Passion Week Musing: The Dangerousness of Jesus


Jesus was a dangerous.  Think about it. See he came to change things. His mission was to make things different. He posed risk to those that were in charge. He posed such risk that Herod the Great killed many infant males to try and kill one. He was so dangerous that the crowd tried to kill him on more the one occasion.  Most had hoped that his dangerousness would mean the end of Rome and re-establishment of Israel as a country and kingdom. However, that was not what yes was about. He did not meet those expectations. This also made him dangerous.  It was his dangerousness that led to his death. He lived God’s way. He was concerned for each individual. He loved and demonstrated concern for others over appearances of righteousness. He was so dangerous that they decided that He needed to die for the good of all. They considered Him so dangerous that the tried him at night, examining ultimately if He was one who is leading Israel astray and worthy of death. They decided He was and assured his death. Jesus was dangerous.

Jesus is a dangerous.  Think about it. He changes things.  Following him involves loss of control and submission. There is great risk in following Jesus.  If you truly follow Jesus your life is will be the same.  There is no one in history who unsettles people like even the name of Jesus does. Mention of the name can bring unease and unsettle others. See following Jesus involves trust and faith. It involves a belief without absolute certainty. It involves following a different way and going against the ways of the world. Jesus is dangerous.

Jesus will be dangerous. Think about it. There is a time coming when Jesus returns. It will be a time for those that do not follow him to fear for there will be wrath untold. The twisting on creation due to the impacts of life outside of dependence on God will be undone. All of creation will not go untouched. There will be wrath. There will be judgment. There will be making things right. Never before will there be any greater danger and no greater power unleashed.  Jesus will be dangerous

Now that you have done some thinking. Realize that to some the danger of Jesus is the making of a villan because there is great danger. He does not meet expectation. If you follow Him you are good, if not, an enemy. Either he is Lord and King or not.  See, there are many who want to live their own way. Many who think that they are good enough for they care about and try to look out for others and do other nice deeds.  How dare the creator of the universe be told to show self and come in such a manner? How dare He require complete surrender? Yet, Jesus brings forth life. He sets things right and in all that danger He alone brings true peace. For all the danger that is there, the danger only exists if you reject and turn away. And there are those who have thought about it, recognize it and follow Jesus, this ever so dangerous one. The letting go brings far more than any risk and true life and peace are gained.  So, yes, Jesus is dangerous, but in the end He alone brings about true health and wholeness. So accept the dangerousness and surrender. Once you do you will never be the same and it will be good.

Love is all we need

All_We_Need_Is_LoveLove. It is a simple word. It signifies something we all so desperately want but it is also so very lacking.  Love is the most talked about subject within our culture and everything point to a significant relationship and subsequent children as the apex of love.  Yet, ultimately none of us get it. We fail to grasp love.  We all wanted be care for and are hurt when we are not.  We all desperately want to be loved and to love. It is at the core of humanity. It is why we take on pets for example, to love and be loved.

 Yet, ultimately we fail to grasp love and are really far from it. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves provides a definition of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Our experience of love falls far of that definition.  Here is the reason. The definition involves no focus on self. It is looking outward toward the welfare of others. The essence of love is found in Philippians 2:3 (ESV) Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.   When we love we are emptying of self. We are giving of self. We are focused on the welfare not of self, but of others.  However, we are ever self-focused.

We are wrapped up in our perception of being loved and are quick to voice when we are not engaged in behavior that is perceived as caring or loving. When we get upset, we do so when someone else has failed to engage in looking out for our welfare and did or said something we find lacking.   Such a response is even followed suit in understanding and rejecting God.  Many who reject God look at pain and suffering in the world and their own lives and conclude that a loving God could not allow such.  So they reject God. Some in that rejection will push simply engaging in looking out for the welfare of others.  The refrain is “all we need is love.” Simply look out for others and make the best world today.  Yet, lost in it all is the day to day agony when that desire of love falters.

 The fact is God does look out for our welfare. He never fails.  The rest of us fall far short.  So, yes we all need love, and love is what we all need, but if you separate that love from the author  and source of love it is but illusion. God is the only one who provides full care and love. Yes, the love does provide limits and structures, not out of cruelty, but in understanding what we need and what hurts us. We see that every day with parents and children, choices made and limits set for their welfare often in spite of great protest. Sure, any one of us can demonstrate love to others. We can do good too others apart from God. We can make the best out of life. Yet, it is making the best of what we can. But that falls far short of a life submitted to God, the source and author of love. And none of us have a grasp on God’s love. Our understanding is limited.  Yet, as you grow in understanding God, love grow. Love for God, self, and others. It comes as you grow and as you understand and grow the wounds and hurts from the damages of living life heal and allow true forward movement that in turn demonstrates the care for others found in demonstrating true love. We need love. We need God. You cannot separate the two for God is love.  So yes, all we need is love and that need is only found in God, who is love. So God is what we all need, for God is love.

Good Friday Musing: The center point of the fullness of God’s grace and justice

Today, 4/6/2012 is the day set aside to commemorate Good Friday. Today also happens to be full moon, a night of full reflection of the sun’s light. It is an interesting combination that really points to God’s fullness in operation on this day. Good Friday is always a day of fullness. It is a singular moment that has changed all to make things right. On this day we remember what God did in that one moment that is really the center of all that went before it and all that is to come regarding the story of God and mankind.

See, there was another singular moment, one that defines all that was to come, and that was the day mankind separated from God and want to define all for self. It is the day when that which was declared as “good” became twisted. It is the day when pain, sorrow, despair, and death became realities. It was a day that earth tilted on its axis and moving more and more off centered since. It was a singular moment that needed another singular moment, the one at center when God made the way to begin restoring that which was broken, starting with allowing people to interact with God and choose to follow His ways.

Today was both a wonderful and awful day. It was a day God showed all of who He was and showed His love. Sure, some do not see the love for what it was, for Jesus endured much. All of the pain, sorrow, and betrayal of life in the fallen world, He took on. The depths of human suffering Jesus endured. The most painful death mankind ever created, Jesus went through, out of love and to make things right. This center point in time, this action, makes it possible for all to turn to God. It is a choice that is given and received by all that receive. The fullness of God’s grace and justice happen at one point in time creating this singular moment and display love and setting the scene for all to be right. Take some time and think about this center point of God fullness. This point where God reveals fully His love, and it is shown to all. There will never be any other point in time similar. It is the center of God’s plan and everything that went before and all that follow are rooted at that one point on the tree when the words were declare “It is finished.” And that which was demanded was met. This point is a great, wholly wonderful, awesome, horrible, and tragic day. A day needed because of my own desire to run thing my way apart from God.

Now, there is another singular point in time coming, the time when all corruption will be no more. The time when all of creation will be set back in proper alignment and no longer twisting out of control. For Jesus will return and set all right. All will be under Him. The worst that is, will be undone and no more. All will be made new. But that day would not be coming, if not for that one fateful Good Friday. It was a day foretold after the other singular moment, after an act of sin set death and decay in motion. So the day coming where Jesus returns and the day of corruption are met at God’s center point of the cross where relationships with God and man and enabled to be made right and God’s plan and the story of God and man plays out in full course, in all fullness, love displayed and that center point. If you not, please meet God at that center point and take His gift of grace, for there never ever will be a more precious and costly gift, that cost all.

Do you test your own understanding?

This to me is an important question to consider: Do you test your own understanding?  As a Christian and follower of Jesus I believe it is important to constantly examine what I think I understand about God and the Bible.  Now this questioning of ones own understanding is not about the essential matters of doctrine and faith, but rather the thoughts, ideas, practices, and systematic thinking about God and church.  There is a problem that can easily occur in that we can reach a point on a matter where we think “we grasp it.”  In other words being certain that we know fully what God was saying and have made an assessment on the matter and have full confidence in understanding.  Personally it is a temptation for me that once I come to an understanding to consider the matter settled.  Yet, I find God often moves to teach me new aspects or areas of a matter I had not previously grasped.  One example of this for me is the matter of unity as a church.  I have long advocated the need to understand one another and be aware of the fact that we all “got something” wrong in understanding God.  The picture to me has been that of the body of Christ often separating into the different cells of the body rather than working together.  Another picture is that of staying around those that play the same notes and instrument and missing the bigger symphony.  Then God showed me otherwise and awakened my eyes and ears to the depth and level of deception that has infiltrated the church.  There are things that previously passed off as petty and judgmental that truly is identifying significant danger that is serious.  So I find this principle at work, God often will show and lead us in one direction and then when we have engaged in the change and direction he desires, he can show us what we missed or failed to understand.  The thing is our understanding is limited and we inject ourselves and our own thoughts all too often. We also can easily rely on ‘teachers’ who we have respected and can fail to fully examine those who have taught us and impacted us to deeper understanding of God or freedom from something we did not quite understand before.  It is really important to be constantly testing everything, even our own understanding.   The motivation of that examination really needs to come from a desire to understand God and love Him better which in turn also leads to truly loving others.  Anything that comes from any other motive falls short of what God desires regarding our testing everything.  And yes, testing everything even comes down to “testing to see if in the faith. “  In other words, have I truly surrendered myself to Jesus?  Do I accept the words I have received and believe them? There are many other related questions.  So how does one test your own understanding? Start with asking God for wisdom and to reveal that which you think you understand but miss. Also ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal and open your eyes to the ways you have been deceived.  God is faithful and I can verify that He will do just that if willing to surrender you own wisdom and let God show you through His word and even through what others say.  Never be confident or settled that you “got it.”  The disciples did not get it when Jesus was with them.  He had to stay on earth forty days explaining and showing things to the disciples so they did “get it.” And even then, we needed to constant presence of the Holy Spirit to continually show us when we are off on the wrong path.  But we have to surrender and set aside self and be teachable and humble enough to turn and admit error. Remember the Bible does tells us that at our best we can only “know in part.”  So if you feel you have arrived, think you grasped it all and have no inclination to put self-understanding of God to test, you are settling for the incomplete and imperfect.

Video Selections: Heaven or Hell

Josh Hamilton dream a reality!

Well, I wasn’t supposed to be home during the home run derby. I had an appointment who ended up rescheduling. I was able to watch the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and see Josh Hamilton’s impressive performance. True, Justin Morneau ended up “winning” the contest due to the rules. I am happy about that as a Minnesota Twins fan, but the real story is Josh Hamilton.
Josh hit 28 home runs in the first round of the Derby, breaking the previous record of 24. He hit 3 homeruns over 500 yards. The performance is what people will be talking about. Prior to the homerun derby Josh indicated that he previously had a dream. A dream that he would have his voice elevated related to the home run derby to speak what is on his heart. What is on his heart is Jesus the Messiah, his Lord and Savior.
Josh had been out of baseball for three years. He hadn’t made it to the major leagues previously, his highest level being AA baseball. He is a man who took is draft signing bonus and turned to drugs. Heroin and Cocaine were the drugs of choice. He became free from his addiction by turning his life over to Jesus the Messiah in surrender. Josh will be the story people talk about, only in Minnesota will any attention be paid to his ‘winning.’
There are important lessons to be learned here from Josh’s story. God can and does use us as He will. Josh was touched by God and set free from addiction. He still is cautious and knows full well the lure of temptation, but he has been set free. He was on a primetime stage and performed memorably. He performed so memorably his story will be remebered and told. Sure, some people will give glory to Josh’s natural abilitles. However, Josh has turned the attention directly to Jesus the Messiah. Praise God.
I want to point out that God dealt with Josh Hamilton, not at some big healing revival, but in the still, small quiet moments. God is still at work and moving in peoples lives and you don’t have to travel to Lakeland, to Jerusalem, to Timbuktu, or to the South Pole to meet with God or see God work. God meets you where you are, no need to go chasing some external manifestation. Another thing noteworthy, Josh has deep regrets over tatoos he got while using drugs. (Interesting to compare that with a certain revivalist who got tatoos after being saved and then lies about it. )
An interesting side note, the winner Justin Morneau barely was invited to the contest. He was the last person people expected to win. He clearly brings home the last shall be first principle.

Daniel Amos The “¡Alarma!”Chronicles prophetic?

I just want to recommend to any and all that have ever listened to Daniel Amos 4 CD collection  The “¡Alarma!”Chronicles to dust them off and relisten.  In particular the first album,¡Alarma!” seems to be very appropriate in addressing current events down in Lakeland, Florida.  Granted, I have read that Terry Scott Taylor wrote the first two albums with the “Name it and claim it” type of pastors in mind.  Given those pastors are roots of Word of Faith which is part of the roots of Lakeland, the words clearly still fit.

I am going to post the lyrics to four songs from the album. If you want to read over the rest of the lyrics I would recommend going over to www.danielamos.com where the entire catalog’s lyrics are available.  I also would enjoy thoughts about anyone else seeing or sensing anything prophetic in the The “¡Alarma!”Chronicles.  I certainly intened to reread the Novella produce along with it.  I believe the 4 installments are also available on the Daniel Amos website.  Do yourself a favor and check it out. 

Here are some songs lyrics in think are appropriate to Lakeland and other matters:

¡Alarma!from the album “¡Alarma!”

Words and Music by Terry Taylor
©1981 Paragon Music Corp./ASCAP

It’s a brain drain laid down on the reel to reel
The warning of the after life the after birth
And telling how we feel

Alarma, somebody’s crying
Alarma, somebody’s dying
Alarma, somebody’s turning away

Sugar cane in cellophane is playing at the radio station
Laughs out in the gallery believing that it’s all elation

Alarma, somebody’s pleading
Alarma, somebody’s bleeding
Alarma, somebody’s turning away

A wise guy in the sky invites you to a guilty party
Won’t charge you at the door
But sure knows how to get your money

Alarma, he’s pointing a finger
Alarma, he’s such a dead ringer
Alarma, somebody’s turning away
Somebody’s turning away, somebody’s turning away
Alarma, somebody’s turning away
Alarma, somebody’s turning away
Alarma, somebody’s turning away

 

Big Time / Big Deal from the album “¡Alarma!”

Words and Music by Terry Taylor
©1981 Paragon Music Corp./ASCAP

Beam it on the satellite, send it through the T.V.
Get it on the play list, preach it to the masses

I want the big time, it’s not for everyone
I want the long line, to tell them what I’ve done
Give me a bullhorn, I’ll help Your kingdom come
I get all this, and heaven when I’m done

Why stop with the little things, wires cross the continents
The moment of conversion, on the cover of my album

I want the big time, it’s not for everyone
I want the long line, to tell them what I’ve done
Give me a bullhorn, I’ll help Your kingdom come
I get all this, and heaven when I’m done

Heard some talk about the big big big big big deal
Can’t wait, moving on, can’t wait, moving on
Lawyers talking ’bout the long long long long
long long long long contract
Five years, how long?, sign here, moving on

Send a tape to Carson, got a date in Vegas
Start a church in LA., billboard off the freeway

I want the big time, it’s not for everyone
I want the long line, to tell them what I’ve done
Give me a bullhorn, I’ll help Your kingdom come
I get all this, and heaven when I’m done
I want the big time, I want the long line
Give me a bullhorn, I get all this, and heaven when I’m done

 

 Cloak and Dagger from the album “¡Alarma!”

Words and Music by Terry Taylor and Jerry Chamberlain
©1981 Paragon Music Corp./ASCAP

 Disguising shadows are concealers
Of traitors spies and double dealers
In the street somebody staggers
Killed again with cloak and dagger

If somebody tells you that their love is true
Don’t believe it if they hold a gun to you
There’s cold war tactics hidden in a smiling face
A pretty kind of poison that will leave no trace

Disguising shadows are concealers
Of traitors spies and double dealers
In the street somebody staggers
Killed again with cloak and dagger

If somebody tells you ’bout the master plan
Don’t believe it if they got the bloody hands
Secret agents masked in plastic moulded smiles
Wolves that stalk the innocent and trusting child

Disguising shadows are concealers
Of traitors spies and double dealers
In the street somebody staggers
Killed again with cloak and dagger

 

 Endless Summer from the album “¡Alarma!”

Words and Music by Terry Taylor and Jerry Chamberlain
©1981 Paragon Music Corp./ASCAP

Surfer boys, surfer girls
And all those hoping to catch that ultimate wave
We were looking for an endless summer
We’re still looking for an endless summer
It’s no surprise will be looking endlessly

Surf and sand, eternal tan
We’ve paid the price in looking twice our age
We were looking for an endless summer
We’re still looking for an endless summer
It’s no surprise will be looking endlessly
And we had to get to surf city
But we’ll tell you man it’s just drag city
We won’t come back from dead man’s curve

 

Angels Tuck You In

from the album “Doppelgänger”

Words and Music by Terry Taylor
©1983 Twitchen Vibes/ Paragon Music Corp. ASCAP

You hold an image, it provides a common thread
No sense of menace, no feeling of dread
You never worry your pretty little head and
Angels tuck you in tonight
Angels tuck you in tonight
Angels tuck you in and greet you in the morning light

This cartoon world you’ve created, it’s like Disneyland
Get out you golden ticket
The one they give you when you’re born again
A guardian personage is watching over you
Nothing uncomfortable can ever get through
There is no suffering for the chosen few…

You’ve been a wide-eyed innocent
Come to the garden, come to the hill
Come to the tree, come to the kill
Won’t break your bones, but it can break your will
You’re too afraid of hurting
Been playing cover-up
Expose yourself to dying
And in this real world, it is your calling

You hold an image, it provides a common thread
No sense of menace, no feeling of dread
You never worry your pretty little head and
Angels tuck you in tonight
Angels tuck you in tonight
Angels tuck you in and greet you in the morning light

 

And this is what is really important. We need to attend to the true central theme:

Central Theme from the album “¡Alarma!”

Words and Music by Terry Taylor

©1981 Paragon Music Corp./ASCAP

 Central theme, the most important thing

Central theme, the tie that binds together

Central theme, every line is breathing

Central theme, another heart receiving

 

Shining in the center, my Lord in the center

Jesus in the center, revolving around Him

Always revolving around Him

 Solar screams, I am nothing

Vibrations under the rings, how great you are

Moon like a gong, how great you are

 

Central theme, the object of affection

Central theme, the core of our perfection

Central theme, moving upward in direction

Central theme, changing musical conceptions

Shining in the center, my Lord in the center

Jesus in the center, revolving around Him

Always revolving around Him

 

Infinite space, I am nothing

Infant moves in the womb, how great you are

Wind and sea, I am nothing

Ghost of the heart, how great you are

 

Solar screams, I am nothing

Vibrations under the rings, how great you are

Moon like a gong, how great you are

 

Who is on the throne you find, the King of Kings

He’s the one I have in mind, the central theme

Lord of Lords, Lord of lords, Lord of Lords…