The values of Jesus seem wrong.

War against enemies seems right.  Competition seems right — hoping the opposition fails, seems right.  Judging/critiquing others seems right.  Feeling worthier/superior seems right.  Forcing my values on others through legislation, seems right.  To an adultlike/independent/confident-he-knows-what’s-best, wise in his own eyes, leaning on his own understanding.

–ShepherdDave, who claims to follow Jesus, but ignores the teachings of Jesus, except when freshly convicted of the sin of worldliness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying everyone just as they are, so the seculars around him might experience the love of Jesus

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Biblical wisdom is not human wisdom.

Biblical wisdom causes me to be distrustful of my own wisdom to find happiness.  Biblical wisdom is believing that I have no wisdom worth leaning on, but that Jesus does.  Biblical wisdom causes me to ASK Jesus about everything, and THANK Jesus about everything just as it is, and everyone just as we are.  Biblical wisdom causes me to believe in the sovereignty of DaddyJesusSpirit.  Biblical wisdom causes me to be clueless-I-know-what’s-best.  Biblical wisdom = Jesus-dependency.  Biblical wisdom = humility.  Biblical wisdom = sanity.  Biblical wisdom causes me to forget all about myself and focus on others.  Biblical wisdom is impossible, apart from the convicting work of the Spirit.  So glory goes only to Jesus.

–ShepherdDave, chief of independents, who sometimes sees the problem, because of the Spirit’s fresh conviction of the sin of independence/pride/worldliness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency, so the seculars around him might experience the humility and love of Jesus

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Self-awareness commended in Proverbs 14:8.

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways [pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, reactions as they go through their day],

“but the folly of fools is deception.” [self-deception about our independence/pride/confidence-we-know-what’s-best, not to mention others-deception, by being less than transparent, or worse].

We independents are fools.  The wise, however, are dependent, childlike, clueless-about-what’s-best, ASKing Jesus and THANKing Jesus, about evathang, curious and expectant to see what SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in the dependent, others, circumstances.

—ShepherdDave, who only sees the problem when he’s been freshly convicted of the sin of independence/pride, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/Jesus-contentment/Jesus-humility, clueless-he-knows-what’s-best, curious/expectant to see what his SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, so the seculars around him might experience the love of Jesus

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Success is very dangerous,

including ministry success, parenting success, because it’s addictive.  Success ain’ta bad thing, but it’s very dangerous.  It strokes us in wanting more.  And more.  Never satisfied.  Bottomless pit of need in the ambitious, hard-worker.  And homemaker.  And the worst part, is the unrelenting pressure 24/7.  Self-imposed pressure.  Unrecognized pressure.  It’s such a part of one’s life, it’s invisible.  Circumstance-dependent for joy and peace.  A picture of addiction to one’s own worthiness.  Terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad way to live.  Addiction prison.

–ShepherdDave, chief addict, except when he’s been freshly convicted of being unsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/Jesus-contentment/Jesus-humility, to the seculars around him might experience the love of Jesus

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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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No dependency, no peace.

Independents never experience the peace that surpasses understanding-idolatry.  Independents who claim to follow Jesus are to be pitied above all humans.  They don’t experience the benefit of Jesus.  Only dependents are dead to their flesh, dead to their own worthiness, dead to all the idols/addictions that charm their flesh.  But alive to Jesus.

—DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of the so-what experience, also known as Jesus-dependency/Jesus-contentment/Jesus-humility, for the moment, because of fresh conviction of the sin of independence/confidence-he-knows-what’s-best

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So what if I’m outstanding in my field?

So what if I’m admired by thousands, or millions?  So what if I’m envied by all humans everywhere?  Domatter.  “All labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.” Eccl 4:4  Human worthiness is meaningless.  Domatter.  The only worthiness that matters in this life, is the imputed worthiness of Jesus.  When DAVE’S worthiness matters to Dave, I live in denial of my misery.  A bottomless pit of need for yet-more worthiness.  Life is UP TO DAVE.  I’m never satisfied when my worthiness matters to me.

“I have seen another evil that weighs heavily on men: God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them.” Eccl 6:1

We have bought into the lie that human achievement/worthiness matters.  It doesn’t.  Not even ministry worthiness.  But our flesh THINKS it matters.  And so does the Church.  And the worst part, is, we pay a horrible price: “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?  All his days his work is pain and grief: even at night his mind does not rest.” Eccl 2:22  Believers on the achievement treadmill are to be pitied above all men.  We have not the benefit of Jesus.

Work is not the problem.  Do work you enjoy, not work to make you feel worthy.  Enjoy the process, not the results.  Work that defines your identity, is slavery.  Because it’s never enough, never finished.  Contentment is the litmus-paper test.  Worthiness/somebodiness is way-over-rated, and the imputed worthiness/somebodiness of Jesus is way-under-rated.  This is the message of Ecclesiastes for Christians.

I ONLY experience contentment — enjoy my work, enjoy others and myself just as we are, and enjoy Jesus and His genius plan for our lives, when the Spirit freshly convicts me of the sin of independence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best.  ShepherdDave knows what’s best and never experiences contentment, because the imputed worthiness of Jesus is unsatisfying to him.  Only DumbSheepDave is satisfied with Jesus: asking, thanking, curious, expectant to see what his ReigningShepherdJesus does NEXT, in him, others, circumstances.  Ahhh.  Contentment is a priceless gift from Above.

Problem is, it doesn’t last long.  Ongoing need for the convicting work of the Spirit.

“The sleep of a laborer [a nobody] is sweet, but the abundance of a rich man [somebody, outstanding in his field] permits him no sleep.” Eccl 5:12 “All his days he eats in darkness, frustration, affliction, and anger.” Eccl 5:17  Striving for excellence is brutally stressful.

—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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How can I tell if I’m following Jesus?

Jesus said to Simon Peter and Andrew, “Come, follow Me. And I will make you fishers of men.”  If I’m not a fruitful fisher of men, I’m not following Jesus.  I’m only kidding myself.  I’m actually following ME.  The key to reproduction — to being seed fallen on fertile soil that produces a hundred, sixty or thirty-fold, is following Jesus, not following self.  Jesus-dependency, not independency.  Only the self-aware and self-accepting can bear to see how terribly unfruitful we are, how terribly in need we are of overhaul by Jesus’ Spirit, so we are way-more Jesus-dependent, and way-less independent.  Recognizing the problem is half the solution.

—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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