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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Impossible to be humble and impatient.

Only the proud are impatient.  Only the proud have contempt for others, and suppressed self-contempt, and are self-deceived about their competitive need to feel superior.

A humble man enjoys himself just as he is, and others, just as they are.  A humble man feels no need to feel superior to others.  A humble man is not agendafied, is not willful, is not hurried, is not worried.  Only the humble experience a deep peace, a deep contentment.  Impossible to be humble and unhappy.  Only the proud/confident-they-know-what’s-best experience unhappiness.  Only the proud experience frustration, stress.  Only the proud feel shame.  Only the proud gossip.  Only the proud are divisive.  Only the proud are miserable, unhappy, discontent with their circumstances, discontent with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, and His genius plan for their lives, because only the proud are confident-they-know-what’s-best.  Only the proud resist listening to, engaging, the opposition.  Only the proud are unwilling to fail, unwilling to lose everything.  The proud are to be pitied above all humans.

—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who’s been spending a lot of time in the Book of Proverbs, being exposed to his pride, as Spirit of Jesus has been opening his eyes

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The opposite of ambition, is contentment.

Only the ambitious are proud.  Only the humble are contented.  Impossible to be humble and ambitious.  Impossible to be proud and contented.

Only a humble man is contented with how Jesus made his body, made his mind, shaped his personality, engineered him into his present job, house, car, clothes, financial health/dysfunction, marriage/singleness, children, relatives, relationships.  Contented with His genius plan for his life, just as it is, and for the genius plan for our nation, and the world, just as it is.  Contented with His sovereign reign over all.  Only the humble man is curious and expectant to see what Jesus does NEXT, in himself, others, circumstances.  Only the humble man has a healthy indifference as to his worthiness or unworthiness.

A believer only experiences humility when freshly convicted of his sin of confidence-he-knows-what’s-best/independence/pride/worldliness — his dissatisfaction with Jesus and His imputed worthiness.

—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, clear-sighted about the sins of others, because his ShepherdJesus has been revealing so much of his own sin to him

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Jesus provides contentment,

but only to the freshly humble — those freshly DEAD to their own worthiness, reputation, financial security, job security, relationship security…those freshly unfazed at the possibility of losing everything, willing to be nobodies, losers, pitied by all.  Because the freshly humble find so much contentment in Jesus alone.  Jesus is ENOUGH for the freshly humble.

—ShepherdDave, worthIERness addict who rejects lowliness/weakness, craves strength/control/excellence/superiority, except when the Spirit freshly convicts him of pride/independence/confidence-he-knows-what’s-best, so he’s momentarily DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-dependency/Jesus-contentment/Jesus-humility, so the nonbelievers around him might experience the other-worldly love of Jesus

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Impossible to be a contented enjoyer

of everyone and everything just as it is, unless I’m actively believing in the sovereignty of Jesus (see Him behind everyone and everything, not just nature, but every man-made thing, every bad design, every jerk, every loser, including ShepherdDave, as part of His handiwork as the CreatorSustainer of the Universe), I will be circumstance-dependent for my joy and peace.  Like ShepherdDave.  Claiming the Lordship of Jesus, claiming to believe in His sovereignty, but without the benefit.  Unable to enjoy my current prosperity and accomplishments, always focused on the next.  More.  Better.  Self-absorbed.  Intense.

—ShepherdDave, Christian malcontent, except when he’s been freshly convicted of being confident-he-knows-what’s-best/independent/Dave-dependent, so he might momentarily be DumbSheepDave, enjoying the bliss of Jesus-contentment/Jesus-dependency/Jesus-humility, so the nonbelievers around him might experience the love of Jesus

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