Love Illustrated

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Love Illustrated
Spiritual Sunglasses

None of us were perfect,
Without flaw,
Merely broken pieces,
Held together by the hope,
That someone will take us off the shelf,
And drink from a cup,
That is cracked and missing a handle.
Because of our brokenness,
People have to drink from us with care,
And we have to trust,
That they will not drop,
Or destroy,
What we are entrusting them with,
Believing that we all contain a sweet nectar,
Worth more than tasting,
Deserving of consuming,
And beneficial for any one,
That allows us to satisfy their hunger pains,
Their desire to partake,
Of something that can cure the ills of one who sits in lack,
Waiting for the provision to be given,
Like freeze dried food,
Package for the journey,
Lowering our barriers,
We give hydration,
And that hydration turns what seems incapable of fulfilling us,
Into a meal that would satisfy any hunger,
Learning to appreciate the satisfaction found in us is difficult,
Because alone we can not satisfy ourselves,
Because there are only something’s and places,
That can be touched by someone that is not us,
Until the barrier is lowered,
We remain islands to ourselves,
Waiting to be inhabited not by a civilian,
Not a civilization,
Truly desiring for someone to inhabit our garden,
Nourish its life and vegetation,
Not just preserving it,
But causing it flourish,
Leaving for the world to see,
All the beauty that was there all the time,
But was under developed,
And un-cared for by a caretaker who saw all the flaws,
Thus could not focus on the fullness of the creation,
Finally, we receive someone,
Someone who is able to see the full potential,
And beauty of the landscape, called Me.
Who new that letting down the barrier would allow such beauty to arise from mere dust and water?

#PastorJDO3

Valueing the Creator

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We have had many great studies as a group.  None more important that the second and third session in Counter Culture by David Platt.  While looking at the Creator, we took a step back to consider who God is and what came from Him.  Understanding Him as the source of all, we were unable to place a value on Him, because the first and the last of all things were found in Him, making His potential immeasurable.   His immeasurably makes him invaluable.  No cost can be placed upon Him.  As immeasurable, we also acknowledged that He still had more to give, and had enough in His being to sustain everything that He created as well as His self still existing after creation itself.

God showed Himself to be filled with potential; creative potential!  A potential that was shared, but was in such volume, that it could not be exhausted.  God thought, and spoke, and there was.  And it was good!  Godshand

And amazingly enough, God created mankind in His image and likeness.  We have His features, and His Characteristics.  We have His Potential and we have His Creative Power.  Though our powers is not limitless, our creativity only knows the boundaries of our willingness to explore, process, and produce what we see within.

Knowing this, our discussion lead to our self esteem.  It would seem that our value of ourselves, and appreciation for life and our value of our person-hood would be very high, not because of our accomplishments, but relative to our potential.  At any point, we can think, and our creativity opens the door to meet our needs.  Our will, should be relevant to our potential, yielding an unwavering and relentless pursuit of what we have seen and have dared to speak.  God had the Creativity, and the resources within Him to speak things into existence, but as man, we must speak, and use the resources God has provided to produce that which we have spoken into existence.

Though our esteem should be great, our esteem is often based upon our accomplishments and our productivity.  We must consider the image and likeness in which we were created, and seek to form an opinion of our self that is relative to the value that God placed on us.  He saw us not only valuable as the righteousness of God, but in the state of Adam and Eve declared us good, and valuable enough to place the responsibility of creation in our hands, and give us dominion as trustworthy to use creation as we deem necessary.

God valued man much!  We must be careful of the esteem we develop while measuring our productivity, not to confuse it with our potential.  Our potential is still God-like, but our productivity is a result of our faith and willingness to produce what we see.  One danger of this low esteem, is that we can cheapen the value of the original, and presents it as common, and or not worth the investment.  We are valuable.  God is valuable. We are His!  He is ours!  We are one with Him.  We are partners in creation with Him.  His most valuable creation, placed over all of His resources.

#PastorJDO3

Francis Chan: Holy Spirit Sessions 1

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This week, we combined sessions 1 & 2 of the Holy Spirit into one productive dialogue.  As Chan leads us, we see the Jesus pointing us to this comforter and power as He departs from the disciples physical presence.  He leads the discussion with the words of Jesus in the 24th chapter of Luke.  He instructs the disciples “…But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” in verse 49.   Here we find the foundation of our discussion. FearGod1

Immediately, we began discussing the dangers and ramifications of hearing the mission, accepting the mission, and doing the mission under the authority, but without the power.  As believers, we discover both our gifts and our callings by walking with the Lord and by reading His Word and by following His direction.  This is where the disciples found themselves.  They had walked with Him, and were now receiving their call to ministry and being released into the harvest.  But, Jesus says, don’t go alone!  Don’t even go with each other!  Don’t just go in my name!  He says, wait until you have power!  The power of the Holy Spirit!

It would seem that the name of Jesus would be enough!  Jesus says that at His name, the devil will flee, demons will can be cast out, favor with the Lord is obtained, our prayers are answered, the dead can be raised, miracles can be performed, but He warns the disciples not to enter the harvest to work until they receive the Holy Spirit.  Much of why can be found in Galatians 5, when looking at the fruits of the spirit.

Though we have the name and authority of Jesus, we must remember that we are wrapped in flesh.  The power that Jesus knew we would need is the power to walk with Him, and to defeat the flesh while on assignment.  Last week, we looked at the challenge of following Jesus, concluding that the study of the Word was not enough to follow Him.  It gives us the instructions to follow the Lord and helps us to be wise in our daily walk.  The Holy Spirit however give us the power to apply and not to abandon what we have learned when under spiritual attack!

We wondered how many of us have doubted our missions and calls because we have failed or come up short?  One looking at the instructions of the Lord to the disciples, it was concluded that some of us are hearing correctly, just not waiting until we have all we need before stepping out to do what we have been instructed to do!  Are you in stride with God, or walking ahead of Him?  Are you on the right path at the right time?  Jesus tells them to wait!

Waiting is hard!  Knowing your mission and not being able to work the field is challenging, because we know what lays ahead.  Our zeal for the Lord can cause us to leap into action and conquer the world for the name of Christ with our without the Holy Spirit! 

The question was posed, “Can we accomplish anything without the Holy Spirit?”  The answer, yes!  As creations of the Lord, in His image and likeness, we are creative, powerful, insightful, and wise.  We can figure things out, make our own way, solve our own problems, and make our own plans.

The disciples were more than able and capable of applying the teaching of the Lord on their journeys without the Holy Spirit, but he knew that the journey as mere mortals would leave them off track and suspect witnesses.  Their success of the journey was dependent on their faith walk.  And not just the success of spreading the Gospel by preaching and teaching, but their ability to walk in righteous.  We are called to be a disciple, then to make other disciples!  Jesus instructs them that they would be “my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.Acts 1:8  As disciples, we know that being a witness for Christ involves more than what we verbally communicate to those we encounter.  Much of our witness is our walk.  It’s the discipline we demonstrate as we discipline our bodies to submit to submit to God’s Word and Will that are often the determining factors in aiding the Holy Spirit or hindering the Holy Spirit in convicting and converting hearts.  

The Kingdom of God, both inside the walls of the local church and in the streets of the world depends on believers seeking to be Holy!  The closer we are to the image of God, the more effective witnesses we become.  Let us focus on the image, and make it our life’s mission to not only be like the image of God, but to help others get there as well.

#PastorJDO3

I Can’t Stand the Pain

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I Can’t Stand the Pain

You have been given an advantage.
In this world where people lack the ability to feel,
You are sensitive to the world around you,
Seeing it for what it is,
Aware of what it has become,
Knowledgeable of what it was to be,

Now, just one big confrontation,
of good and evil,
Of light and darkness,
Of pain and pleasure,
A distorted of reality,
A dissertation of fools,
Instructions leading to dead ends,

Yet many seek to numb its presence,
By sedating themselves with life’s medicine,
Poison rather,
Killing themselves slowly,
Taking Calgon like escapes from what exist,

Relaxing in a hot bath of sin,
Unaware that flesh living,
Is a death sentence,
With judgement at the end,
And the manifestations of the flesh on earth,

A punishment to all that reject the Spirit,
Ignoring Her voice,
As she bares witness to our existence,
A compass, pointing North,
As we wander South,
At best East or West,

Having directions,
But walking without them,
Needy,
But not lacking,
Our hearts and minds pricked,
Adding value,
Allowing your very thoughts,
To be renewed,
Then,
Expressing to someone,
The sacrifice made for their benefit,
The original pay it forward,
Made long ago,
The sheet of paper,
Like the cross,
Bears the burden of our sins and worries,
Relieving us from the pain ,
Of carrying that which we are not suited to carry.
We truly are not camels,
Or pack mules,
Truth is,
It’s a long channel to swim across,
Our fears and desires are accompany us,
Making life like swimming across an ocean,
With a life jacket with weights attached to it.

That life jacket is Christ.
He will keep you afloat,
But if you don’t lighten the load,
Even the best life jacket will fail,
Not because it doesn’t work,
But because it was placed at a disadvantage.
By one who wouldn’t release that which was pulling them under.

#Spiritual Sunglasses
#PastorJDO3

Francis Chan: Follow Jesus Session 2

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Wednesday, the discussion, Follow Jesus, continued, with an in depth look at the rich man in Mark 10:17-22 and the teaching of Jesus in verses 23-31.  Chan left us with a suggestion; that we should stress the importance of the sacrifice that comes with discipleship and not just the rewards.

Chan uses this story to instruct us.  Though the man decides not to follow, he was able to consider the cost of discipleship before he followed with regret.  It would seem that Jesus would welcome another disciple into the group, but He doesn’t.  He sets a standard.  We know now that Jesus not only has a mark to finish but a mark for us to start.  He calls the 12, asking them to leave family, possessions, titles, and jobs as a prerequisite for being a disciple.  Though we are not called to literally leave everything, God calls for us to place everything as second to him.  What are you willing to leave?  What cost is too much? FearGod2

God also reveals in this passage a truth that is know but not always considered.  The man stated what he had done to deserve eternal life, Jesus knew what was in the mans heart.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knew that this would be a stumbling block.  He knew his attachment to His possessions, and knew the chances of Him leaving them were not likely.   He desired eternity, but would settle for worldly.  What is in your heart?  Are you settling?  Are you sold out for Christ?

When confronted, the man looked into his heart and discovered the same thing Jesus knew.  He was ready in part, but knew he wasn’t ready to leave all that brought value to himself.  He was honest with himself and with Jesus, which is better than many of us do.  He refused to be luke warm; deciding to be cold and not hot.

Jesus tells the disciples, “Everything is possible with God” in verse 28th to calm their concern.  He gave us hope with the harsh reality of what it is expected from us as followers.  We must know that our will and our flesh will always be bent towards serving the flesh, but with the Lord, we can get and keep the strength to walk away, and not turn back.  Just to be sure, Peter replied, “We’ve given up everything to follow you” to Jesus, in an effort to validate their spot in the Kingdom or to solicit Christ’s response renegading their entry into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The shame in it all is found in verses 29-31.  Jesus tells the disciples that those that follow him “…will receive now in return a hundred times as many….will have eternal life”  (verse 30).  Jesus assures them that everything lost will be replaced, repaired, or restored 100 fold as well as eternity will be assured to him who believes and follows.

The cost of following is High, but the reward is Higher.  God promises us that He will meet all of our needs, and that He will reward us richly if we will seek Him first.  He understands what the world has to offer, having been not only the creator, but one who stood atop the temple with the devil looking over it all. Though presented, He understood that God owns it and that in keeping in line with God’s plan, He would again have access to  all God had created.

#PastorJDO3