car all alone, to grow my self-awareness, opening my eyes afresh to see more clearly my car idolatry, retraining me in cluelessness-I-know-what’s-best, so I’m increasingly SKEPTICAL of my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-how-to-make-me-happy.  I love shouting out, “So WHAT, Dave’sFlesh?” when I’m all alone in my car driving, and suddenly aware of being wooed into thinking, “Look there’s a different car that might work, might make me happIER.”  Jesus is using my training wheels to make me a different Dave, so I don’t need a different car.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, a pathetic practicer of what he preaches, but enormously encouraged that grace is for sinners/failures/losers — great examples of bad examples, encouraged that grace flows downhill to those at the bottom who are freshly aware of their NEED for grace, because of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit

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GospelFriendships Financial Update.

Thank You, Jesus, for regular supporters plus several unusual gifts in 2017, so income exceeded expenses by $3000!  Impressive.  Twelve months ago we ran a $5k + deficit.  We really need this cushion going into 2018, because cash was low all year, and so low in November that my paycheck was only $400.  But made it up in December.  Still need additional monthly supporters, because I don’t expect the unusual gifts in 2018.  However.  I’m glad this is not our ministry, but His.
— ThankfulDave, in the midst of easy-to-thank-for

Why are we Christians so unfruitful

with the seculars around us?  Jesus said, “You cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  Do we remain in Jesus all day long?  No.  Whyzat?  We are created-dependents functioning as independents, wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding, confident-we-know-what’s-best — analyzers/judges of everyone and everything.  We remain in OURSELVES as we go through our day — as self-reliant as the seculars around us.  Apart from Heaven, we have nothing they don’t have.  We do not reproduce because the Jesus in us is contagious to no one because of our independence — we don’t ASK Him and THANK Him about everything as we go through our day, but rather we ASSUME or willfully DO.  And because we KNOW what’s thankable and what’s not.   So we don’t go through our days curious and expectant to see what He does NEXT, in us, others, circumstances, but rather go through our days feeling alone and in charge.

I can’t prove this, but I’m convinced that the early believers had a contagious Jesus that made them reproducers — amazingly  fruitful with family and neighbors and co-workers.  They had something we don’t have.  The powerful humility of Jesus-dependency.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who works hard to appear humble and gracious on the outside, but can’t make it happen on the inside, and is therefore chief needer of fresh convictions of the sin of independence throughout his day

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A dead man feels no pressure,

no fear, no frustration, no discouragement.  Only those ALIVE to their agenda experience stressful living.  Only those confident-they-know-what’s-best have an agenda.  The nicest, kindest, sweetest thing that Jesus ever does for us kids of His, is to freshly convict of us of our independence/confidence-we-know-what’s-best/pride/worldliness, so we are freshly undone, contrite, dead to our own worthiness/reputation, freshly captivated by Jesus and His imputed worthiness, so that Jesus is ENOUGH for us, needing nothing more.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, needing fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so the Jesus in him might be contagious to the seculars around him

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The Christian life is a burden

when my flesh is reigning supreme — conscientious about avoiding sin, doing right, believing right, so I feel good about myself.  But the Christian life is a DELIGHT when the Spirit has freshly convicted me of the sin of independence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best — unsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, wanting some of my own.  Being freshly dead to my own worthiness so I am enabled to enjoy the lowly role He’s scripted for me of being a great example of a bad example, brings amazing peace to my soul, enabling me to enjoy everyone just as we are, and everything just as it is — all according to Jesus’ genius plan.   Ahhh.

–Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, hoping the seculars around him are noticing a difference, sometimes

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