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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Jesus, You are not Lord,

of us believers.  We are the lords of our lives.  We know what’s best for ourselves and others.  So we want You to bless our plans/agenda for ministry.  Our joy and peace depend on our circumstances, how our ministry is going, how well we’re obeying, or trusting, all about us, instead of Your enjoyment of us, just as we are, and we enjoying ourselves the same.  So we have only fleshly human power, which does not wow the pre-believers around us.  Thank You that they can see what little difference You make in our lives, regarding our joy and peace.  Be glorified by the difference You make in us, going forward.  Thank You for the impossibility of us changing ourselves, so You alone will receive glory if any change happens in the future.

–DumbSheepDave, hanging on the words of his ShepherdJesus more than ever, because folks have been praying, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making in 2013

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Paul Tripp show us,

the power of a preacher being the chief confessor.  For those of you who didn’t see this on my Facebook page.  

Evangelical delusion.  Grace is for failures.
--WeakDave, trying to promote the impossibility of following Jesus in the power of me

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Why always talk about sin, Dave?

Why not be more positive?  Fair question.  Seems to me the Church has dumbed down the law and dumbed down sin, like the Pharisees did, so the Christian life seems doable, possible, the commands keepable.  We believers seem to have the impression that sin is something we occasionally do, when in fact, we never stop sinning: there’s a dark side, self-serving side, to our most-noble, seeeemingly-selfless deeds.  We think of sin in outside-the-cup ways, and spend little time talking about inside-the-cup sin/idolatry, and I think Satan could not be more pleased, at snookering us into believing that the really-bad sin is the technicolor sin, that we believers with our acts together, are pretty good folks.  Pharisee thinking.

I never set out to talk about my sin all the time, but I did begin to ask Pray-ers to pray for my faith life, my dependency on Jesus.  And the way He has answered those prayers over time, is to open my eyes and enable me to see many sins/idols that I never saw previously.  Getting new large glimpses of how much worse I am than I ever dreamed, would be depressing, were it not for the ever-growing foundation of grace in my life, that began in 1984 when Janet and I went through World Harvest’s Sonship Course, which was life-changing for both us.  Today I’m convinced that the nicest, sweetest, kindest, most-loving thing He ever does for me, is to freshly convict me of my sin of independence/self-reliance: my passion for worthiness of my own, unsatisfied with Jesus and His worthiness imputed to me.

When I have a sense of having been forgiven little, I love only a little: Jesus, others, myself.  When I love only a little, I’m critical, judgmental, competitive, rejoicing in the failure of others, both believer and pre-believer, and self-contemptful at my own failure.  I don’t enjoy others just as they are, me just as I am, Jesus and His plan for my life, just as it is.  Circumstance-dependent for my joy and peace.  Having the name of Jesus, but not the benefit of Jesus.  Living as joylessly and peacelessly as the pre-believers around me, because I’m so confident I know what would be best for me and those I love.  Independent not dependent.  ShepherdDave, not DumbSheepDave.

–DumbSheepDave, having an even better year than last year, which was the best year of his life, because folks have been praying

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