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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Buddhists understand the importance of surrender,

loving what is, being comfortable with the unknown.  What they don’t understand, is how much easier it is to live peacefully like a Buddhist, as a Jesus-dependent, rather than a self-dependent, where life is UP TO ME.  Surrendering, loving what is, being comfortable with the unknown, in my own power, is so-much harder than simply confessing my INdependence/autonomy/willfulness/agenda/unbelief-in-Jesus’-sovereign-reign.  Impossible to be Jesus-dependent — clueless-I-know-what’s-best, without believing He is totally sovereign over everything and everyone.  

We humans try and control our circumstances because we’re confident-we-know-what’s-best.  INdependence, not DEpendence.  So while Buddhists have a great goal — an other-worldly peace, they have to rely on their own power to get there.  Course, we Christians have the same problem — trying to follow Jesus in our own strength, leaning on our own understanding, wise in our own eyes.  The more Jesus grows us Christians in self-awareness, the more we’ll see our failure at following Him — our failure at believing He knows best, so the more we’ll CONFESS, which gets us back to being clueless-we-know-what’s-best.  Ahhh.  Confession is the pathway to happiness.  Blindness/denial is the pathway to stress, frustration, malcontentedness.  Seed cast on thorny soil that does not reproduce.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who is so pathetically weak and dysfunctional that the sovereignty of Jesus isn’t optional, but essential 

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EasIER is not the best.

My flesh believes easIER is the best, and my flesh enormously influences my life, so that my biggest idol, is easIER.  But easIER is not the best.  Scripture says the BEST is whatever Jesus has for me this day, week, month, year.  My flesh says the BEST is whatever is easIER, or easIEST.  My flesh knows NOTHing about delivering happiness to Dave, but it THINKS it does, and it convinces ME it does, in my less-sane moments.  When I believe my flesh’s view of reality, I simply become further addicted to trying to control my world.  And getting my way, just strengthens my addiction.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Scripture’s view of reality rather than the flesh’s view, in hopes that Christians — especially DAVE, might be Jesus-dependent rather than INdependent, so the surrounding seculars might actually want something Christians have

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If government were efficient and effective,

billionaires like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who vote Democrat would be donating billions to US government programs, but instead, they donate billions to non-profit organizations to solve societal problems.  Government is run by bureaucrats, not innovators.  Creative types don’t become bureaucrats.  They hate bureaucracy.  Centralized planning didn’t work in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and it’s bankrupting Europe, Japan and the USA.  And young people today want MORE centralized planning, MORE government solutions to societal problems.  Republicans love big government too — love big military, and love war and being a superpower, rebuking and pressuring other nations, as much as Democrats.   The USA is way-too big for democracy, way-too big for centralized, government planning.   We need to be fifty separate nations, each with its own currency, rather than fifty states of The Self-appointed Superpower Policeman of the World.  Trillions of dollars flowing through DC corrupting everyone in its path.  Politicians don’t control our government — bureaucrats and lobbyists do.   Politicians don’t control foreign policy — the CIA and lobbyists do.   Government invites corruption.  Power corrupts.  Big power, big corruption.   Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, do not have the answers for managing such a massive economy, massive empire, especially where voters are so divided.  But the establishment in academia, entertainment, big business, big Church, big media, and political parties, all think it’s possible.  And always communicate optimism about the future, “If things were only done OUR way.”  Seems to me all of them have been wrong.  Misplaced optimism.  Whistling past the graveyard.  We are a dysfunctional nation becoming more dysfunctional every day, living in denial of our dysfunction.  The emperor has no clothes! 

When government-dependency replaces God-dependency, the result is INdependency — being wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding.  Widespread dysfunction.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, posting his final political rant

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Why doesn’t Jesus give me easIER?

All my friends and family would vote for easIER for me.  My flesh DEMANDS easIER, instead of this ridiculously harrrd I have much of the time — when life seems hardly worth living.  If Jesus REALLY loves me as He says He does, why doesn’t He give me easIER? 

Because Jesus loves me more than all my friends and family do, and is willing to give me suffering in order to grow me yet-more dependent on Him, yet-LESS dependent on my flesh’s view of reality.  Jesus seems intent on not giving me what my flesh wants, but rather what is BEST for me — yet-more growth in Jesus-dependency.  OKOKOK it feels like it’s time for Him to grow OTHERS — not more for me.

But Scripture reminds me that suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency.  Only Jesus-dependents experience joy and peace that have nothing to do with circumstances.  Pearl of great price, worth selling all to get.  Being retrained in yet-more Jesus-dependency is painful, but it’s good painful, healing painful, redemptive painful.  Makes no sense to the right-side-up kingdom of this world — my flesh and the flesh of other humans.  Makes perfect sense in the Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus. 

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, wanting easIER in his less-sane moments — influenced by his flesh’s view of reality

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Where you excel,

is the area of your greatest idolatry — that which brings you artificial LIFE, that which causes you to be UNsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed excellence.  This is the area where you are the most failure-avoidant, defensive, intense, agendafied, where your joy and peace are most circumstance-dependent, making you a difficult person to live with, work with.  People around you need to give you lots of grace, and these people tend to become unusually gracious over time.  The intensity of your idolatry is used by Jesus to retrain THEM in graciousness.  Or they can’t take it anymore, and leave.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, embarrassed to admit he’s been married for 57 years to a lady Jesus has been growing unusually gracious over years of living with DAVE

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Jesus-power is like having a superpower,

an alien power, kinda like that possessed by Superman — uncharacteristic for normal humans.  Bystanders are wowed.  When you operate with Jesus-power, you are a channel of grace into the lives of others, both Christian and nonChristian, adult and child — even your OWN child — especially your own child.

Sadly, using your own puny power, instead of using Jesus’ power in your life and ministry, is normal, expected, but boring.  When you are confident-you-know-what’s-best, leaning on your own understanding, wise in your own eyes, you are using your own puny, human power.  INdependent, not Jesus-dependent.  Proud, not humble.  When you are Jesus-dependent you are clueless-you-know-what’s-best, trusting that HE knows, so you are curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in you, others, circumstances.  When you are Jesus-dependent, you are operating with HIS power, wisdom, understanding, not your own. 

But you get no credit, no glory, for operating with Jesus-power, because the only way you get Jesus-power, is by the Spirit freshly opening your eyes to see your sin of INdependence.  Jesus-dependency is a fruit of the Spirit’s work, not your work.  Is there anything you can do?  You can ASK for the Spirit afresh, claiming the promise of Luke 11.  Good to surrender the timetable for when that prayer might be answered, but this is harrrd, for us Christians, wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding, in trying to direct the CreatorSustainer of the Universe through prayer.

When you operate with Jesus-power you operate without inhibition — living with reckless abandon.  When you operate with Jesus-power you are never circumstance-dependent for your joy and peace.  To operate with Jesus-power means being freshly dead to your flesh’s confidence-it-knows-what’s-best.  Dead to your agenda.  Alive to Jesus’ agenda.  To be clueless-you-know-what’s-best, is to be despised by Americans outside the Church, and inside too.  Not cool for an adult to be so lowly — so pathetically DEpendent, without any power of your own.  We like our leaders STRONG, in charge.

The biggest problem of Christian leaders/followers, seems to me, is a lack of self-awareness, causing us to imagine we are following Jesus when we are not.  “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,” Jesus said.  Self-deception.  Just because Jesus has grown me a lot in self-awareness so He’s enabled me to somewhat see the problem, doesn’t mean I’m better than others.  I just somewhat see the problem.  But my hungry, needy, competitive flesh wants me to think I’m better.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who operates with Dave-power somewhat less than he used to, because he’s more-frequently convicted of the sin of INdependence

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Looking for something, anything, other than You, Jesus.

Thank You, Lord, for the work of Your Spirit in our lives, convicting us at times, of our pursuit of meaningful, rewarding living apart from You, exposing to ourselves, our foolishness, stupidity, idolatry.  Thank You that no matter how much our flesh has tried, over and over and over, it has never EVER found any accomplishment, any success, any possession, any relationship, that compares to living and working out of communion with You, dependent on You, dead to our flesh, curious/expectant to see what You do NEXT, in us, others, circumstances.  

And when we DO pray to You, it’s typically because we want You to DO something for us, or someone we love.  Seems so holy, but  truth is, we’re just USING You to get what our flesh is convinced is best, will make us/others happIEST.  Thank You, that the nicest, sweetest, kindest thing you ever do for us, is to open our eyes afresh to see how self-absorbed — how INdependent, we really are.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, neediest of all, but promoting Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness to Christians — especially DAVE, in hopes that the Spirit might overhaul Christians in our day, so seculars are attracted to an overflowing Jesus in Christians

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