Best thing about failure,

is the opportunity it provides me to treat myself like Jesus treats me: with unconditional love.  Historically, I’m much harsher with myself than my earthly dad ever was with me.  That’s typical of adult children who were not loved perfectly.  Unconditionally.

So what faith/repentance looks like for ShepherdDave, is being convicted by the Spirit of my independence idolatry, being temporarily returned to being DumbSheepDave, where I can extend to myself the same grace/compassion/enjoyment that my ShepherdJesus extends to me.  Ahhh.  Priceless.  Just as I am.

–DumbSheepDave, loving more and more, the Shepherd’s Spirit convicting him of the sin of independence, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference in 2014

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Can a dumb-sheep-believer plan?

Of course, but much differently than a shepherd-believer.  How so?  Well, a shepherd-believer is confident they know what’s best for self and others, so they analyze, strategize, and then ask Jesus to bless their strategy, and then work intensely, hurriedly, stressfully, to make it happen.  Agendafied.  Don’t get in my way.  Favorite prayer is, “Jesus, please do this/that.”  Bless my agenda.

How does a dumb-sheep-believer plan?  S/he doesn’t know what’s best for self or others, so s/he begins by asking ShepherdJesus if He wants the dumb-sheep-believer to do anything, and if so, how to go about doing it.  And.  The dumb-sheep-believer thanks about everything, just as it is, is not frustrated about anything, is not fearful about anything, and never ever gets discouraged.  The dumb-sheep-believer is in no hurry, has no agenda, unless ShepherdJesus leads, and even then, is curious and expectant to see what ShepherdJesus does next, in the dumb-sheep-believer, others, and circumstances.  The dumb-sheep-believer has no problems, and no jobs to do.  All problems and all jobs are owned by Shepherd-Jesus.  A dumb-sheep-believer just follows.  You can spot a dumb-sheep-believer by their amazing peace, their childlike fun, their holding onto everything very loosely.  And being around them, you feel very loved/cherished/enjoyed, because they don’t have a competitive/agendafied bone in their body.

How can a shepherd-believer become a dumb-sheep-believer?  Impossible.  Only the Spirit of Jesus can make that happen.  And it’s temporary.

–DumbSheepDave, sometimes dependent, when the Shepherd’s Spirit has freshly convicted of the sin of independence, hoping the pre-believers around him have been noticing the difference Jesus has been making over the past year

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Thank You, Jesus, that You didn’t

come for the healthy, together, but for us sicko’s who claim to follow You, but are actually willful, agendafied, wanting You to bless our agendas, competitive, prideful, relishing feeling superior to others, judging the cars they drive, clothes they wear, how they behave, write, talk, obey.  Thank You that grace is for sinners, that we qualify for Your grace.

–DumbSheepDave, feeling freshly unworthy to be in his ShepherdJesus’ sheepfold, but also freshly grateful, hoping pre-believers are noticing the difference in 2013

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It’s okay to be a loser.

The Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus is very different than the right-side-up kingdom of this world, where winner-loser is the paradigm that matters most.  A follower of Jesus has the imputed winnerness/worthiness of Jesus, and that frees the believer from needing to invest the rest of his life proving himself a winner, not a loser.  Following the winner-loser paradigm never leads to happiness, contentment, peace.  Always leads to intensity, stress, misery, as the believer strives for that which is valued by Satan/world/flesh.  Happiness is always fleeting, momentary, at best.  Inside the Believers’ Prison of Loser-avoidance, dwell pathetic addicts — men and women addicted to the winner-loser paradigm for daily living, unsatisfied with the imputed winnerness/worthiness of Jesus.  These men and women are to be pitied above all humans, for we wear the name of Jesus, but have not the benefit of Jesus.

–DumbSheepDave, experiencing LIFE more and more, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making in 2013

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Who are the upright?

Not the sinless.  Not the strong.  Not those with their acts together.  The upright are those freshly convicted of their sin, freshly contrite, undone in an Isaiah-6-sorta way, freshly dead to their own righteousness/worthiness, willing to be pitied, seen as losers/nobodies, freshly humble enough to welcome undeserved grace, freshly humble enough to feel comfortable as created-dependents — dumb sheep needing a shepherd, not knowing what’s best for them, asking and thanking about everything, feeling completely forgiven, completely loved, cherished, by the Shepherd, just as they are, and able to enjoy others and self and circumstances, just as they are.  Freshly filled with a peace that has nothing to do with their circumstances.  Freshly curious and expectant to see what their Shepherd does next, in themselves, others, circumstances.

–DumbSheepDave, grateful for the convicting work of his Shepherd’s Spirit, making him freshly sane for the moment, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making in 2013

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Only a proud believer,

fears humiliation.  A humble believer has a healthy indifference toward failure, success, mediocrity, whatever the outcome.  A proud believer, shepherd, independent, controlling-type, leaning on his own understanding/wisdom, can only tolerate excellence, and is to be pitied above all, trapped in a dreadful, performance prison.  A dumb sheep is fine with whatever the outcome of his Shepherd’s perfect plan, is even thankful, and interestingly, only dumb sheep experience LIFE — joyful, peaceful, fun-filled living.  And only dumb sheep have a contagious Shepherd within, compelling to others.

–DumbSheepDave, grateful for the convicting work of his Shepherd’s Spirit, bringing him back to sanity over and over, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making in 2013

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My responsibility is to,

a) obey, b) believe, c) confess.  Answer: confess.  I cannot generate belief/faith, because faith is a gift from Above.  It is not like a muscle that I exercise.  I don’t exercise/generate faith from within myself.  It is a gift.  But I can confess, when convicted of my sin of unbelief.  When I attempt to be responsible in ministry, or in life, I might be responsible by grace — by the power of the Spirit, or responsible by flesh — by the power of me. When I’m responsible by the power of me, I tend to dumb down the law and dumb down sin to where following Jesus is doable, doing ministry, is doable, obeying is doable.  Up to me.  Kingdom-expanding ministry, even following Jesus, is impossible, without the convicting work of His Spirit.   But when I notice my unbelief, I can confess.  When I’m indifferent to Jesus, prayer, Scripture, I can confess.  When I notice that my ministry idol — or any idol, is strong, I can confess my dissatisfaction with Him.  When I notice self-contempt and others-contempt, I can confess I don’t care about Him, and His view of me or others.

Ahhh.  Fresh conviction/confession.  Completely forgiven.  Deep peace.  Deep contentment, with myself, with others, with Him and His perfect plan for my life, including the harrrd.

–DumbSheepDave, saner, more peaceful, than ever, hoping the pre-believers are noticing the difference Jesus is making in 2013

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The right-side-up kingdom of this world,

and my flesh, and the devil, treasure the winner/strong/confident/proud/somebody/adultlike/shepherd, but the Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus treasures the loser/weak/meek/humble/nobody/childlike/sheep.

Shepherds are not promised carefree peace and happiness, but sheep are.  Shepherds live with tension, stress, misery.  The fruit of worldiness.

For the Church to be the Church, for us to have favor with the watching, skeptical world, we believers need a widespread awakening, overhaul, transformation.  We need a different leadership paradigm, to replace the strong-leading-the-weaker paradigm we currently have.  Worldly, human power replaced by supernatural power.  Impossible without the Spirit of ShepherdJesus.

–DumbSheepDave, embracing his dumb sheepness more and more, because folks have been praying, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making in 2013

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