What’s better than somebodiness/success?

Not needing somebodiness/success.  What’s better than being respected, admired, envied?  Having a healthy-indifference to anyone’s respect, admiration, envy of me.

How does one obtain a healthy-indifference to the somebodiness his flesh CRAVES?  Jesus provides this to those who are aware of the problem and want help — who want to be rescued from the prison of approval addiction — not just others’ approval, but my own approval of me.

Self-awareness without self-acceptance is a miserable existence.  Most live in denial of their misery.  I’ve not been very-self-aware or very-self-accepting all my life, until recent years.  A free ebook, that I didn’t write, has been used of Jesus to grow me much-more-self-aware and much-more-self-accepting.  Much-more healthy-indifference.  If you’d like a copy of the book, and my notes about how Jesus has used it in my life, lemme know.

—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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In light of all the rain/gray in Pennsylvania

this past week, this song that I heard for the first time Wednesday, really resonated with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=korFkTbE6HI

But the problem with songs about Heaven, is that they don’t talk about having a TASTE of Heaven right now, today, through fresh conviction of sin, especially the sin of independence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best.  LIFE is possible today, but we need the Spirit to work in us afresh, for us to experience that LIFE.  In Heaven, we’ll experience it 24/7, but we can have TASTES of Heaven today as the Spirit works afresh in our hearts.  We cannot manufacture that, cannot make it happen, but we can ASK for the Spirit, and we can claim the promise of Luke 11, that if we ASK for the Spirit, He will give us the Spirit.  No timetable guarantee, however.  And.  It doesn’t last long, in my experience, because of the world, flesh, devil, wooing me back to independence.

I’m beginning to be suspicious when I long for Heaven, because I suspect I’m really longing for LIFE.  I don’t have to wait until I die.

–ShepherdDave, who resists the lowly place of DumbSheepDave, unless he’s been freshly convicted of sin, and then he wonders why he ever resisted, cuz the LIFE experienced by DumbSheepDave is a.m.a.z.i.n.g, though short-lived

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Humility/faith is not something I practice,

not something I will into existence, work on, but something done to me from Above. I get zero credit for any humility/faith that shows up in my life. I am powerless to make myself humble, loving, grateful, Jesus-like. The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for me, is fresh conviction of sin, especially the sin of independence/pride/confidence/willfulness. My relationship with Jesus, my obedience to His commands, is not up to me, so I get zero credit for being salt and light, for spiritual health, zeal, contagion.

So what do I do when I realize I’m boring to pre-believers, distrusting, proud, unsatisfied with Jesus and His worthiness imputed to me? Confess. And if that doesn’t result in joy and peace? There’s yet more sin/idolatry to which I’m blind, that needs exposing by Jesus’ Spirit, so I can further confess. Ahhh. Now it is well with my soul.

–DumbSheepDave, experiencing the momentary bliss of Jesus-dependency, wondering if the pre-believers around him are noticing a difference in 2014

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The way we dumb down law/sin,

is by comparing ourselves to others, instead of to Jesus, the Standard, the Perfect One.  “Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” commanded Jesus.  Wait, that’s impossible!  Bingo.  Impossible to enter the Christian life, and impossible to live the Christian life.  I need the convicting work of Jesus’ Spirit 24/7, not just for Sunday morning, not just for the big decisions in my life.  I need dependency on Him in every detail of my life, all day long, asking Him and thanking Him about evathang.  His life, lived through me, so I’m amazingly joyful and peaceful, wowing those around me, as I operate by His power, not my puny power.  No credit/glory to me.  All to Jesus.

Dependency is impossible, except when the Spirit freshly convicts me of my sin of independence, and even then, my temporary dependency is a pseudo-dependency, farrr from perfect.  There’s a dark side, a sinful side, to my motivation for even the most-noble, most-seemingly-selfless things I’ve ever done in my life.  Only as the Spirit freshly convicts me, opening my eyes to my failure at perfect dependency, does the imputed worthiness of Jesus become something precious to me.  As long as I’m deceived about my failure, my pseudo-obedience, pseudo-following Jesus, pseudo-dependency, I will cherish my own worthiness/performance and find the imputed worthiness of Jesus unsatisfying to me.  How can I tell?  When I’m frustrated, discouraged, fearful, or bored.  Hurried, intense.  Jesus and His worthiness are something to me, but not everything, until I see clearly my failure at perfect dependency.  Confession brings sanity, peace, joy unspeakable.  And when it doesn’t, there’s more to confess I don’t yet see.

–DumbSheepDave, blissfully dependent, on occasion, as the Shepherd’s Spirit freshly convicts him of the sin of independence, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference in 2014

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Young doctor/team-leader of missionaries in rural Uganda,

just diagnosed with colon cancer.   All of World Harvest is in shock.  I’m copying his letter to his Pray-ers below, because it will point you to Jesus.  This is for your benefit, not his.  He has plenty of folks praying for him.

–WeakDave, trying to promote the Jesus-dependency this friend is requesting

 

This past Friday I was diagnosed with adenomcarcinoma of the colon- colon cancer.  When the GI specialist told us he found a suspicious mass on a colonoscopy, tears fell down my face.  I was hoping he was going to show me a 12 foot long tapeworm that he pulled out of my gut.   I feared maybe some sort of inflammatory bowel disease.  I did not expect cancer.

I am thankful for how Africa has given me a chance to walk closer with Jesus. There are three things that I have learned these past three years that He has reminded me over the past several days.

First, suffering is a part of this life.  It is not an anomaly.  We all suffer.  Most of the world suffers much everyday.  If you have not read “Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken, please do.   We live in a broken world in which suffering is as assured as the sunrise.  So, my reaction is not “why me” but more “why now?”

Secondly, Jesus is in the depths of suffering.  He purposely does not prevent suffering.  He purposely draws near to us in our suffering.  The believers I know who have suffered much, know Jesus deeply.  Instead of praying daily, they converse with Jesus continually.  I have learned this from some of my dear Uganda friends.

Jesus is in the midst of this newest trial/adventure/curveball/scare. It is amazing to me that we are near my family with a caring church and some of our closest friends.  This was planned before I had symptoms.  We have already been showered by these dear friends and family with prayers, help, words of truth and ministry of presence.  I am in the US and not in the jungles of Africa.  I am near a fantastic medical center. We have a place to stay, a job that allows me to be available for appointments, and a mission that is praying for me from all over the world.  I had a colonoscopy because of symptoms similar to amebiasis.  The symptoms are not necessarily related to the mass I have, especially given the smaller size of the mass.  These symptoms have largely resolved over the past week since my colonoscopy.  It could be that my symptoms are from an infection or the strange fever I had last fall and only related to the mass by the hand of God, who wanted the mass to be found.

Sometimes I find myself stuck on a passage and meditate on it for days or weeks. This month, I have been camping out on Psalms 16.  I wasn’t sure why Jesus had me there, until after the diagnosis.  I re-read it that afternoon and the words seem to jump off the page as if the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me.  In all of these I am thankful to say that we have seen and felt profoundly Jesus’s presence and His tender care to go before us.  I have another chance to walk with Him grasping His hand tightly.

Thirdly, prayer moves the heart and hand of God.  Over and over again in Uganda we saw how your prayers seemed to change outcomes, overcome fears and open up doors for Jesus to be worshiped.

So, once again, I ask you to pray.  I know God hears.  I know He cares.  I know He acts when His people ask.

Please pray for the following:

Pray that we can listen- that we may be able to take the time to see how Jesus is present and working around and through us.  We do not want to be so rushed in “fixing” the problem to miss an opportunity to walk with Him and hear what He is saying.

Pray that we will know the right treatment plan of cure for me.  There are a couple of surgical options and chemotherapy options that are available.  We want to be wise and correctly treat the cancer I have.  We want to be aggressive.  We do not want to walk in fear and take an approach based on fear of what might happen down the road and could lead to unneeded side effects or outcomes.  I don’t know what is best at this time.

Pray that God will protect our minds in Christ Jesus with a peace that passes all understanding.  Today I can honestly say I do not fear the cancer. I do see this as a chance to walk with Jesus.  I also know this will change daily as news causes me to vacillate from confidence to being disheartened.

Pray for Amy and I as we walk this together.  She will be bearing the brunt of the changes and consequences.  Pray for encouragement for her. Pray that we can communicate well.

Pray for our children.  As always, my prayer is that they will know and love Jesus more because of my life.  Pray that we go to Jesus together constantly and I know how to include them in this chapter of our life.

Pray for our team, friends, and ministry in Bundibugyo.  We will certainly be delayed in our return which will impact a lot of people.  Pray for wisdom as we try to sort out what the plan forward should be.

Thanks so much for your friendship and love.  Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement.  Keep them coming.  We are desperate for these.

Thankful for you,

Travis

What does faith/dependency look like?

Enjoying Jesus, enjoying others, enjoying myself, enjoying my circumstances, just as they are.   What if I’m irritated with myself for struggling to live this way, for being such a loser as a follower of Jesus?   That’s not humility, that’s pride.  Self-contempt.  Satan loves us wishing we were different, unaccepting of where we are in the unfolding story of Jesus changing us, more and more.  A humble believer confesses sin, but a proud believer is bummed by sin, and tries harder to do better in the future.  A humble believer enjoys Jesus, others, self, circumstances, just as they are, but a proud believer wants others different, self different, circumstances different, is not content with things, just as they are.  Jesus is not enough.  A humble believer is thankful to Jesus for everything, just as it is, doesn’t know what’s best for himself and those he loves, but a proud believer knows what’s best, and pleads with Jesus to make it happen.

–ProudDave, needing prayer to be HumbleDave, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by a contagious Jesus in him (please pray now)

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I am powerless over my idols/addictions.

I cannot live w/o them.  I become tense and frustrated until I can return to them to get some relief from my pain — my suppressed feelings of worthlessness.  How do I know they’re suppressed?  Because I want to forget/deny/erase my feelings of worthlessness, by doing something to feel good about myself in one or more areas of my idolatry: ministry, investments, health improvements, shrewd purchasing decisions, automobiles.  Ahhh.  Now I don’t need Jesus.

But my goal is not to change myself, for only Jesus can change me.  My need is to begin to understand and accept myself, just as I am, just as my DaddyJesusSpirit understands and accepts me, just as I am.  Whenever I get impatient with myself, with the transformation/sanctification process, self-contempt has become the issue.  Pride.  A humble sheep gladly submits to his Shepherd’s timetable, does not need to feel good about himself based on his own performance, and enjoys his Shepherd, others, himself, and his circumstances, just as the are.

–IdolatorDave, more self-accepting than ever, enjoying life more than ever, because folks have been praying, which gives him hope for the pre-believers around him (please pray now)

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Independence is just as contagious as dependence/faith.

If I am surrounded by independents — pre-believers or believers, their independence subtly undermines my Jesus-dependence, and I begin to see independence as normal, natural.   News, movies, books, periodicals, all whisper, “Independence is normal: humans are supposed to be in charge of their own lives.”  Then prayer becomes an after-thought for me, something I do when nothing else works.   And my prayer is likely to be, “Jesus bless my agenda.”  Because I know what’s best for me and those I love, and my job is to get Jesus to see the need, and act: do my bidding.

And when I function as an independent, I have what independents have: human power.  Jesus makes little difference in my daily life: I’m just as stressed, hurried, intense, as the pre-believers around me.   They are not wowed by the Jesus in me, because there is so little of Him in me.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so others are wowed by the difference ShepherdJesus makes in the life of DumbSheepDave (please pray now)

Financial update on GospelFriendships:

Each year about this time I update folks on the financial health of GospelFriendships.   We’ve been running a $5k deficit and I’m guessing we’ll end up that way by year end.   I took a pay cut last year, and will need to take another, if we end up short.   Some have surprised me in the past with additional year-end gifts, and some have made first-time gifts, and some have begun sending monthly support, and some have increased their monthly support, and many are simply unable to help.   I never know what to expect, but Jesus has always provided wonderfully for Janet and me, and I have no good reason to doubt Him this year.   I sensed He wanted me to let folks know.

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