We Christians live in denial of our unhappiness,

unfulfillment, dissatisfaction with Jesus and His imputed worthiness.  Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the biggest needs in the Church today, but the problem goes unrecognized by the vast majority of Christian leaders, who themselves live in denial of their unhappiness, unfulfillment, dissatisfaction with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, ever striving, never content, blinded by ministry idolatry.  Whyzat?  Organized religion weirds people, makes us self-absorbed idolators, wanting to be better, do better, so we cannot bear to look inside and discover we are such failures at obeying, following Jesus, thanking Him for everything just as it is, experiencing the peace of His absolute sovereignty.  Denial defines us.  Like it defined the Pharisees.

“I have seen another evil under the sun, and it 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 6:1,2.  Not just financial wealth, but ministry wealth, and honor, too.  We believers have a bottomless pit of need for worthiness of our own, and we are never satisfied. Jesus is never ENOUGH.  A stillborn child is better off, than a believer who is not enabled to enjoy himself just as he is, others just as they are, including jerks and enemies, and SovereignJesus and His genius plan for all of us, just as it is.  We all live in denial.  There is no contagious Jesus in us, because there is so little of Him in us.  We live in denial of what miserable failures we are in being fruitful evangelists.  Nobody wants what we have, because we don’t have anything better than what seculars have, except for Heaven.  Our joy and peace is just as circumstance-dependent as theirs.  We wannabe somebodies as much as they do, and are just as horrified at losing the measure of somebodiness we have, just as avoidant of being losers/nobodies.  And just as willful/impatient/independent/prideful/confident-we-know-what’s-best, just as much leaning on our own wisdom, being wise in our own eyes, just as much control-freaks, just as stressed.  Though we imagine ourselves way-more humble, loving and emotionally/spiritually healthy than we really are.  The wicked seem to be others, not us.  Not saying we’re the wickedest we could be, but that we are bigtime self-deceived about our wickedness/independence/pride.

Five years ago I stumbled across a free e-book that Jesus has used to grow me yet-more self-aware and yet-more self-accepting.  I’m becoming a different person than I was five years ago.  Best thing that’s happened to me since I went through Sonship in 1984.  I’m happier, more peaceful, more contented, than ever in my life, and I think those around me feel better loved.  If you vibrate to the message of this email, suspect you need Jesus to grow you further in self-awareness and self-acceptance, lemme know and I’ll send you a copy of the book, and some notes I’ve written about it.

—Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who is normally just the chief-confessor in his Tuesday posts, but this Saturday has decided to make an exception, and come out of his cowardly closet about what he really thinks, and then resume his role as chief confessor on Tuesday

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Why are we a deeply-divided nation politically?

No humility.  Humility is required for dialog, compromise.  Pride is clear-sighted about the weakness/sin of the opposition, but blind to my own weakness/sin.  Pride fuels war, ISIS, superpower status.  While pride ridicules the opposition, humility respects the opposition, listens to the opposition, attempts to understand them, find common ground.

Wonderful opportunity for Christians to be salt and light in our deeply-divided land, by a contagious humility.  We Christian leaders/followers are skilled at pseudo-humility, but real humility is impossible.  Humility/Jesus-dependency/faith/repentance is not something I can generate from within.  Only happens through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.  Until the Spirit enables us to see the logs in our own eyes, so that we are contrite, undone, we believers will not have a contagious humility, our nation will continue to be deeply divided politically, and we will continue to be a big part of the problem.  And the pre-believers around us will continue to be unwowed by, uninterested in, our Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, what can we do?  We can ask for the Spirit, claiming the promise of Luke 11, that if we ask for the Spirit, He will give us His Spirit — fresh conviction of sin/idolatry.  We who see the problem, are the weakest links — the ones most needy of further overhaul, no matter how much He’s overhauled us to date.

–ShepherdDave, who sometimes sees the problem, but is powerless to convict himself of the sin of confidence/independence/worldliness/pride

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The happiest people in this world.

The happiest people in this world.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-happiest-people-in-the-world?fb_action_ids=10153716708383312&fb_action_types=og.shares

WeakDave, in his saner moments, in awe of the genius plan of Jesus

Are we attempting the impossible today,

in missions, in churchplanting, in local-church ministry?  Or are we just like any other human organization, planning and managing by objective, operating by human power, doing what human power can do — the possible?

We don’t need Jesus for the possible.  Don’t need His power, don’t need to depend on Him.  Leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes, we know what’s best for us and others, and we plan and execute accordingly.  Independence.  Worldliness.  Leaven of the Pharisees.  Independence is Satan’s brilliant temptation to keep the Church from being the Church.  Human powered.  Yawn.  No contagion from believers to nonbelievers.

How do independents become dependents?  How do shepherd-believers become dumb-sheep-believers?  Impossible.  Except by the work of the Holy Spirit, convicting shepherd-believers of the sin of independence.  And it’s a temporary thing.

–DumbSheepDave, experiencing dependency every now and then, by his Shepherd’s Spirit, hoping the pre-believers around him are beginning to notice a difference

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Do we need Jesus for the possible?

The Pharisees so dumbed down the law and sin, that living for God was possible.  Like a six-foot high jump you train to conquer.  But Jesus raised the bar to sixteen feet, and you can’t use a pole.  Impossible.  The Pharisees were pseudo-obedient, pseudo-followers of God.  Humanly possible.

Have we in the Church, also dumbed down the law and sin, to where it’s humanly possible to “follow” Jesus?  Are we really following Jesus, or pseudo-following, pseudo-obeying, pseudo-believing, pseudo-loving, in pseudo-humble fashion, while the watching world yawns?  Is anybody wowed by the Jesus in us, enabling us to do the impossible: live as humbly as He, and as loving as He?  Living and loving in out-of-character-for-us ways, throwing our lives away for Him?  Even in radical ministry today, do we operate by human power, and get human-powered results?  What’s impossible about planning and managing?

Impossible to follow Jesus, unless His Spirit is at work in me, freshly convicting me of my sin of independence/pseudo-dependence, so I’m freshly in love with Him, others, myself, and His perfect plan for my life.  Asking and thanking Him about everything, including the harrrd.  Fresh conviction/dependence/humility doesn’t last long.  And I get no credit, glory.

Francis Schaeffer said, in the chapter The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way, of No Little People, that the central problem of our age is the Church tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. 

“The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

–DumbSheepDave, thankful for the fresh conviction of his Shepherd’s Spirit especially at times over the past year, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference his Shepherd has been making

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What sin does God hate most?

Abortion?  Prostitution?  Drugs?  Sins of rank heathen?  No.  Listen.

“The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself – the Lord God Almighty declares, ‘I abhor the pride [independence] of Jacob [believers] and detest his fortresses [self-reliance].’”  Amos 6:8

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day didn’t get it, and neither do we believers today.  WE are the problem.  Others are not drawn to the Jesus in us, because there is so little of Him in us.  Because there is so much independence/self-reliance/pride/self-righteousness in us.  So little dependency/humility.  So little supernatural love.  He who has been forgiven little, loves little: loves Jesus little, others little, self little, His perfect plan for each of us, little.  Like the Pharisees, we have dumbed down the law, and sin, to where sin is something we think we do every once in a while, instead of nonstop – there being a dark side to everything we do, no matter how seemingly noble/selfless.

BrothersSisters what can we do?  CONFESS, not redouble our efforts to get it right.  CONFESS.  And we can also ask Him to give us the Spirit afresh – fresh conviction of sin, claiming the promise of Luke 11, that if we ask for the Spirit, He will give us the Spirit.  So I freshly feel loved by Him, just as I am, and freshly love others, just as they are, even enemies, and freshly love self, just as I am, and freshly love His circumstances for me, just as they are.  Miracle.  Ahhh.

–DumbSheepDave, enjoying more dependency/conviction than ever,  hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus has been making in 2013

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Being loved = happiness.

My flesh thinks I’ll find love from accomplishing.  Love from others, love from self.  But this is conditional love.  Selfish.  Prideful.  And the flesh is a bottomless pit of need — it will never be satisfied through performance-based, conditional love.  Self-contempt-avoidance becomes the defining motivation on the fleshly path to happiness.  Ever striving, never arriving.  Pitiful.

The soul also wants happiness through love, but unconditional love.  Only two sources of unconditional love: Jesus, and self.  Both are necessary for happiness.  The only way to experience, be wowed, by unconditional love from Jesus, is through fresh conviction of my sin of independence, so I’m wowed afresh by His amazing grace, amazing love, for such a big sinner.  And the soul who experiences unconditional love from Jesus, but not unconditional love from self, has more sin to confess, so will still lack happiness, and just as badly, also lack the capacity to unconditionally love others, especially enemies.  The sin of self-contempt goes unconfessed in the Church today.  Self-contempt is pride, not humility.  Is this why we believers are so unfruitful today with the skeptics of this world?  Seems we are woefully lacking in the contagious happiness that flows from experiencing unconditional love from Jesus and from self.  Pride, not humility.

–DumbSheepDave, baby steppin in healthier directions because of the work of Jesus in his heart in 2013

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The danger of being a great guy,

is that pre-believers just think, “Dave’s a great guy.”  They are not wowed by Jesus, but by me.  They will only be wowed by the Jesus in me, if they know the real me.  They will only know the real me if I invite them into the closet of my soul, to discover the real me.  I will not invite them into the closet of my soul, unless Dave knows the real Dave — the extent of my independence/dysfunction/sin.  Self-awareness and self-acceptance are crucial to being fruitful with pre-believers, and in my not-so-humble opinion, after having spent many years mentoring Christian leaders, we believers have no clue who we really are, why we do what we do, how independent we really are.  But we think we know ourselves.  Self-deception is the biggest hindrance to believers being fruitful with pre-believers, in my view.  And we believers live in denial of how unfruitful the Church is with pre-believers, especially the turned-off, including the antagonistic.

But I’m thankful for the Church being as sick as we are, because if the Spirit of Jesus is ever poured out in a widespread awakening, transforming us believers so much that the pre-believers around us are wowed, so there is contagion in our society, transforming everything in its path, Jesus will get all the credit, all the glory, and we will get none, and the mainstream media will be wowed and have something to report that is positive, about the Church in our day.  And the mainstream reporters will also want what we have.  “Surely God is with you and there is no other; there is no other god.”  Isa 45:14

–DumbSheepDave, happiest when he’s been freshly convicted of trying to be ShepherdDave, IndependentDave, WinnerDave

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