Thursday, March 30, 2006

Not far from the kingdom of God :)

It's kinda funny that my idea of scripture's content is foundationally structured by the dialogue in the movie, "Jesus of Nazareth." Another words, when I think of a passage in the gospels I actually see Jesus speaking in a scene in the movie, even though I actually haven't watched it in about five years now.

Mark 12:28-34 doesn't mention that Jesus is having a conversation with Joseph of Aramathea; in the bible he's just a "teacher of the law." But I like how the movie did it with Joseph, and I remember the scene:

Joseph and the other Pharisees are having a passionate but optimistic conversation over dinner with Jesus about whether or not Jesus' idea of obedience by the Spirit will make forlorn the laws of God; their very identity. "What is the greatest commandment?" Jesus asks Joseph. Joseph looks up toward heaven as if it is spiritual to him personally, and quotes the Shema: "Hear, O Israel, YHWH our God, YHWH is one."

Jesus replies, "Well said. You are not far from the kingdom of God, Joseph of Aramathea."

What did He mean by that? Was it just the knowledge of the shema that made Joseph close? I think it's something more significant, and I have been haunted in my thoughts for a few days now because of this passage....


“’For I am YHWH, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..." Is 43:3

“And everyone who calls on the name of YHWH will be saved;” Joel 2:32

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ ... you will be saved.” rom 10:9

“’...then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’” Acts 4:10-12

Joseph must have gotten very excited in his heart to hear such an awesome encouragement as this. "You are not far from the kingdom of God, Joseph," but what did it mean? How was he made close? How close was it? Where was it? I am sure he asked those questions as I am right now.

"You are not far from the kingdom of God, Joseph; the Only Lord God sits right in front of you, and is speaking to you," is the way my heart is moved to think.

I am thinking Jesus meant that Joseph was close because Jesus was only a few feet away, while Joseph was acknowledging Himself in the Shema as his God. There is one YHWH, and the Son YHWH, in the likeness of man, was here to have a relationship with him.

And that makes me excited, too.

The scriptures are meant to be read this way. They are meant to be something that excites us to be "close."


In my conversations with the JWs, (Jehovah's Witnessees), several weeks ago we started a new chapter about Jesus and the interesting point of the conversation went like this:

"Well, this part right here I don't know if it is right because as I mentioned a long time ago, I see Jesus being called YHWH God throughout all the scriptures; the Father and Jesus share that name," I said.

Greg looked at me and said, "That's right. Now you do believe Jesus and Jehovah are separate persons, right?"

"Yes..," I confirmed.

"But we don't believe that Jesus is God, because he was created by Jehovah, you see," Dorothy said.

"Yes," agreed Greg, "don't you believe that Jesus was created? I thought we had gone over that material over the last several months."

"Well, we had gone over it and I thought it was interesting and understandable where you were coming from. But I do disagree and maybe I don't communicate by not saying anything," I offered.

"Oh, well you should have said something!" said Dorothy.

"Oh, yes, you should let us know if you don't think something is right and we'll discuss it. So you believe Jesus was not created but is eternal...?" asked Greg.

"Yes! I do not think he was created," I said, breathing relief to finally say it with emphasis.

"So, do you believe in the trinity, then, too?" asked Greg

And I kinda fumbled, giving a partial yes and a partial maybe.

So that is the question I have been trying to answer. But I haven't hardly even cracked it open yet.

I have so far about 37 pages of 12-font size, straight scripture study examining the issue of Jesus being equally YHWH God. To me, and I can't explain why, Jesus being proved YHWH is so much more important. That's a good start and all, but what about the Spirit? What about contrasting the three of them at once?

And in some ways, I'm kind of worn out. I'm going into the greek which is even harder and there's a lot of great stuff and it all seems so convincing, so, considering the Spirit study, my heart is not ready for an equally committed and extensive, brand new project on that topic. In fact, I started doing all my research on paper for the first part and then stalled indecisively for a week because I knew once I put it on the computer, I was committed to a seriously huge project.

What I see so far as I am passing by scriptures, regarding the Spirit, is this:

Jesus is the expressed person of the Godhead.
The Father is the unseen person of the Godhead.
Jesus gets so much glory in worship because He is expressed to us, that He defers all glory and priveledge of knowing the dates and knowing the saints, to the Father alone to know.
Jesus gives all His credit to the Father.
The Father has appointed all things glorious to Jesus because He is dying to self in heart as well.

The Spirit is fully God because: God is Spirit, and according to scripture, God's spirit is the Holy Spirit, and Jesus' spirit is the Holy Spirit.

BUT: I don't see the Holy Spirit needing to be mentioned, as a rule in concept, to avoid lack of recognition of God and His nature. Jesus came to earth to prove YHWH God was willing to walk and show Himself and if we know Jesus then we know the Father; we know God. The Holy Spirit indwells all of God. The Holy Spirit does, as an entity, all the things God does. But, the Holy Spirit doesn't seem as necessary to understand to me as Jesus and therefore, the Father. It's like an assumed collorary, maybe, is the best way to say it.

In fact, if I had to draw a picture of what I see, it looks like this: Two circles, representing the Father and the Son, and, two arrows pointing back and forth between the two circles, being the Spirit. I -- don't -- see an image of three circles equally spaced; a trinity. However I do have to say that if you grabbed the arrows (the Spirit) and asked the question, "what is it?", I'd have to say in reply, "It's YHWH God."

Now when I consider what I wrote, it sounds Trinitarian in content, however you may also be able to see as I do, that it most likely isn't orthodox.

How do I feel about potentially being measurably unorthodox, and even misrepresenting the truth as I speak to the JW's or anyone else who might be reading this blog? I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it. Truly emitting the Truth, the Way and the Life doesn't mean I have all the answers. In fact, God likes to choose weak and foolish things to shame the wise. As a result, because the three of us are "Studying the issue of the trinity together," I can be frankly honest when I say, "I don't know, but I want to find out. Let's let the scriptures speak to us to find an agreeable revelation." So it's quite alright to be weak in knowledge about God. Maybe one day I'll be able to draw the three circles if indeed it is a perfect trinity like I'm feeling it should be. In the meantime, God's okay with using me and I'm approvable to be close to God because of another issue; what is in my heart, and what is in my heart is a desire to love God, because I know He has loved me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My Obsession

For the last two or three weeks I have been studying the bible for evidence that Jesus is as much YHWH God, as the Father.

It has consumed me. I can think of nothing else. When I brush my teeth or make dinner all I do is wait patiently until I can have some time to consider these things again on my own. As I approach my routein quiet times, I begin to breathe heavy, my heart starts to beat fast, and my adrenaline starts pumping. Oh, to just have some more time to consider this all!

It's why I haven't been blogging. So while you see an absence here you will now know where my mind and heart is.

I keep finding more and more angles, more scripture to amaze me, more terminology that expresses the comfort I see by God's Word to call the Son of Man the exaulted God.

This is the easy part of life. For me. It has been awhile since God has given me such a resounding "yes" in permission to get to know Him and have my faith grow in Him, by means of study. Instead for the last year or two my faith and knowledge of Him has been made to stretch by means of experience instead, or else refraining from speaking or reading the Word, instead. You see, it isn't enough to make me obedient in God's eyes just to read the bible. One must also let God discipline and make them self-controlled to be able to see Christ in living life and through practicing the knowledge you already have. And I know that, so I am all the more thankful for the permission I have at this moment, to do my favorite.

I know that His answer is yes, because He has made my life so very powerful since I began studying it. God used an exclamation point to end the following sentence explaining His passion to be understood by those who want to love Him in a relationship:

"You search the scriptures looking for eternal life, but the Scriptures point to me!" john 5:39

I have had kinds of services to God that I have thus far only dreamed about; preaching and teaching to people who are in need to hear it and want to know; not just one, but several. Wow! Ministering in other kinds of services too. What's more, my life has been like the second son in the parable of the father who commanded his sons to do something, and the older one said "yes" but didn't do it yet the younger said, "no" but then thought better of it and went and did it. The younger is the one God approves. I think it makes Him pleased to let it be my experience to have wretched mornings in terms of wanting to face Him, and then being one over in an instant so that my afternoons are amazing to my eyes! He gets all the glory in my heart, and it is this kind of yield that He has been leading me toward for some time now.

All this accomplishment on His part I tack up to studying and believing more and more, how the humble servant of God is the one who sits at the center of the throne. It has made everything new. I cannot do anything in my normal routein without feeling the jolt of knowing that YHWH is Jesus. Every praise I sing, every flower I see, every laugh from my children, it all is new and amazing to me.

And now you know why my heart beats fast.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Who is the Father YHWH, anyway?

Indeed, with as many times YHWH is called Jesus Christ in the scriptures, it begins to make sense why Jesus was so firm and determined to give honor, credit and explanation to the true identity of the Father YHWH. Who is the Father, anyway? The Father is unseen, unspoken for! Jesus is the visible, heard God of the OT, so He’s getting all the worship and all the attention. So Jesus gives praise and submission to the Father while on earth so that we know that the Father is just as importantly God and worthy of worship as He. Without such efforts on Jesus’ behalf, it would be hard to grasp evidence that there was anyone else in the headship of YHWH God beyond Jesus. Just as Jesus Christ, our giver of grace, is invisible to us now and we have to take pains to give Him the credit for why we are Christians, Jesus had to do the same for Father YHWH while he was here too. “I only do what I have seen my Father do,” he said, and so we too say, “We only follow Jesus’ example.” We have a very intimate feeling for the Father YHWH in noticing how the Son is the representation of the always invisible Father and we are the representation of the now invisible Son. The Father is so one for Jesus, and Jesus is a Father for us.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


A friend of mine wrote a song about the writings and life of Jim Elliot. It made me think more about some of the expressive things he's said. Awhile back I culled the best, minus one I still cannot find. Here they are:

"[He makes] His ministers a flame of fire. Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this my soul—short life? In me there dwells the spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed Him." 

"God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus."

I can drink the richness of the passion in these aspirations.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, March 09, 2006

-- this is dumb --

Okay, so a close friend pointed out to me that this morning was the tryouts in LA for the show, "So You Think You Can Dance" on FOX.

Yeah, go ahead and chuckle.

Dangit. Was thinking about it, actually have been thinking about it for a long time. I don't know how good I am. Maybe I'm not good at all. BUT....

I still want to try!

The only way I can do it now is if I go to Chicago on the 24th or South Carolina on the 30th. Tickets to Chicago are $421. How can I justify such an expense?? I really can't.

Is that the end of the conversation, then??

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A good measure counterproductive

Doesn't devotion to Jesus make it irrelevant, therefore; counterproductive even, to be measured well by the commands of God??


"I died to the law so that I might live for God." gal 2:18

Certainly it is good to obey the laws of God, so the harm itself only comes from how we consider our obedience. Do we see our obedience like the Pharisees do, or as John the Baptist did?

Pharisees vs John. Do we keep it or give it away? If I give it away then what title should I call myself? How about "the least?"

So now I am aspiring to be amongst my fellow disciples (followers of Jesus) the sorest of losers, as measured by the laws of God. I hope that by doing so, I will be set free to really plumb the depth of God's grace. Not that my sin itself increases, but my acknowledgement of sin does....

And if then my life powder-kegs by His will into more obedience, then I prove it has nothing to do with me; my goodness. It's only and constantly proving His goodness. I used to want to see myself all put together as a Christian. I thought that's what I needed to be set free in obeying Him. In fact, those standards of needing to be "someone" rather than "no one" are the very thing holding me back! It divided me into pride, complacency, and self-righteousness, and my heart became impure.

"Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." luke 22:25

"Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant" phil 2:6-7

So I am going to give up my righteousness too. I know I have received some, but I am going to offer it all back and let it rather be all His.

Let my righteousness be like the flower in the daylight -- fleeting and powerful in beauty and life and love for those whom God wants to bless through me, and then gone. That message needs to be for His glory and not mine. I have no credits in my account. Only temporal sin. Because I gave the credits away (to Him here on earth), even though the world may increasingly see me as rich in obedience, in my heart I am really poor by my own choices to humble myself.

"sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, but posessing everything." 2 cor 6:10

The paradox of being the least and the greatest.

A High Position

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position." james 1:9

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble." luke 1:52

What about those sinning/struggling followers of Jesus? Maybe they are sitting on a powder keg they don't yet realize. Where sin increases, grace increases, Romans 5. He pours out miracles of obedience over those types, for which those humble ones will take no credit for! God does get boasted about if He lifts up a man who is humble.

I finally can see the purity in it. I can see why God's true followers are sinners. Because their hearts are pure, that means, singular in goal; not divided. Not compromised. Not holding back themself.

Even in the portrayal of the sinning woman in the movies you can see her hanging back in the crowd, thinking, "Where do I fit in??" Then she receives the bread of life during the feeding of the five thousand, and she knows. She knows His grace is rich and her heart is consecrated to Him. In her next scene we see her singular in purpose, fully committed; pure, in her anointing of Jesus' feet.

God sees in her heart only innocence -- yes!! A praiseworthy naievity not because she never sinned but because Jesus is all she can sense and pursue now. What an amazing inspiration our sins give us to live for God!

If you see a sinner in your church just take a minute to notice how Jesus himself protects and nourishes the steadfast heart within.

"Greater honor to those who lack it."

Here is another passage which describes the breakdown of the honor in the church:

"On the contrary, those parts that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it...." 1 cor 12:22-24

It makes for less honor for the church that a woman who is known publicly as "a sinner" would follow Jesus, a holy, law-obeying God:

"If this man were a prophet, he would know who was touching him and what kind of woman she is -- that she is a sinner." luke 7:39

... Or is it?? Is that human thought, or God's perspective? Yet there are sins within the body of believers and Christ does not promote sin, this is important. What of the believers who are stuck in sin for a time? They are in that regard of their slavery to sin, unpresentable to represent Christ; "we treat them with special modesty." Another word for "modest" is "humble." Humble--waiting patiently on God to sanctify, knowing that they need help, they need a covering, silent mouthed. Our presentable parts are the parts of the body that have been made obedient--God is certainly obviously glorified by that; they need no covering. He wants the parts of the body, you can read in 1 cor 12, to be "equal."

He has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it. So I'm joe-schmoe Christian who has many presentable parts, by the long-received grace of God. I don't have to fight for honor--it comes rightfully my way. In the parable of the prodigal, this is worthy of the reward of a feast less than a goat.

But the Christian who inwardly battles, is awkward, obtuse, carnally-minded -- what does God say of them? They have greater honor than I; they are exalted at judgment higher than I.

That's why Jesus called the sinner woman's love great, why He was pleased to forgive her, to call her His own. In heaven, there is rejoicing over one sinner who needs Jesus than ninety-nine natural honor-getters in the church.


Why was John the Baptist the "least?"

"I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." luke 7:28

In one sense John the Baptist was the greatest. How was he also in another sense the least? Perhaps that honor and service on John's part, makes him the least in the Kingdom? Maybe because he didn't earn the right to minister, but it was a gift. What about those Christians who are less fortunate than John to know God, to walk with Him intimately and have his ear, to serve him uprightly? Are they the kind that are the greatest in heaven? The prodigal had no or little services for God to his credit when the RICHNESS OF GRACE was poured out on his life.

Maybe the (at least superficial) 'John the Baptists' of the church are only receiving 'less than the goat so that I can have a feast with my friends' as the older brother of the prodigal son admitted. As one of my LDS acquaintences reminded me often, "Of whom much is given, much is expected." (Williyum) Paul even said that he gets no reward if he discharges his responsibility to preach the gospel; it is the minimum he can do considering the mighty gifts he had been given in Christ.

Those who prove to be good stewards in the small things are given more to manage. So the one who gives the most back at the end of the stewardship is both the most bankrupt in himself but also offers the greatest gift to the owner.

How much more potential do we have to glorify God, when we have more to offer up in obedience to His will? Does this make us great? In one sense. But in the temporal it makes us POOR. For the goodness we have received credited to us at the cross we credit back into God's account by our boasting in Him.

John said to his followers, "Behold; the Lamb of God.... It is him you must follow now. He must increase as I decrease." And that is why he is the greatest of men.

It was because he had given all the glory to God like a true and faithful servant, that he was called the least. He left no room to secure his own name, his own legacy, his own perpetuity, his own band of admirers. He let his earthly life be bankrupt for the sake of making rich Jesus Christ.

For those who cannot attain to such an honor as the greatest man who lived, there is a separate special honor reserved for them.

Sinners touch Jesus

The sinner woman who cried at the feet of Jesus was declared to excel at attaining forgiveness, and being a model to all worth imitating, at the same time the others were thinking (well justifiably):

"If this man were a prophet, he would know who was touching him and what kind of woman she is -- that she is a sinner."

So the sinner who is fresh at walking with Christ--are these who will be the greatest in the kingdom of God at judgment?

"Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest..."

This makes sense to me, because it is only the ones who are wretchedly found in sin who remain close and needy for Jesus, and if our ministries and law-obediences caused pride or self-reliance, then we would lose our desire to make Jesus Lord of our life, and we'd walk away from abiding. Sinners touch Jesus. Over and over that's what I see. Sinners are the ones who are there, where He is. So now, I want to be a sinner.

Who is the least? Who is the greatest?

I think I immaturely assumed that Christ's reputation is slandered when I don't measure up right. I expect it to be true and I feel like, to serve God, I have to be the greatest. But here is what I read in the bible:

"I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." luke 7:28

"The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." luke 22:25

"For he who is least among you all -- he is the greatest." luke 9:48

An Amazing Weekend

I can't share details, but I am so thankful that God gave me this last weekend.

God literally blew me away. I walked in with one set of ideas & prejudices, and walked out being totally set free to take faith in God's work outside my own understanding. It was only because God put a heart in me for service in this unique circumstance that I even stuck around to submit to a possible mind-opener, but once I committed, there was no other place I wanted to be than there, uncomfortable, challenged, and humbled.

With every hour of meditation or discussion I was -- ripped apart -- in almost every matter. Told that I was wrong. Shown that I was wrong. Shown that I was self-righteous and narrow-minded; slapped in the face by conviction over my own behavior.... But I wasn't afraid.

I was made more exhausted by the mental restructuring than I was by the physical work.

I am so thankful that God has decided to let me be blessed by being around many who can tell me why I am wrong.

I meant it when I said to my friend in the midst of that time with her, "I'd rather be corrected over any cost to myself."

It doesn't mean that she was right about all things. She was right about many things. However her rebukes numbered less than the Lord's in my heart. And because I could see God with her in her deep faith and her obedience, He was admonishing me about how His sovereignty ought to be honored.

Sovereign: independent of all others; supreme in power, rank, or authority

I'll rank that experience as one of my top transforming moments.

Friday, March 03, 2006


This is a copy of the post I made to my fellowship Christian hall blog.

I like it a lot, going back to visit. As I mentioned in its content, these things are good to keep mental hold of....


"My sin will always find me. It will always be exposed.

"Tonight I was confronted by the understanding that someone found out about something that I did wrong a while back. And it hurt, me. It made me flustered. Impatient. Angry. I fully expected, by theory, that my sin would be found out by everyone, but now living that expectation is still quite unpleasant.

"I can feel my shame.

"The Lord really wanted me to know something important tonight.

"First of all, my praise will never be so pure, as during the moment when I am ashamed of myself. Other times, my self, my pride, my aspirations even, will always taint and distract my worship to think and trust less in Him. But when I am down and out, then I am assaulted emotionally to surrender all. To hope in Him, with all my soul.

"If only I could always be so full of shame--it'd be to my Christian benefit.

"And that leads me to point number two. I don't really trust Him. I could trust Him so much more than I currently do. What does God really see when He looks in my heart to what I lean on, what I delight in, what I aspire for? I am sinful, of that I am sure tonight.

"I need more of Him, and so much less of me. It seems like a lofty goal, far too unattainable to me. I mean, look at this solidified "Christian" routein! How can I explain to anyone else a major overhaul of all my "good things"? How can I go there myself, when the terrain would be so foreign and so hard to travel?

"I have felt shame before.

"And I can remember what happened afterward.

"Nothing much negative, from God's end. To be sure, my shame drew my heart closer. But He didn't finish my servanthood. He proved He abided with me. He proved his covenant was unshakeable.

"How can that not be amazing? How can we be so very qualified to bear the light of the world in our lives, yet be so imperfect? How is it that He can turn evil into the good of bringing us closer so that we will be like the woman caught in adultry, having the same command and assuredly obeying it from that moment forward:

"Standing close, He said softly, 'Go, and sin no more.'

"My God heals me.

"He makes me whole.

"He takes away all my inclination to sin. And that is nothing less than a miracle, in this world."


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

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