Only the proud experience fear.

The humble are fearless.  The humble are unbothered by failure, weakness, pity by others, losing all their somebodiness, being considered nobodies, losers.  The humble live and love with reckless abandon.  

Only the proud are self-absorbed, hide our weakness, fear, failure.  Only the humble are relaxed.  On the inside.  Feel no need to APPEAR relaxed.  Only the humble enjoy everything just as it is, everyone just as we are, especially self.  Only the humble THANK Jesus for everything, because only the humble are clueless about what’s best, so they experience the peace that surpasses understanding, trusting that SovereignShepherdJesus knows what’s best, and delivers what’s best.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, envious of the humble  

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The goal of preaching today

in Evangelical Churches, is for Christians to understand how the Bible impacts daily life.  But how can a preacher clearly understand the Message of the CreatorSustainer of the Universe unless he is unusually self-aware?  An unusually-self-aware preacher oughtabe the chief CONFESSor in a church.  Is this what we see?  Hardly.  Do we even WANT our preachers being chief confessors?  We like our leaders STRONG.  Do we who sit in the pews feel comfortable ourselves, being chief confessors?  Alien notion?

Without unusual self-awareness, preachers — and the rest of us, live in denial of the strength of our flesh, imagining ourselves more wonderful than we are, blind to our colossal failures at following Jesus, blind to the depth of our INdependence, ignoring our fruitlessness with seculars.  Seed cast on thorny soil that does not reproduce.

So the goal of preaching OUGHTABE, to bring us Christians into fresh awareness of our unrecognized sin — especially the sin of INdependence, so we can CONFESS it afresh, and have fresh FAITH.  Contagious faith.  Jack Miller once said, “The starting place for faith, is conviction of sin.”  There is no conviction of sin apart from the Spirit’s work.  No Spirit working, no conviction — no fresh faith.  No fresh death to the reputation/worthiness our flesh craves.  No joy and peace, unless circumstances go my way.  And when circumstances GO my way, I’m merely strengthened in my control addiction, INdependence, pride, self-absorption, willfulness, agenda.  Walking around blind to the sin/idolatry that robs me of joy and peace.  And this blindness makes it harder than I imagine, for others to live with me, and work closely with me.

So the big need today — seems to me, is the Spirit being poured out on us Christians so we are freshly self-aware, so we are freshly undone, contrite — chief-confessors among our secular friends, not chief experts on the Bible, or on following Jesus, or on all things spiritual.  Holy-Spirit-generated humility is compelling, while togetherness/strength/expertise is a turn-off.  Also compelling are joy and peace that have nothing to do with circumstances.  

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, neediest of all for the Spirit’s fresh work 

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We are happiest

when we see Jesus behind everyone and everything.  SovereignShepherd over every detail of our lives and others’ lives.  We’re no different than the atheist when we feel ALONE and in CHARGE, leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes, confident-we-know-what’s-best, what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not.  Daily living UP TO ME.  Circumstance-dependent for joy and peace.

Our biggest need all day long, is fresh conviction by the Holy Spirit, of the sin of INdependence — being influenced by our flesh’s view of reality, rather than Scripture’s view.   Our eyes and ears influencing our emotions, instead of the Spirit using Scripture to influence them.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who would love to better practice what he preaches, so the seculars around him would be wowed by the difference Jesus makes in him

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Lack joy and peace right now?

If you’re a Christian, I suggest there’s some unrecognized-and-unconfessed sin/idolatry in your life.  The nicest, kindest thing Jesus ever does for us kids of His, is to open our eyes afresh to see the sin/idolatry to which we’ve been blind, robbing us of joy and peace.  Better than trying to avoid sin — CONFESS it.

A common unrecognized-and-unconfessed sin I see in Christians I mentor/pastor/disciple/coach, is the sin of INdependence — confidence-we-know-what’s-best.  Another way of describing the sin of feeling ALONE and in CHARGE.  UP TO ME.  Pervasive problem in the Church.  Christians imagining we’re following Jesus when we’re not.  Following ourselves, our wisdom, based on our understanding.  INdependents, not DEpendents.  Proud, not humble.  Confident-we-know-best, not clueless-we-know-best.  Not experiencing the benefit of Jesus in this life.  Jesus-dependency — confidence He knows best, is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.  How do we get it?  CONFESS our unbelief in His sovereign reign over every detail of our lives, so we can THANK Him for every detail.  Impossible to grumble about our circumstances unless we’re confident-we-know-what’s-best.  INdependent.

Unless.  You feel lousy physiologically.  In which case it’s pert-near impossible to experience joy and peace, so be gracious with yourself, and lower your expectations.  Only the humble are gracious with self.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, expert on grumbling, feeling lousy

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The worst evangelist,

is the chief encourager — positive thinker.  “You can do this, my secular friend.”  The next best is the chief expert — overwhelming with Scripture.  The next best is the chief accuser — helping others see the sin to which they are blind.  But the best — the one most likely to be used of the Spirit to transform lives, is the chief confessor.  The chief remover of logs from his own eye.

The chief confessor has a healthy indifference as to what seculars do with Jesus, and this is extremely important.  No one likes a pushy salesman or his message — the best ones, have a healthy indifference as to whether you buy or not.  Over time, the chief confessor creates a safe environment in relationship with a secular friend, where the defensive secular has the freedom to look inside to see how much worse he is than imagined, where it’s safe to maybe join the chief confessor as a struggler at following God, see his bigtime need for Jesus and His imputed worthiness, so he is overwhelmed with Him, amazed by His unconditional grace/love.

So how does a believer become a chief confessor?  Only by the work of the Spirit, freshly convicting of sin, especially the sin of independence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best-and-what’s-thankable/dissatisfaction-with-Jesus-and-His-imputed-worthiness, so the believer oozes with other-worldly humility and other-worldly love, thanking Jesus about everything just as it is.

— ShepherdDave, who is never the chief confessor, unless he’s been freshly convicted of the sin of independence/pride, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, liberated about what others think about him, and what he thinks about himself, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/humility/cluelessness-he-knows-what’s-best, so the seculars around him might experience the other-worldly humility and other-worldly love of Jesus

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Buddhists understand the importance of surrender,

loving what is, being comfortable with the unknown.  What they don’t understand, is how much easier it is to live peacefully like a Buddhist, as a Jesus-dependent, rather than a self-dependent, where life is UP TO ME.  Surrendering, loving what is, being comfortable with the unknown, in my own power, is so-much harder than simply confessing my INdependence/autonomy/willfulness/agenda/unbelief-in-Jesus’-sovereign-reign.  Impossible to be Jesus-dependent — clueless-I-know-what’s-best, without believing He is totally sovereign over everything and everyone.  

We humans try and control our circumstances because we’re confident-we-know-what’s-best.  INdependence, not DEpendence.  So while Buddhists have a great goal — an other-worldly peace, they have to rely on their own power to get there.  Course, we Christians have the same problem — trying to follow Jesus in our own strength, leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes.  The more Jesus grows us Christians in self-awareness, the more we’ll see our failure at following Him — our failure at believing He knows best, so the more we’ll CONFESS, which gets us back to being clueless-we-know-what’s-best.  Ahhh.  Confession is the pathway to happiness.  Blindness/denial is the pathway to stress, frustration, malcontentedness.  Seed cast on thorny soil that does not reproduce.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who is so pathetically weak and dysfunctional that the sovereignty of Jesus isn’t optional, but essential 

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EasIER is not the best.

My flesh believes easIER is the best, and my flesh enormously influences my life, so that my biggest idol, is easIER.  But easIER is not the best.  Scripture says the BEST is whatever Jesus has for me this day, week, month, year.  My flesh says the BEST is whatever is easIER, or easIEST.  My flesh knows NOTHing about delivering happiness to Dave, but it THINKS it does, and it convinces ME it does, in my less-sane moments.  When I believe my flesh’s view of reality, I simply become further addicted to trying to control my world.  And getting my way, just strengthens my addiction.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Scripture’s view of reality rather than the flesh’s view, in hopes that Christians — especially DAVE, might be Jesus-dependent rather than INdependent, so the surrounding seculars might actually want something Christians have

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If government were efficient and effective,

billionaires like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who vote Democrat would be donating billions to US government programs, but instead, they donate billions to non-profit organizations to solve societal problems.  Government is run by bureaucrats, not innovators.  Creative types don’t become bureaucrats.  They hate bureaucracy.  Centralized planning didn’t work in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and it’s bankrupting Europe, Japan and the USA.  And young people today want MORE centralized planning, MORE government solutions to societal problems.  Republicans love big government too — love big military, and love war and being a superpower, rebuking and pressuring other nations, as much as Democrats.   The USA is way-too big for democracy, way-too big for centralized, government planning.   We need to be fifty separate nations, each with its own currency, rather than fifty states of The Self-appointed Superpower Policeman of the World.  Trillions of dollars flowing through DC corrupting everyone in its path.  Politicians don’t control our government — bureaucrats and lobbyists do.   Politicians don’t control foreign policy — the CIA and lobbyists do.   Government invites corruption.  Power corrupts.  Big power, big corruption.   Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, do not have the answers for managing such a massive economy, massive empire, especially where voters are so divided.  But the establishment in academia, entertainment, big business, big Church, big media, and political parties, all think it’s possible.  And always communicate optimism about the future, “If things were only done OUR way.”  Seems to me all of them have been wrong.  Misplaced optimism.  Whistling past the graveyard.  We are a dysfunctional nation becoming more dysfunctional every day, living in denial of our dysfunction.  The emperor has no clothes! 

When government-dependency replaces God-dependency, the result is INdependency — being wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding.  Widespread dysfunction.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, posting his final political rant

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