Who is the greatest Christian alive today?

Surprise.  Jesus said, the childlike are.  The weak, meek, humble — the Jesus-dependents who embrace and enjoy their weakness, lowliness, are not bothered by the threat of losing somebody status — adultlike/shepherd status, and having it replaced with a lowly, nobody status.  The ones who need to be somebodies, adultlikes, shepherds, worthy, in order to feel good about ourselves, are treasuring the values of the right-side-up kingdom of this world, independent, agendafied, wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding.  The Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus, has different values, operates with a different power.  Not human power.  No wonder we believers are failing to impact the world around us.  We are not salt and light, but just like them.

Childlikeness/dependency is impossible to generate from within, is a fruit of the Spirit’s work in the heart of a believer.  A believer gets zero credit for childlikeness/dependency/faith.

–DumbSheepDave, baby stepping in more-dependent directions because folks have been praying, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making

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“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,

which is hypocrisy,” said Jesus.   Hypocrisy?  Trying to appear strong/together.  Dishonest about weaknesses, failure, neediness.  Invisible pride.  Appearing strong/together/un-needy has unconsciously been my main core value all my adult life, I now see.  Nurtured by the society around me, outside the Church, and inside too.  Satan loves the Church operating just like the world around It, by human power, like the Pharisees, so It’s neutralized, impotent, fruitless, saltless — of no use.  Independent, not Jesus-dependent.

How do I change?  Impossible.  I need Jesus working in me, exposing more and more of the yeast-like independence that seeps into every area of my life.  So I can confess more.  Invisible pride.  Satan hates me confessing, and loves me trying harder to change, trying to believe better, depend better.  And hate myself when I fail.  Pride.  Jesus-dependency is impossible without Jesus working by His Spirit, freshly convicting me of the sin of independence.

–DumbSheepDave, having the best year of his life, because folks have been praying, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing

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How do I get fresh faith?

Is faith like a muscle I exercise, so I get credit for something I initiated/generated?   No, faith is something granted by God.  Jack Miller once told Rose Marie that the starting place for faith, is conviction of sin.   When I first heard that back in the 80’s, on a recording of Rose Marie teaching women in her home from Romans, I was amazed, and that understanding has profoundly helped me ever since.

The starting place for fresh faith, is fresh conviction of sin.  I cannot convict myself of my sin, cannot make myself believe/repent, but what I can do, is ask for the Spirit afresh, to come and convict me of my sin, so my eyes are freshly opened to seeing the awful truth about myself, that I’m much worse than I ever imagined, so I can CONFESS my sin, and feel like the town sinner in Luke 7 who loved much because she had a sense of having been forgiven much: loved Jesus much, loved others much, even enemies.  Wow.

When I’m bummed by my sin, that’s not humility, but pride.  Satan doesn’t want me CONFESSing my sin, doesn’t want me feeling completely forgiven, wants me full of self-contempt, wants me trying harder to do better next time.  CONFESS is anathema to Satan.  And to my flesh.   ProudDave strives to fix himself.  HumbleDave enjoys himself just as he is, just as Jesus enjoys him, and he enjoys others, just as they are, even his enemies.  Wow.

–ProudDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of pride, so he’s momentarily HumbleDave, experiencing the ecstasy/life compelling to pre-believers (please pray now)

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Proud believer enjoys himself,

when winning, but hates himself when losing or mediocre.  Humble believer enjoys himself when winning, losing or mediocre.

Proud believer loves himself conditionally, based on performance.  Humble believer loves himself unconditionally, just as he is, just as Jesus loves him.

Proud believer is selfish/self-absorbed, loves others conditionally, and is indifferent to Jesus.  Humble believer loves others unconditionally, even his enemies, and loves Jesus with all his heart.

–ProudDave, powerless to change himself, needing prayer to be freshly convicted of his sin of pride so he’s HumbleDave, so the pre-believers around him will want LIFE also (please pray now)

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A fool is confident,

he can help others find happiness in this life.   A fool is confident he can engineer happiness for himself, even though he’s pathetically confused about it all, and doesn’t realize it.   Only a dependent asks Jesus for help in helping others find happiness.   Only a dependent ask Jesus about everything in his own life.   Fools assume or willfully do, because we are confident.  Fools know what’s thankable and what’s not.  Dependents thank and ask Jesus about everything, because He is their Shepherd and knows what’s best for them.

–ConfidentDave, needing prayer to be DependentDave, experiencing the bliss of Jesus-dependency, so the pre-believers around him will want a Shepherd too (please pray now)

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The ultimate blessing in this life,

is when the Spirit of Jesus opens my eyes to see how pathetically helpless I am — powerless to make my life work, to engineer happiness for myself and those I love. I see this in my saner moments, and then I’m actually thankful for my pathetic helplessness. And enjoy it! Am comforted by it. Usually, however, I’m in denial, needing to be rescued from the Curse of independency, the idiotic notion my ancestors Adam and Eve had, that independency produces happiness, that being free to captain my soul, master my fate, will bring me contentment in this life. Independency brings me misery. Only dependency on Jesus has ever made me happy. Independency is an illusion, a myth, perpetrated on me by the alliance of the world, flesh, devil. Why? So I operate by puny human power, like pre-believers, undermining my fruitfulness with them. Why? If I cannot see how pathetically helpless I am apart from Him, how would they know/see, and why would they be interested in Him, apart from whether there’s a Heaven or Hell? Most don’t believe in an afterlife, and afterlife is only one of the benefits to following Jesus.

I don’t think I’m alone in running from pathetic helplessness. The Church seems little different than the world in the kind of leaders we seek: strong, confident, successful, make-it-happen. Independent/agendified/driven. Oh sure, we Christian leaders learn to put on airs of humility and camouflage our independence. Unconsciously. Satan could not be more pleased. No wonder we’re no threat to the enemy’s hold over pre-believers in our day. No wonder we’re the laughingstock of the watching world. Without Jesus-humility and Jesus-love, how could we believers possibly be one, that the world might believe? Human power, not Jesus power.

–StrongDave/ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he is momentarily transformed into pathetically helpless DumbSheepDave, asking and thanking about everything, curious and expectant to see what ShepherdJesus will do next, in Dave, others, circumstances, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by the difference Jesus makes in his life, and want a Shepherd too (please pray now)

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Ministry idolatry exposed.

My flesh loves to get LIFE from ministry success, and so Jesus frequently thwarts my plans/efforts so the pain of the failure snaps me back to reality, where freshly convicted of my sin, I also realize that He is lovingly retraining me in a better way to live: dependent on Him, not needing any performance of my own, hardly caring about anything else in my life, but Him.  The Jesus in me is only contagious to others, when I’ve been freshly convicted of my sin, so I’m freshly humble, freshly enjoying Him, others, myself, and my circumstances, just as they are.  Miracle.  Priceless.

–ShepherdDave, always needing thwarting, and convicting, so he’s returned to being DumbSheepDave, without a care in the world, compelling to the pre-believers around him (please pray now)

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Becoming a dumb sheep is a repulsive concept

to a shepherd.  Why would any shepherd, want to be a dumb sheep?   Ultimate humiliation.   Moving from being the lofty, respected, wise and resourceful independent, all the way down to the most dependent of all: a dumb sheep, not having enough sense to come in out of the rain, needing to be shepherded, needing to be protected from self, like a toddler.   So why would any Christian or nonChristian, functioning as a shepherd, want to walk away from that high and lofty place, and go down, down, down, to the lowly, humiliating place, of functioning as a dumb sheep, dependent for everything?

Only one reason.   Life isn’t working anymore, trying to be my own shepherd, so I’m looking for something else, something better.  Only failures who know they are failures, are even remotely interested in the notion that life as a dependent offers priceless advantage over life as an independent.

–DumbSheepDave, giving up on the notion that his worldview is appealing to all the shepherd pre-believers and believers around him, for only the failures who know they are failures, seem at all interested (please pray now for more dependency in his life)

Financial update: A number of folks gave surprising gifts in December and we ended the year in the black by $3500, which is a needed help for 2012.   Thank You, Jesus!    🙂

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