Why I’m thankful the Church is so sick

Jack Miller used to say that the difference between what would happen normally, and what happens with an infusion of grace, that difference, is the glory of God.

So if we believers are known by the watching world for being the proudest, most self-righteous, poorest lovers of those most different from ourselves, and then are dramatically changed by a powerful outpouring of the Spirit in a widespread awakening, into supernaturally-humble, supernaturally-loving people, the watching world would be wowed by God’s work in us, and we’d be wowed too.  Glory to Jesus.

Imagine the impact of the watching world two thousand years ago, if the Pharisees were overhauled into supernaturally-humble, supernaturally-loving children of God.   Well.   Many were.   And it rocked many in the watching world, and they came to the Jesus overflowing from the early believers who enjoyed the favor of all the people.

And I’m thankful for a bloated and corrupt federal government in D.C., for the same reason.   If the Church were to become the Church in our day, our nation would be changed dramatically, and this would rock the watching world.

And I’m thankful for my superiority addiction, that causes me to always be looking for ways to feel superior to others, so I can feel better about myself.   As I am more and more set free from this horrible bondage, this will rock the world of both believers and pre-believers around me, giving them hope in the power of Jesus to change the unchangeable.

–CluelessSheepDave, thanking DaddyJesusSpirit for the things he thinks are bad/wrong, cuz it helps him be curious and expectant to see what the Shepherd will do next, working all things together for the good of us kids of His, and for His glory (please pray now)

Is Jesus the answer to all my problems?

In other words, is He enough for me?  Or when I run to him with a problem, do I use Him, to get my way: want Him to fix it according to my agenda?   Or do I confess to Him, that He’s only enough for me, when He fixes my problems according to my agenda?  Is He enough for me when He does not fix my problem, according to my agenda?

Am I transparent enough with my pre-believing friends and relatives for them to see that Jesus is enough?   Or is not?  I.e., do they know how Jesus-needy I am: what a failure I am at following Jesus, and that Jesus came for sicko’s, not the spiritually together?

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to be JesusDependentDave, so he hardly cares about anything but Jesus, so that his pre-believing friends are wowed and want the same freedom/fun/LIFE (please pray now)

Not my problem, not my job.

God’s problem, God’s job.  Wow.  I can’t tell you what a bombshell this has been for me.  Maybe obvious to you, and I feel a bit silly for feeling so profoundly impacted by such an obvious statement, but over the past month, this has been changing my life, and I can only conclude that it’s an answer to your prayers for me, to live more as a Jesus-dependent, adopted son, clueless sheep, go-fer, rather than the independent, orphan, shepherd, CEO of my life, that fosters intensity in me, and confines me to a prison of drivenness.  Now maybe you’re not a hyper-conscientious type like I am, so maybe it won’t be as dramatically helpful to you, as it’s been to me, but what are the circumstances in your life, today, that tend to weigh on you, rob you of the joy and peace that is yours in Christ Jesus?

As I’ve been going through my day, I find myself saying to myself, “Not my problem, not my job: God’s problem, God’s job.”  Or shorter, “Not my problem, not my job.”   If you’re struggling to rest in Jesus in light of all you face right now, try it.   So what is my job?  As CluelessSheepDave, my job is to be curious and expectant to see what my Shepherd will do next: how He will lead me.  And when I struggle to do my job, to be curious and expectant, all I need to do, is confess my sin of unbelief in Him and His promises to work ALL things together for my good, and His glory.

Satan wants me to believe, that I’m supposed to be in charge of my life, supposed to be responsible for all that I face, supposed to make a difference, supposed to know how to engineer happiness for myself and those I love.  Wrong.  I was not created independent, but dependent.  I’m CluelessSheepDave in my saner moments.  ShepherdDave, in my less-sane ones.

Okay, Dave but what about being responsible, when it’s clear God’s called me to something?  Well, if it’s God’s job, not my job, I won’t be all weirded and worried by it, and I won’t have the kind of ownership that causes me devastation when I fail: I’ll be relaxed, curious, expectant, and if things don’t go my way, the way I want them to go, think they ought to go, I’ll find it interesting, not devastating.

–CluelessSheepDave, asking for more prayer, to live as a clueless sheep, so he’ll have a healthy indifference to all the things that charm him most, including ministry, money, health, family, so the nonbelievers around him will be wowed by his joy and peace, and want what he has (please pray now)

Proclaiming the Gospel – Today

Proclaiming the Gospel today, requires a different

approach than in Paul’s day.  Seems to me.  Why?  Two thousand years of people all over the world, hearing about Christians and Christianity, with many negative opinions formed about us, most with justification.  What worked for Paul, doesn’t work today, with most audiences.  If Paul were here today, I think he would understand his audience, just like he did in Athens.

(Announcement: I’ve begun posting these weekly updates on a new Facebook Page.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/GospelFriendships-WeakDave/151549114904487?sk=wall  Or search on FB for GospelFriendships – one word, and you’ll find it.  This update today is taken from the “Info” section.  If you’re on FB you might prefer to read and pray for me on FB: all you need to do is “like” the Page.)

Proclaiming the Gospel today in a skeptical world, needs to be done in the context of individual relationships, so pre-believers can hear from a believer they have come to know and trust, how the Jesus is impacting the life of the believer, setting the believer free, from the worst aspect of the human condition: the notion that independency is desirable, and dependency, anathema.

But if believers are not experiencing Jesus-dependency, what do we really have to say to pre-believers? What hope can we give them?  We are resounding gongs, clanging cymbals.  So our biggest need, is a changed us.  Our message will flow naturally, effortlessly, from a changed us.  The hindrance to pre-believers embracing Jesus, has more to do with us, than them.  And most pre-believers don’t know us that well: don’t know our struggles to rest in Jesus, our failures in following Him.  And frequently, it’s because we don’t know ourselves very well, living in denial of how pathetic we really are, ashamed to admit to ourselves, less other believers, much less pre-believers, the truth about ourselves.  He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves Jesus and others, only a little.

The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for us, is to freshly convict us of our sin, especially the sin of independence, so we are undone afresh, dead to our idols/agendas afresh, in love with Jesus afresh, experiencing afresh the peace that is superior to understanding, and a joy unspeakable, so we are in a position to love others, especially the hard to love: those with values most different from our own.

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to function as a Jesus-dependent, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed and want what he has (please pray now)

Agendaless Living

I’ve hardly ever experienced it.   Intellectually, I know that I’m supposed to follow Jesus, because He is supposedly Lord of my life, but in my typical day, it’s all about my agenda, my will, and this causes me to be intense, driven, joyless and peaceless unless things momentarily go my way, but even then, I still live with tension in my body.   A Jesus-dependent has no agenda of his/her own, except, to follow Jesus.   So a Jesus-dependent asks about everything, and thanks about everything.   A Jesus-dependent is childlike, clueless about what would be best for self and those s/he loves.  The body of a Jesus-dependent needs no medication to relieve tension, stress, because a Jesus-dependent experiences stress-free living.  Stress is a fruit of agenda.   A Jesus-dependent listens to his body to determine if stress is creeping in.   Jesus uses our bodies to help us recognize agenda/willfulness/self-reliance, and our bodies react, rebel, tell us to stoppit, or the stress symptoms will get worse.

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to function as DependentDave, with a peace that blows others away, especially pre-believers, so they will want what he has (please pray now)

What I Want More Than Anything in the World

is Jesus-dependency.  Whatever it takes, DaddyJesusSpirit, to get me from Dave-dependency to Jesus-dependency, that’s what I want: I offer up to you my health, my ministry, my savings, my reputation: do with them whatever is best, for me and for Your Kingdom.  I do not know what is best, though my flesh wants me to believe I do, and the devil wants me to believe I do, and the world around me would have me believe they do, and that I should.  I want to be changed so that I live and work out of communion with You, every day, all day.  So whatever it takes, Lord, please do it, that You might be glorified in me and through me, that pre-believers who know me well, would be wowed by the difference You make in my life, and want also, a peace and joy that is vastly superior to the peace and joy that come from human-understanding/human-wisdom/independence.

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to be a Jesus-dependent (please pray now)

Not curious and expectant

When I’m not curious and expectant, to see what God will do next, in my circumstances, I’m living by flesh, not by faith: functioning as an independent/orphan/adultlike, wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding, and my biggest need at that moment, is fresh conviction of the sin of independence/unbelief, so I can confess, and be delivered from The Curse, the hell, the prison, of a created-dependent trying to live as an independent: captain of my soul, master of my fate, circumstance-dependent for my joy and peace, addicted to feeling good about self, unsatisfied with Jesus and His righteousness.

–StrongDave, needing prayer to embrace weakness/dependency so he’ll return to asking about everything and thanking about everything, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by his joy and freedom and want what he has (please pray now)

Not My Will Be Done, But Yours!

When I’m struggling to believe, how do I believe better/more?  How do I get more faith for my situation?  Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled: believe in God.  Believe also in Me.”

Okay, but how do I believe, when I know I need to believe better, but I’m struggling?  Is faith like a muscle that I exercise?  No, faith/repentance is something that is granted to us.  Jack Miller once told Rose Marie that the starting place for faith, is conviction of sin.  I’ve never forgotten that.  Has been enormously helpful in dealing with my flesh, the devil, and the worldly worship of strength/confidence/somebodiness.  Fresh faith (repentance) comes from fresh conviction of sin, and conviction of sin comes from the Holy Spirit, not something I can generate within me, make happen on my own.  Reading Scripture, listening to a sermon, might be used of the Spirit to freshly convict me of my sin, leading to repentance, but might not.  But one thing I can do, is to ask for the Spirit, to come afresh and convict me of my sin of independence, so I can confess, and be temporarily set free to enjoy Jesus, and have a healthy indifference to all the other things vying for my focus, my worship, in my daily life.  Ahhh, Jesus-dependency.

“No, Dave, you’re wrong: I don’t need any more conviction of sin: I see what a big sinner I am: my sin is everywhere before me.”  Well, if you’re struggling to believe, the enemy has snookered you into believing a lie about something.  I’d venture to guess that there is some area of your life that you are holding onto too tightly, that you are unwilling to turn loose of, some idol/agenda no matter how noble or seemingly selfless, that you are unwilling to die to, unwilling to offer up to God and say, “Not my will be done, but Yours.”  Most likely it has to do with your own righteousness/performance/somebodiness, or the righteousness/performance/somebodiness of one of your kids: your confidence that you know best, how He should be ordering your life, and your being bummed, frustrated, or fearful, that He’s not listening to your prayers.  You are not willing to fail, not willing to have your precious righteousness/reputation stripped from you.  Jesus is not enough for you.  Like He’s not enough for me, in my many less-sane moments.

–WeakDave, having the time of his life, with more healthy indifference to his areas of idolatry, because folks have been praying for fresh conviction of sin in his life (please pray now)