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OOOPS!

This is called a big internet “blush”.  The post that just went out “Feeling Poorly” was supposed to be published on my OTHER WordPress blog.

 

It has nothing to do whatsoever with the content on this one.  It is a more ‘private’ place intended to journal my adventures in other areas of life.  The post has been marked Private and will be reposted on my other site.

 

I apologize to my subscribers for the lack of paying attention.  This post will also be deleted after a reasonable amount of time.

Carry on and thank you. 🙂

 

 

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Jesustalk

I don’t know if I’ve ever reblogged another post, but I couldn’t agree with this more enthusiastically if I’d written it myself. Yet I am also very convicted by it.

inexhaustible significance

“You should talk about Jesus more.”

This message isn’t coming from a raving street evangelist pushing gospel tracts and combative communication techniques. It’s coming from the young men and women who used to be in our churches. It’s coming from the atheists who used to be youth group leaders, church members, small group leaders, worship band musicians, and outreach coordinators. The message that we need to talk about Jesus more is coming from the very people who have left us behind.

For me, this is a gut check.

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I have not gotten into any good debates (i.e. arguments) for quite awhile.  I have grown tired of them and don’t feel a burden to dialogue with the firmly convinced about anything.  Aren’t we all convinced? 

But in the last few days I’ve had some interesting and unexpected exchanges.  Okay, I’ve opened my typewritten mouth in some places where I haven’t in a long time.  And I was reminded of an interesting phenomenon among people who believe themselves to be supremely “right”.  They don’t have room for anyone who isn’t.

I ran across an interesting post on Craig’s List in the middle of the night, trying to amuse my insomnia.  The ad claimed to be a seeker of truth, asking to discover what a real Christian is.  I had a pretty good idea this was bait, so I bit.  I was right.  In fact I was even right about what kind of bait it was – a person zealous for the old paths, a “Nazarene watchman” as he called himself.  This is a unique brand of Torah observance (if you ask, most HRM followers will claim they don’t believe like the rest of them), but the premise is the same as the rest of the crowd; the Law of Moses is the final Word, not Jesus, as Hebrews 1:1 explains.  He was not a seeker of truth but a seeker of pupils.  I did confront him on the manner of his search, to which he humbly and surprisingly responded that he wouldn’t misrepresent his intentions anymore.  I admire his sincerity and his zeal.  However, he made it clear that if I wasn’t interested in his message, he was going to move on.  Aw shucks.  I thought we were going to be great friends. lol.  But it brought home to me again one of the fruits of false religion; selective love for those who agree with me.  I have heard several stories of families  being torn apart because a follower of the law starts to see that only those on his (or her) own path are really a part of the spiritual kingdom they belong to.  Those who don’t agree, even under their own roof, become less and less important.  What they think and feel don’t matter anymore.  No need to be kind or patient.  They see even their own spouses as disobedient and rebellious.

Organized cults nearly always drive wedges between their followers and their friends and family who are not converted to the “truth”.   They are taught to see others as less enlightened and holy.  But often those who don’t belong to an organized group (and often claim Divine revelation) are found to have the same fruit operating in their lives, even in the absence of human spiritual leadership.  They may have even stronger defense mechanisms because they believe their directives come from God Himself and no human agent.  But regardless,  we can bear the fruit of genuine love ONLY in the Holy Spirit.  If we do not, we are of another spirit, no matter how right we believe ourselves to be.

How we respond to those who do not agree with us tells much of which spirit we follow, or at the least our maturity in the Lord.  I have many many times throughout my life responded in a haughty manner.  While I may be blunt (as is my manner often) I pray to not be puffed up and arrogant toward those who disagree, or to see them as having no more value as human being.  I long to love with God’s love, not be moved only for those whom I know are aligned with my beliefs and preferences.  

I have recently decided to branch out and associate with people outside the Christian ghetto and I find it challenging me on many levels.  I have new friends who most certainly would not agree with me on much, but I am happy to say that God has filled my heart with love for them and shown me how much they matter, to Him.

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Just wanted to say hello to all the Canadian readers and congratulate you for the fact that in the last seven days, you have exceeded the number of readers from the United States!  I have no idea what’s going on up there that might precipitate this honor, but so glad to have you.  

Holidays do spark more information seeking into the topics here.  Christmas and Easter can be stressful times for those in the Torah observant lifestyle, and more so for all those around them who are not.  I can remember not knowing how to deal with family who didn’t understand our convictions about obedience to God.  And now I can only imagine what we put them through.  I get a little taste of it from listening to other people’s stories.

Our last Passover Seder was 2007, if I remember correctly.  Shortly after this, we broke the news to our fellowship that we were leaving.  Those were agonizing weeks.  I wish that we could have somehow remained in community with our dear friends – but we were drastically delivered and could no longer walk down that road at all.  Our fellowship was based on a lifestyle and specific days on a calendar.  I hate that this wall of separation came between us and Jesus was not enough to hold us all together.  I take equal fault and blame no one.  

Looking back I do wish we had been able to maintain better connections – but we were in such a drastic state of change and renewal ourselves our heads were spinning.  The best counsel I can give to anyone dealing with Observant friends or family is to love them with as much love as you can.  We wanted to please God, and we started down that road with a sincere heart.  We later became polluted with blinding pride, but so many in this movement are at the core – hungry for God’s love.  Our group was named “Know Him” (in Hebrew) and we often spoke of “drawing near”.  We wanted so badly to be pleasing to God and be special to Him.  So many who do not receive a nurturing father love in their lives, believe this is how they must approach their heavenly Father as well.  We have found this pattern to be extremely consistent.  Our deliverance came shortly after a huge emotional breakthrough and working through some forgiveness issues.  Of course every story is different, but we have seen this very common pattern both while in the Movement, and in talking to others since leaving.  Love hunger drives people to many addictions and obsessions.  Religion (as opposed to Life in Faith) suffices well in this case, and attempts to fill those core bankruptcies. But there never seem to be enough books, videos, or finding that level of obedience that gives you the feeling of acceptance or having “arrived”.  We see 101 ways we fall short every day.  I struggle not to live there, bound to my unique brand of legalism in my own expectations.

We so easily become bogged down in theological arguments (and yes – that was the motivating factor in even starting this blog) that we miss the Life in the Promise.  Our hearts are so easily distracted from this and drawn away into pursuits that excite the senses yet dull the spiritual connection with our Creator.  We love a secret, hidden meanings, thinking we have re-discovered suppressed truth, and having a unique message.  People get so obsessive, even about orthodox theological positions, let alone “heretical” ones.  What is it about human opinions and knowledge that we find so much more satisfying than being with Jesus?  I still struggle with these things that want to draw me away.  

This Resurrection Season – and 8th Day – I pray to be less distracted and stressed, and to become more aware of the Life that is in me, and around me.  We have before us two choices every day to walk in – that which pertains to Life, and those things which are already dead and passing away.  Choosing Life is so much more than the right vote at the ballot box.  I find more and more it means my death.  So He can live.  

He is Risen!  May it be so in my life too.

 

 

 

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Today was one of the most stressful days I have had in awhile.  Recently I asked God for more… an ability to do more for Him, going beyond giving material goods and money, to letting Him give of Himself through me, which really means I have to get out of the way and let Him do His work.  For years now I’ve been involved in charitable pursuits, but seem to have gotten stuck at the level of handing people a toothbrush or a bar of soap and not touching soul to soul.  It has been a wonderful privilege to be involved in these things, but I know there is so much more.  I long to see what God can do, and to see people really reached by His love.

Without delay He has brought me to a place of great stress, having to choose between what I want and what He has placed before me, for the sake of someone else.  Just one small change in the turn of events today changed the entire script, and on the outside it may have looked noble, but on the inside I was so frustrated, and complaining loudly.  This breaking doesn’t come easily.

I recently read an article stating the problem with our culture is no one knows what sin is anymore, and that we must really bring this back into focus if anyone is going to realize their need for God.  To most people this means we must preach the Ten Commandments.  Ask people if they have ever told a lie.  Go through each one and make sure we convince people they have broken them all, and therefore need Jesus, the “Get out of hell free” card.  I won’t say that never works, but I believe the Old Covenant mirror of the Law is far inferior to the New Covenant version.  

Last night I watched a program about a Benedictine monastery  and five men from various walks of life who had decided to go spend some time there for various reasons.  One was an atheist, one a former convict, another a spiritual seeker who had also spent time at a Buddhist monastery.  Being a spiritual seeker myself, most of my life, this show fascinated me, seeing men from vastly different walks of life coming together in answer to a spiritual call in their hearts.  Maybe there would be better places to find the answers than with monks.  But then again, I heard a great deal of wisdom coming from them.  Spending hours a day listening to God in silence must result in learning a few things.

One caveat of wisdom I heard, which I had also come to realize some time ago, is that in order to grow spiritually, we absolutely must live in community with other people.  One man in this episode had a particular distaste for another member of the group.  The monk mentoring him suggested that he had the most to learn from this individual who he detested so badly.

For most of us, the “community” of refining begins in our own families.  Marriage is the one of the most challenging relationships, then parenting.. after the ordeal of growing up with imperfect parents of course.  Outside of family, my culture has precious little that qualifies as genuine community.  The Church has the opportunity to demonstrate to the world how this is done, and what it looks like. People are starving for this!  We need it because God wired us to be connected to each other, living stones in His temple.    

In all these relationships we find both joy and pain.  In all these, the opportunity to seek that which Jesus commanded, “Love one another as I have loved you.” When we pull down our defenses and are willing to see ourselves through the eyes of those closest to us, then we live in honesty, confession, forgiveness, restoration.  The true nature of New Covenant sin is to transgress love.  I Corinthians 13 should be the list of commands, if we thought we needed one to hang on the wall.  

But even community is not the perfect mirror. Once again – Jesus is.  Looking into Him, deeply into Him, we find the most humbling of pictures, the brightest revealing light into our own souls.  We see the cross he invites us to take up and crucify our own desires, ego, agenda, resentments and fear.  Let them die.  The Ten Commandments, or even 613, will never come close to bringing the conviction in our hearts that one look at Jesus will do.  Zacchaeus  knew the law from birth.  He had learned to live with the guilt it bound upon his life.  But as soon as He saw Jesus, and realized Jesus loved Him, he not only truly knew His sin, but was free from it.  He let it go, with great joy in response to the Creator of the world coming to eat at his table.  Beautifully, the root words in the name Zacchaeus mean pure, transparent, and clean.  And the town could not believe Jesus would eat with such a sinner!

Today, even as I prayed for God to deliver me from a task, he herded me right into it.  I had no way of escape.  As the day wore on – the demands increased, and so did my frustration. But He showed me repeatedly that love was a much higher priority than my plans.  Love revealed my own selfishness and impatience.  But love also made a way out to a place of peace.  This is a mirror that not only reflects, but transforms.  By beholding, we become changed, into His likeness. 

 

 

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Support Forum

We now have an online support group for friends and family of Hebrew Roots followers, or other similar type groups.  The strain on families can be enormous when one person is convinced, and the rest are not.  The vast difference in lifestyle alone can cause so much friction.  Others may have parents or siblings, or friends who used to go to church with them that have been affected.  Often HRM members are very pushy with their beliefs, and sometimes they distance themselves. However this movement has touched your life, this will be a place to encourage one another, and pray for those we love.

The group is accessible only by invitation.  If you would like to join, please email me at ***8thday4life@gmail.c o m***  and give me a brief description of your situation and reasons for wanting to join.    

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Repost from another blogger… very relevant to the focus here.  If Jesus isn’t at the wheel, I don’t want to be riding that bus.

Do Your Politics Look Like Jesus?.

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