Primitives…

Many years ago I began to focus on what I like to call the primitives…those primary elements and concepts that reveal the world of reality hidden below the surface.

Things like “water”, “wind”, “spirit”, “word” and my most recent re-calibration…”blood”…

There is no way to underestimate the importance of the blood to a believer, but really its a little bizarre when you think about it…

Whats the fuss? Why not some other body fluid, or even organ?

Why did Jesus not offer up his heart in the Holy of Holys? Why did it have to be blood?

Recently while reading Hebrews again I was struck by the fact that it says the blood cleanses our conscience, not our hearts…(Hebrews 9:13)…

Doesn’t that seem odd to you? I mean if you cleanse the heart, you have cleansed the pump, the core, the main engine for life inside of us, and frankly we have a tradition of “asking Jesus in to our hearts” and not our conscience…

I have yet in over 40 years as a believer heard anyone ask Jesus into their conscience…

I know the verses that place Him in your heart, but honestly if we look at the verses it does not happen by some sinners prayer, it is other methods that causes His presence to become tangible in our “hearts”…the primary method being “by faith”…

According to scripture our conscience is cleansed by the blood…this is the part of us that “knows” us…many of us will think about our conscience as that “Jiminy Cricket” voice that warns us of doing bad things…but this word basically means “to know together with”…in other words our conscience in this verse is how we know ourselves either as we are with God, or with ourselves (since  no one else can get inside of us where the conscience is)…

So really…if we take this verse in context it is telling us that Jesus went into the True Temple to cleanse us in our conscience so we can serve the God of Life…and I think the implied meaning is that He cleanses us, in a place where we know ourselves so that we can function as Priests to God on earth…

So He goes into heaven, so we can be cleansed inside of us, so we can serve as priests here on earth…

That makes the blood highly unusual…

It makes its “trans-dimensional”…

In other words the blood of Jesus functions both in heaven, in us and on earth, which means we are connected to heaven, to ourselves and on earth…and the connection is through a substance made of human/divine DNA that was at one time a physical object on the earth, but now is in a Temple in Heaven somewhere for eternity…

And one last thought…the issue for cleansing seems to be in how we know ourselves…doesn’t that strike you as a little odd? The issue is apparently not sin (which He has done away with) the issue for each of us is knowing we are clean and free to serve Him from a different life source.

In other words if you continue to think about yourself the same way you did before you encountered Jesus and the blood, then your life energy will be from a wrong source of power, but the point of the blood is to cleanse you in how you know yourself so you can serve God as a Priest fully free and engaged in Heaven and Earth.

It seems that a subtle emphasis is placed on cleansing the part of us that knows us…its as if our “knower” has gone all wacky…almost like we have eaten from a tree that promises knowledge of good and evil but the knowledge itself corrupts our operating system…its like the blood is an “anti-virus” program that roots out those hacked programs that exploit your computer and make it crash.

Blood…

Think about it.

Primitive.

Raw.

Powerful.

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Gods evil plan to save the world…

I love cartoons…especially the newer ones, Randy Cunningham 9th Grade Ninja is one of my more recent favorites…in an episode I have listened to about a hundred times I hear him tell his Nemesis “Oh McFist, you should have ninja-proofed your house”…

I love that line…because every time I hear it I am reminded that the devil in all his advanced thinking forgot to “Jesus-proof” his house when he took Jesus to the cross and then to death and whatever it is is you believe about hades, the grave, hell…the minimum we know is that Jesus made an open show of the devil triumphing over him through the work of the cross and the resurrection proves it…

Jesus spoiled hell….completely ruined it…busted open the gates and tore the hinges off forever…the only creatures who remain in hell are those who somehow have chosen it because there is absolutely no reason in the courts of heaven for anyone to stay there prior to sentencing from the Throne, if you are alive today, then hell really has no power over you other than deception…the gates cannot hold anyone without their own will being engaged to stay, all because of Jesus…the gates will not prevail according to Him.

Apparently it was all part of Gods plan…a plan that was shrouded in mystery, which is kind of amazing because I get the impression God has a hard time not sharing good news…

So let me show you what a Biblical plan for your life looks like:

Well it starts with you inheriting a Nemesis, a rival, an enemy who is waaaayyyy smarter than you…basically better trained and quite accustomed to exploiting the weaknesses that your earth suit comes pre-equiped with…and he’s an expert on the terrain, has been fighting people just like you for at least 2000 years…

The next part of Gods plan is to let you fail…yep, just let your humanity take over long enough to give your enemy a legal opportunity take you to the cleaners, rip you off and justify the worst possible accusations against you…add a dose of self condemnation and we’re ready to rumble…

This is the part of the plan where from your perspective everything falls apart, God deserving abandons you and you get whats coming to you…the enemy makes sure you are reminded of how badly human you really are and how the Creator Himself is probably disgusted and disillusioned by the turn of events that no one in the universe could have for-seen, let alone created a solution for…

At this point…typically if you DO pray at all, it feels like its landing on deaf ears and the opposite of what you believed for, or at least hoped for manifests…sometimes its so bad you think it would be better to NOT pray at all since the exact opposite seems to be the direct result…

But then something happens, no nothing in the physical or natural realms, something better…there is a shift, a transition that happens inside you, where it once was completely dark and impossible a decision is made to believe anyway, it might be as “low-brow” as “what do I have to lose faith” but regardless of where it comes from there is a change inside that says I will believe in the goodness of God even when everything in my world says it is impossible…

This shift is subtle but a critical part of the plan…it moves you from unbelief into righteousness.

Once God has the tiniest evidence of your righteousness all of heaven moves over to your side of the equation and usually steps completely out of the way of hell…

No one knows whether centuries of deception or just plain old dumbness causes it, but for some reason this is the place where the devil normally believes his own advertising and assumes God has abandoned you….and it is here that he always overplays his hand…he takes more than is allowed for your failure or whatever binding contract he thinks he has over you…it is here that he has been set up and never “Jesus-proofs” his own house…because he takes something from you that legally he has no right to (whether you believe he ever had this right makes no difference at all, because he will act on assumed rights and until heaven intervenes on your behalf you are stuck with his behavior)…

I think that if Jesus had remained on the cross for 3 days then the land would never have been healed…as it was, the devil over-played his hand and buried Jesus deep into the heart of the EARTH…and I think this was planned because in Deuteronomy God says he LOVES the land where they are going…He loves it enough to heal it with a broken pile of earth called Jesus…Jesus made from dust buried in the dust to raise up the dust…

Gods plan from our perspective might seem insane…but since His throne is built on Justice he cannot allow the devil to overplay his hand and Gods design is always to resurrect what hell kills, steals and destroys…

There is one very critical moment though…it is that “righteous shift”…without it heaven must wait in the wings because without faith it is impossible to please Him…and the “just shall live by faith”…that means that life comes to you ONLY on the rails of faith…so that little shift in the darkness is essential because it lays the legal framework for Heaven to move…but it is a very, extremely, savagely thin place…it can always go either way here…it is a razors edge and only a decision of the will can maintain it…it will arrive with no fanfare, no proof, no evidence except “hoped for”…it might even be “in hope AGAINST hope”…

…in other words it is a sliver of pure trust…

But a sliver is all God needs, heck a mustard seed will do in a pinch…it isn’t the size that matters it’s the purity…

See all that pressure, all that accusation, all that rip-off…that’s what Heaven likes to call “fire”…and its there not to create your faith, but to reveal to you that you already have it…

Which means the victory was yours from the very start…

It is such a deliciously clever and almost evil plan…to use the devil to make us like the Son…purified and trusting the Father in spite of blood loss and whip marks…

And the cool thing  is God keeps the vengeance for Himself…but takes it out on the enemy…so even God is having a fun time…

What an evil plan…it just might save the world…

“For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son…that who-so-ever believes (when all else says to the contrary) in him shall be saved…

Truly human

I posted a question on my facebook page asking what does it mean to be truly human…this is not some sort of metaphoric exercise for me, it is a valid and pertinent question for my life.

The answers were fine, all shades from analytic to mystic, honestly my quest was a bit unfair in that it was like wanting something for dinner but not knowing what, just knowing what you did not want.

I suppose the monkey wrench in the whole equation is sin…sin seems to be the corrupting influence that distorts our true nature, and without even trying, our answers to the question of being fully human  incorporate the fallout of living in the shadow-lands, the very fact that I have to ask this question is proof enough of sins influence…so what would humanity look like without sin?

And that leads to the bigger part of my question, I believe the cross eliminates the sin issue, cancels it out like common denominators in a math equation, but it does not solve the equation, it simply gets us back to zero…if sin is no longer powerful enough to color the question, what would I be doing today? What would my humanity look like?

God is not focused on sin, we are…His last word on it was “It is finished” and frankly He never really seems to want to talk about it with me, I’m the one obsessing over it not Him, which at times kind of freaks me out.

How would I be fully human if I had never seen or been a part of my own fallen nature…who would I look like?

Jesus?

Yes, Jesus…so now we have to determine if he was significantly human enough to be the standard for the rest of us…taking into consideration the virgin birth, him being a unique “only begotten” son of God…is it fair to use him as an example of humanity for the rest of us since he was not (according to orthodox theology and my own belief) born with a a fallen sin nature?…that was the entire point of the virgin birth, his paternity was not Adam.

It’s safe to assume that God understood what He was doing when he sent Jesus…and since He is perfectly just, it is also safe to assume that whatever standard Jesus sets is a fair one…but this sort of thinking presupposes that sending Jesus was about setting standards and I am beginning to entertain the notion that it never was.

Jesus came to re-establish what being fully human looks like, and by his death and resurrection he re-establishes the ability to become all we were meant to become.

My primary conclusion (which is setting the tone for my own devotional life at this point) is that being fully human means being completely free, which is something a lot of religious systems do NOT offer.

You are free just so long as you support the system, tithes, offerings, attendance, vision, whatever, as long as you fit into the machine the way others want you to, then you are a good christian and “Free to run” as the Newsboys would sing during worship time…

But I suspect this is not “human free” it is simply a substitute that feeds off your real need for identity and freedom.

The other extreme is not freedom either, to be truly free means your freedom empowers you and does not dis-empower others…to be truly human should not dehumanize others in the process…

So how much of what Jesus did was him, and how much was “other”?

Here’s a startling thought, Jesus told his disciples that if they have seen him, then they have seen the Father…that means the Father is incredibly human…and now we have waded into deep theological waters without a life jacket.

Someone posted on facebook in response that to be human was to be divine…maybe this is more accurate than we know since the Father must have very deep human characteristics…

But its not helpful.

Sorry. It just does not help me be human…at least not today.

Knowing the Father is human helps me approach Him, but it does not help me approach me…

So what does it mean to be human at this moment in the skin?

And what kind of world would it have been without Adams sin? Without my own sin?

Not looking for regrets…I’m looking for grace among the stones…

And that is another part of the question for me, “Then what?”

Suppose you get the Kingdom to show up, everyone gets healed, everyone gets restored relationally, emotionally, financially, justice is done, the land is healed…then what?

A party? Fine we have a big party as humanity…then what?

Because once the dust settles…the past is dealt with, lives are back on track, the Kingdom comes, etc…the next thing should be a revelation of what it means to be truly human…

So far no one has come close to answering this…

So what doe’s it mean to be truly human?

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Wind…

Today I went on a prayer walk…it was brisk and windy…as I walked there was a large oak leaf on the path in front of me…dried up, stiff and pushed by the breeze…it stayed ahead of me for quite some distance…other leaves on the path were undisturbed…but somehow this one leaf kept being pushed forward at the whim of the wind until eventually it skipped off into the grass.

I was drawn to think about the nature of wind in our world…we usually take it for granted, or just tolerate it…mostly we ignore it…it’s just a part of nature and since we don’t really know what it is we shrug our shoulders and move on to more tangible realities.

But have you ever really thought about the wind?

Where does it come from?

What exactly is it?

Where is it going?

What makes it happen? And how come you cannot see it?

Science has found a few places in our atmosphere they can somewhat predict streams of wind…but for the most part they are limited and in a local situation just rely on historical data to predict what the wind will do, because really no one knows for sure, we can only guess at best.

So here is this totally random force of nature, that is deeply imbedded into our world and we frankly know very little about it…

When Nicodemas came to visit Jesus at night (out of fear by the way, fear of what his friends would say) Jesus told him to not be amazed, don’t be surprised, don’t misunderstand the fact that everyone needs to be born from the top down (ano-then in the Greek, “from above, anew, again, from the beginning”)…we like to short hand the mystery by saying “born again” and have created an entire culture that really strays from the original meaning quite a bit in my opinion.

When we say someone is “born again” what we typically mean is that they have had some kind of religious encounter with God and have joined into the common church culture as we currently express it…they got “saved”, “asked Jesus into their heart” or “gave their life to God”…as if those things were what Jesus meant…but when I look at the passage in John 3 I find a hard time extracting our model from the words Jesus said…

Our model is predictable, uniform, consistent…we all get in the same way, we bow our heads raise our hands and say a sinners prayer (as if there were any other kind of prayer from human lips)…

But Jesus said the wind blows where it wants, it makes some noise and everyone hears it, but no one knows where it’s going or where it came from, and THAT is the way EVERYONE who is born from the top down behaves…in other words, this new birth experience would make you completely unpredictable…maybe noisy, but no one would be able to tell what you would do next…where you would go, where you were coming from…if you are born again, then YOU are supposed to be like the wind.

For years I attributed that part of the passage in John to the Spirit, but that is not what Jesus said, and frankly it would have been redundant to say it that way, the very word “Spirit” means wind…no Jesus says its the people who have been born by the Spirit that act like the wind, not the Spirit itself.

He then goes on to talk about being in heaven as he is talking to Nick at Nite…”even the son of man which IS IN heaven”…

Bizarre to say the least…

Recently in talking with others who have ventured outside the box, out of the shadows ( thanks Paul), and into the wilderness one of the things that stands out is the complete lack of maps and predictability we seem to encounter as we go out “to a land that I will show you”…”will” (future tense) being the operative word…

It makes us all flinch to some degree, but frankly that is an indictment that our models are all wrong, because Jesus told us if we are born from above, then we will have an unpredictable life.

Wind.

You are supposed to act like the wind.

The cool part is you get to “listeth”… Which is King James for a subjective impulse…meaning you get to choose…

If you get one thing from this post, get this…Jesus has given you the freedom to move about the planet and change things all on your own…he has revealed that being born from above is the most free unpredictable thing in all of creation…

One final thought here…the Spirit is never a passive person…from the start you see Him, hover, move, fill, dance, inspire, lift up, etc…and if He is likened to a dove, then He is probably waiting to catch a breeze…which might explain why we see so little of His actual movement in the average church setting…He’s waiting for someone to act like the wind so He can mount up with them…most of our model has everyone sitting quietly doing not much…I don’t think the Spirit is absent from our meetings, I think our meetings just don’t offer anything for Him to work with…what would happen if next Sunday instead of our normal passive church service we blasted out some music and all got up and danced and then did random spontaneous things?

I think He might prefer chaos over lethargy…at least with chaos there some movement to work with…

Just my two cents worth though…

You should be like the wind…top down, born from above, not like everyone else…go listeth if you dare…

Mumbley Peg

Recently had one of those 3-4 day “bumbly-scruffle” which is a polite way of saying I was crashing down the staircase of faith hitting every doubt on the way.

In the midst of it I get 3 distinct phone calls from friends of mine all going through the same sort of dark mucky “where-the heck-is-He” or worse yet, “where-in-the-fatal-flames-am-I-?”…because if you have lost yourself, the closest person to your journey, you are really lost.

Anyway the short of it was, I was faced with a choice to complain and commiserate in pain with others who needed faith at a time when mine was AWOL…OR…I could offer them hope in spite of not knowing for sure anything I said was real or not.

There was a game we used to play as boys…”mumbley-peg” (or chicken) its where you stand across from your opponent and spread your feet apart (brave souls played barefoot, I always did) and try to stick a knife in the ground between your foes feet…if you flinched, moved your feet then you lost…

Sometimes the journey is a game of mumbley-peg with hell…it throws its darts, doubts, and dissonance at your feet to get you to run, retreat, or return to something familiar and safe…and the sharpest knife in the arsenal is the one inside your own heart regarding your own faith and who do you think you are?

Don’t flinch.

That’s all I’ve got to say…stay the course, stand, confess, whatever language you need…just don’t flinch.