The values that are basically responsible

for where I am today, have been WRONG.  Ambition, determination, strength, hustle, competitiveness, analyzing, critiquing, judging, striving for excellence, are all worldly values, where reality is informed by eyes and ears, not Scripture.  “And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another.”  Eccl 4:4

When I became a Christian at age 24, these values of the right-side-up kingdom of this world, continued to be central to my life as a believer.  A worldly Christian — even though I’ve been in vocational ministry for 40 years, and would have been highly offended at such an accusation.  These worldly values have failed to produce happiness in me, and I’ve lived in denial of this.  Only the values of the Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus, have ever produced happiness in me — DEpendency on Him, cluelessness-I-know-what’s-best, curiosity/expectancy to see what my SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances, seeing Jesus behind everyone and everything as the reigning CreatorSustainer of the Universe, so I’m way-more passive, and way-less the activist, way-less wise in my own eyes, way-less leaning on my own understanding, way-less feeling ALONE and in CHARGE, and way-less wowed by human achievement — mine or others.  But it doesn’t last long.  The message of this world is compelling, deceptive.  Especially for the vulnerable, like DAVE.

Especially the sports worship among Christians and nonChristians in the USA today, has consumed my life, stroked me in the WRONG direction, exacerbated the worst in me, undermined the Lordship of Jesus in my life, and nurtured a fragile joy and peace that depends on circumstances.  Terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad way to live.  Especially for a control-freak.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, sometimes baby steppin in a more-Jesus-like way, whenever the Spirit freshly convicts him of the sin of INdependence, wondering if the seculars around him are noticing

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When I have tension in my body,

I feel ALONE and in CHARGE of my life.  I only DEEPLY relax, am only EVER patient, content, when I am momentarily believing Jesus is totally sovereign over everything and everyone.  Otherwise, it’s UP TO DAVE.

Before Jesus began growing me in self-awareness, I had no idea I have tension in my body most of the time — feels so normal, so I had no idea I’m such a Christian atheist most of the time.  UP TO DAVE.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, freshly thankful for the convicting work of the Spirit of Jesus, so I momentarily see the TRUTH about me, so I might momentarily have the other-worldly humility and other-worldly love to attract seculars

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When circumstances rob your joy and peace,

whaddayado?  CONFESS your unbelief in the total sovereign reign of Jesus over every detail of your life.  Irritated with your boss, co-workers, job, yourself, spouse, kids, health, wealth, politicians, news media, where you live, how you live?  CONFESS that Jesus and His imputed worthiness are NOT ENOUGH for you.  THANK Him for your frustrating circumstances that are an invitation from Him to draw closer.  If you REALLY wannabe irritated with someone, get mad at Jesus!  You dowanna believe He’s behind everyone and everything, because you’d rather be irritated than confess.  Feels good to be irritated.  Feels superior.

What you HAVE is exactly what you NEED, right now, for Jesus to do the work in you that needs doin.  So WHAT if your flesh doesn’t like your circumstances?  DOMATTER what your flesh thinks.  Your flesh knows NOTHing about delivering happiness to you.  Jesus knows.

Your circumstances are NOT the big deal in your life.  The big deal is that your name is written in Heaven.  But for you right now, that’s a little deal.  You’re just like DAVE.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, unimpressive to the seculars around him, a failure a practicing what he preaches, except when freshly convicted of the sin of INdependence

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The pathway to happiness,

is following Jesus’ agenda, not Dave’s agenda.  What does it look like when I follow Dave’s agenda?  Hurried, worried, intense, stressed, competitive, critical-judgmental, circumstance-dependent for my joy and peace.  Following Jesus’ agenda?  Clueless-I-know-what’s-best, confident Jesus knows, curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances, THANKing Him for everything — especially the harrrd, enjoying Him and His genius plan for everyone and everything, just as things are, experiencing an other-worldly peace that defies description.  Problem is I never follow Jesus’ agenda unless Jesus’ Spirit is working in me, freshly convicting me of the sin of INdependence, following Dave’s agenda.  I get zero credit, zero glory, for those times I’m freshly following Jesus and His agenda.  Ahhh, the bliss of Jesus-dependency.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, wondering if the seculars around him are noticing any difference at times

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If you frequently feel BEHIND,

need more hours in the day, you’re just like DAVE, with an agenda for every situation — an agenda rooted in my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-what’s-best.  My flesh puts enormous pressure on me not to embarrass myself, not be late, NOT GET BEHIND in my work.  Only INdependents have agendas, feel pressure, feel alone, are intense, hurried, impatient, while Jesus-dependents, beloved dumb sheep, just have fun being directed by their SovereignShepherdJesus to the good grass.  Ahhh.  Jesus-agenda not Dave-agenda.

I’m never a Jesus-dependent except when I’ve been freshly convicted of the sin of INdependence/pride/worldliness/unbelief-in-the-sovereignty-of-Jesus.  And it doesn’t last long, because the message of INdependency comes at me from every direction: “It’s normal, human, okay to be INdependent because DEpendency is for children, and pathetic adults.”

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, promoting Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness to Christians — especially DAVE, in hopes that Christians might have the other-worldly peace that seculars actually want

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Feeling overwhelmed is a blessing.

What?  That’s right.  When your life is easy, you don’t need Jesus.  When you feel overwhelmed, you can’t seem to get on top of your circumstances, AND, you are more likely to run to Jesus, CONFESS your INdependence/pride/insanity/orphan-mindset/worldliness.  Desperate people do desperate things.  Desperate Christians run to Jesus.  Jesus is a much-better navigator through troubled waters than you will EVER be.  Only Jesus-dependents face overwhelm with amazing peace.  INdependents are either freaked….or calm on the outside  but very intense on the inside, hiding their freakedness from others, and self.

But every human works really, really hard to NEVER be overwhelmed.  Nobody in their right mind is thankful for overwhelm.  Except for Jesus-dependents, because they do not feel ALONE or in CHARGE.  And they recognize that the suffering of feeling overwhelmed, comes from a loving SovereignShepherdJesus, to train them further in Jesus-dependency.  

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who HATES overwhelm, HATES not knowing what to do, HATES having to trust Jesus in the midst of overwhelm, unless he’s been freshly convicted of the sin of INdependence

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You know you’re somewhat humble, when

you can smile at your failures, humiliating circumstances.  When your own performance means little to you compared to the imputed performance of Jesus.  When you don’t even enjoy the failures of others — including jerks.  When Jesus is everything to you, and everything else is almost nothing.  When you enjoy everyone — including politicians and jerks, just as we are, and everything just as it is.   When you experience an other-worldly peace regardless of circumstances — even the potential loss of everything dear to you.

Outward humility —  having a reputation as a humble human, is a skill perfected by politicians and Christian leaders, but inward humility?  That’s what Jesus modeled and commanded.  In the Church, we’ve dumbed down law and sin, and we work hard at outside-the-cup humility, while most of us live in denial of our inside-the-cup pride.  Secret pride.  That we’re too embarrassed to admit to others, or even to ourselves.  The kind of pride we rarely-if-ever confess.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, proud, competitive, critic of all, needing fresh conviction of being unsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, so he might momentarily experience the bliss of Jesus-dependency, so that seculars around him might notice and want some bliss too

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Intensity is a red flag for

AGENDA.  Only INdependents/worldlies/orphans experience intensity/agenda.  Every intense human is critical-judgmental, always judging everyone and everything as excellent, average or poor.  Gracious, humble humans enjoy everyone just as we are, and everything just as it is.  By contrast, we intense humans are circumstance-dependent for our joy and peace, so we experience little joy, and Jesus ain’ta big deal in our lives, UNLESS we are Christians who are freshly convicted of the sin of intensity/agenda/INdependence/worldliness/pride/confidence-we-know-what’s-best.  

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, with red flags galore

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