Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The New Man

"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of Its creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all." Col 3:9-11

Can I just say it?! Your new nature is really attractive!

With this in mind it is time to take a deeper look at who we are. I am not in favor of behavior management, I am in favor or character reformation. If we believe that we have no responsibility to our character, we have neglected our new nature.

In our old self we all are insecure, indecisive, helpless, full of doubt, lost... Fill in the blank. But let's be clear here, we are all placed in the same category in our old self. There is no distinction between us because in essence we are living dead as the old man.

Similarly, once we abandon the old man and take on the new man, that is the man that has been resurrected in life with Jesus, we are all in the same position. As we take on the new man we are all made holy and blameless and are completely justified by the cross. (see Eph 1 or Col 3) As the new man there is no distinction between you and me. There is no separation or definable difference in our position. Granted the Lord has placed upon us a unique manifestation of himself, but we all arise as one in Christ as we take on the new man.

This is great news. It is great because I am no longer responsible to the old man. I am responsible for the new man. And in the new man there is hope, joy, peace, endurance, faith, righteousness, holiness... There is Christ. I am responsible to Christ, and Christ alone.

I find myself having a hard time valuing personal testimony (really just mine) because in Titus 3:3-8 it outlines everyone's testimony. "At one time you too were foolish, disobedient... But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us..." We were all once darkness, but now have been made children of light as Eph 5:8 claims.

So the burning question is this: Do you believe it? Do you believe it enough to set aside the old man, all the insecurity, all the hurt, pain, poverty, restlessness and take on the new man who is full of glory? Do you believe it enough to not go there anymore, to those places that are dark, cold and leaving you feeling alone? Do you believe it enough to leave behind the attitude of "I just need to get myself together"?

Do you believe it enough to let Jesus find rest in your life?

Do you believe it enough to, not just make him a room, but give him full access to your house?

May we start from this day forward being the new man and setting aside the old. From this day forward may I never see another person outside of Christ.

Until then, I hope you receive a revelation of love the next time you take a sip of coffee (or tea if you prefer).

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Sometimes I have no idea what to title some of these blog posts... so I just put down the first thing that came to me.

I just went back and read a couple of my blogs and it is really interesting to see the different moods I was in that resulted in an awakening in Christ. Some responses were frustration, angst, hunger, rejoicing... all these have lead me into a deeper yearning for the word, the living word.

I spent a few privileged hours with some new friends and was in awe of the conversation. I walk in, sit down and BAM! Jesus. More and more I am understanding the reality that his name is literally enough. His name holds all things and in all things is his name. I can't get enough of that conversation. I can't get enough of those words.

There has been a shift in my mind that has led me away from myself and into something much more deep and profound... tho I find myself unable to speak in most instances. Urges are placed upon my heart and a longing to partake in the transformation of our community but I get nothing. I see what we should do, what I should do... and then I come and Jesus does it, without me saying a word. His name is enough.

Psalm 19 says,
"The heavens declare the glory of God,
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech,
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."

As we were sitting in the jacuzzi I was overwhelmed by the response of creation to its creator. The heavens declare the glory of God. Day after day creation speaks... I want in that conversation. I want to hear what creation has to say. I want to see the skies and hear a proclamation of the work of His hands. "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Ps 19:14

I dare you to take a gander into the names of the Lord. Make a list of them and see if that is not enough. Then once you know his name, take a look at creation and sit in awe of what you hear. I then dare you to ask him for anything, because you will see that he has already given you everything.

Until then may we understand that we have, in Christ, been made a new creation, a new man... forever changed by the grace of our redeemer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The fight starts with us...

I am sure that most anyone who finds themselves on Facebook has seen something about Kony 2012. I watched the documentary and it was incredible. If you haven't had a heart for Africa before... maybe you should watch the video here and get one...

Before I go into this, I would like it noted that I am listening to my Michael Bolton Pandora station. If you do not have that station, I would highly recommend creating one.

On the topic of social injustice... I remember my sophomore year of college for one reason, Sociology 101. I did a really good job at picking teachers who gave you way too much work for a 101 Gen Ed class (please note the sarcasm). But now I am thankful for that because part of my Sociology class was about what was going on in Africa- Child soldiers, Diamond/Gem mining and corrupt Government.

I chose diamond mining as a topic to research because it seemed the easiest of the three subjects, but once I got into it... I never went back. I won't go too much into the nitty gritty because quite frankly I am not nearly as educated about it as I should be. BUT- that does not put out the flame that was ignited because of that knowledge. Back to my project, I researched diamond mining and came across and array of injustice that just made my stomach turn. Not only is it slavery... but we support it without even knowing it.

If the man who wants to marry me buys me a diamond ring to propose, he will have a really bad day. It won't be a deal breaker... but I would hope he would know that I have no desire to ever buy a diamond even if it is "certified". It just won't happen. I love the way they look and would never judge anyone who wants or has them, it's just not for me.

It is incredible that we can live in such a technological world but not know about the injustice that is all around us. Even watching movies like 'Taken' or 'Blood Diamond' or 'Hotel Rhwanda' should spark an interest in us to find out what is actually true about these subjects. Just walking through the streets of Redlands makes you aware that we are not immune to the struggles of this world and the hierarchy of power.

I am an advocate for people, in all realms of this life. I often don't get too involved with too many social issues because it leaves me frustrated that I am not doing anything about it. BUT I AM- because my dollar is the biggest voice I have- so I won't buy what you are offering if it means injustice-

Quick history on my history with where my money goes- First off as a kid I would never buy the off brand because it just didn't taste the same, there was a quality in a brand that took the time to create a product that was good, even if it was just candy. Then as I started learning of slave labor I stopped buying things that were made in China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand etc unless I knew the history of the company that was actually trying to provide jobs in that area- not just taking advantage of women and children who had no choice. That took up a majority of my teens and even now- and then diamond mining entered the picture so I will never buy a diamond even if it is certified because it is almost impossible to track a diamond- Then there is food. It is incredible that I have to discriminate where I eat based on where the company sources their food and if the farms they buy from raise NATURAL animals on a NATURAL diet- and not feeding them ground up corpses of the dead animals that died due to disease/malnutrition... I love Chipotle...

Ok, this blog is turning into a platform, which I don't want it to be- All I know is there is something that should spark a fight in us to do something in light of others- Jesus was all about that. If you find yourself in close communion with Him, it won't be long before your heart starts to break for something or someone. I hope you find it, and I hope you learn how you can do your part.

Until then, check out the Kony Campaign... it's incredible.

Monday, March 12, 2012

You asked for it....

So I found myself trying to write another post but each time I tried to write something I read it back and it was just too much... At the time I didn't feel that it would paint me in a very good light because it might come off arrogant... But this is where I invite you in. Anyone is welcome into the realm of what my life has been and if you think I am arrogant or self-promoting I would love to prove you wrong over a cup of coffee....

So, remember, you asked for it.

"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
This is where I start today. All my life I have been set on a path I never really wanted to be on. I did very well in school and sports and as soon as I proved so I was expected to show the same results. It's not that the expectation was bad, but rather why the expectation was there.
I know 'expectation' doesn't sit well with most people but I truly think that we are to expect things from one another. Especially if we have made it to those trustworthy places with one another. Now before I get off track let me back up... There was a burden laid upon me to perform, and to perform well. So when those moments came that I fell short there was an immense affect on my confidence. This is only in the areas of school and sports... But as I watch my life I see that spill onto everything that I did.
Once I realized I did not reach the expectation and punishment, or rather consequences, were not rightfully placed, I gained insight into apathy. I had to cope with my personal disappointment so I decided to just become numb. But in that process I didn't realize that it was making me lack care for those around me... Thus forcing people out of my life and when they left, they left open holes all over my heart.
Ok so fast forward a few years to where the understanding came in. I look back on that and realize what affect that had on my relationships and man... Did I really do myself in. Now I could sit here and say that my surroundings brought this on, but I don't think so. Instead of standing up for myself against accusers with the truth, I chose to continue to cover my shame with lies. I chose it. No one else chose this for me.
My apathy turned me away from God because since I didn't care, he probably didn't either.... What a bunch of bologna!

So how do you come around that? How do you change? Well, first off I had to realize that I was completely selfish and wrapped in my own mind of defeat. So step one, get out of yourself.
How can you come unto Jesus if you are lost in yourself? Easy. Change your focus from self- to Him, the eternal life giver. Why do we make things so complicated when Jesus offers us an alternative to what we are doing? Why do I need to read a self-help book when Jesus says 'come into me.... And I will give you rest'? In His rest I can accomplish all my hearts desires. In His rest I can experience the fullness of his grace. In His rest my life becomes full of joy because my strife is no where to be found. In His rest I no longer have to hold onto the excuses for my behavior. In His rest I am confident in myself even when I have to confront my sin, because in His rest my sin he never remembers.

So before you tell me about your struggles, enter into His rest. I don't see the point in unleashing ourselves before we have found Him in the midst of everything we do. Venting outside of wisdom seems dangerous, but venting frustrations inside the rest of Jesus changes us and edifies us and encourages deeper things of Christ to be manifest in us...

Now I know this is all over the place but somehow we need to grasp that we aren't living until Jesus is living within us. That means in everything. In our day to day coming and going, he should take first priority over the shortcomings (or victories) of my life. For HE is my destiny, and any other offer just isn't good enough.

Until next time I hope you find yourself immersed in the rest of Jesus, and I pray to God that we will never lose sight of who He is because without him we are merely bones.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Layovers = ample blog time

As some of you know, I flew to Florida this weekend for a quick vacation. My brother, his fiancé and I were able to get a free flight from my uncle... So awesome! The only setback is flying stand-by. We were almost separated on the way to Tampa due to a lack of open seats but luckily Josh was able to make it on. But, the inevitable did happen on our way to Denver. Josh didn't get on the flight so Nicole and I went, leaving Josh behind. To make a long story short, Josh is now on a plane to Ontario while Nicole and I are waiting out our 5 hour layover due to a delayed plane in Las Vegas... I'm not sure how this worked out?!
So other than writing a song about waiting in an airport (which I am sure has been done by Owl City or Death Cab) I decided to write a blog... I mean how many times can you watch Harry Potter in 5 hours?!

I am reading this book called "The Stewardship of the Mystery" by T. Austin Sparks. It is so good mainly because it is all about Christ but begs the question what are we to do about him? This has been my question recently... So we believe in Christ. What are we doing about it? Sparks suggests that we respond to him by being the body... But being the body in His fullness. Now that sounds easier said than done.
It strikes me a bit uncomfortably on the rear that so many believers still have a mindset that they are not worthy, or have not been made whole on Christ. We have not fully understood that our old self (Adam and the entire race he represents) has infancy been buried in the grave and our new self has been resurrected in Christ (our is meaning the body as a whole). How many lectures, encounters, experiences, revelations will it take to get this point across? Sometimes just writing about it agrivates me because I realize I'm not being all that productive... But seriously, what will it take? I don't mind repeating myself but what I don't like is words falling on deaf ears.
I have two things that I am going to do, and I hope many others will also.
1. I will actually believe that Jesus paid the price to unleash heaven on earth so I therefore have an abundance of resources, access, and inheritance in Him. I will actually believe for heaven on earth.
2. I will no longer go back to before the cross where I am judged for my sins. I will stand on the platform that Christ has given me that I am blameless and whole.

I truly feel that if we could just start with these two things then we could change the face of the Church in one quick swoop... People would be so captivated in our confidence before Christ and our unwavering knowledge and belief of the realities of heaven... They won't know what to do! Well, it has to start somewhere, so it might as well be here!

Here's to the days of old that we shall never feel shame for and to the days of now, which is Christ.