Friday, March 22, 2013

Imbue & Infuse

Christians are not like computer processors.  Yet they come to church and get the latest download, of information, and go home.  It is like a mainstreamed variety of Gnosticism as my friend Tim pointed out.  It is the belief that having the right knowledge will save.

What we find is that history can repeat itself.  All knowledge and no structures in church life for integration produces a people who know a lot and have no lifestyle to reflect what's in their mind.  They called it pharisee.

infuse: to instill a quality
Do not be deceived.  There is only one exam of whether we know Christ.  It is the highest biblical depictions of a life well lived.  Remember that in all Israel, there was no man who was like a son.  There was no heir.  Christ came as the God and Man to be the image for all of us, by grace through faith.  This image is to be infused, imbued, into our being.

imbue: to inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality
We need life paired with life in order to attain this.  We need to give Christians permission and time to think of church life together outside of the inner track of a few who put together our activities of knowledge-dispensing.

I want to be a full-color Christian.  Everything counts.  I need God to color me, to permeate me, to give me what I need.  I need Christians outside of Sundays and Wednesdays to bring me to life in God.  It is time to let down the walls and let friends in.  Let them come in and make something true-colored in application.

when blue showed up, yellow was never the same

The Image of Jesus...

Imbued, Infused Together,

By Grace,

Through Faith.


Ill paint my mood in shades of blue
Paint my soul to be with you
Ill sketch your lips in shaded tones
Draw your mouth to my own

Ill draw your arms around my waist
Then all doubt I shall erase
Ill paint the rain that softly lands on your wind-blown hair

Ill trace a hand to wipe out your tears
A look to calm your fears
A silhouette of dark and light
While we hold each other oh so tight

Ill paint a sun to warm your heart
Swearing that well never part
That's the colour of my love

Ill paint the truth
Show how I feel
Try to make you completely real
Ill use a brush so light and fine
To draw you close and make you mine

Ill paint a sun to warm your heart
Swearing that well never part
That's the colour of my love

Ill draw the years all passing by
So much to learn so much to try

And with this ring our lives will start
Swearing that well never part
I offer what you cannot buy
Devoted love until we die

Saturday, March 09, 2013

God Has Visited His People

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the pre-conference with Missio people about two weeks ago.  There was a lot that I learned about "modality" and "sodality" which explained a lot of the pains and frustrations I've been experiencing.  I plan to bring those out here.

The most important highlight for me was Jeff Vanderstelt's talk during the main conference the first day.  Jeff is one of the founders of Soma, a missional community movement in Tacoma, Washington, under which my brother-in-law has also joined in partnership.  Jeff was sharing a little more about his friend, Clay.  Last year on facebook I posted a video of Jeff introducing Clay.  If you clicked on the video back then or have run across it yourself you may be familiar.  Clay used to go to concerts and use drugs as the highlight of his life.  Jeff and his wife were invited to hang out with Clay at concerts.  Obviously Jeff and his wife were uncomfortable, however they respectfully served Clay during those concerts.

At some point after that video, I assume that Clay became a believer.  At the conference, Jeff was updating his story.  In my memory of the conference Jeff said,

I have been wondering about Clay.  He doesn't seem to show much signs of growing so I just prayed and prayed for him.  One day I'm going over to Clay's house, and I see all these firetrucks and an ambulance with their sirens blaring.  The thought comes across my mind, "I wonder if that has anything to do with Clay?"  So I follow the sirens and they turn down Clay's street.  Then they stop in front of Clay's house.  Clay's wife is standing on the front lawn, crying.  So I go up to her and pause, and say, "Is... Clay... ??"  She says that Clay was over in their neighbor's garage.

Clay had answered a call for help from a neighbor.  The man who lived there had hung himself in the garage. Clay is in the garage and it's completely dark, and he's looking around for anything that will cut the rope.  Somehow there's a sliver of light shining on a pair of scissors, so, he's cutting the rope while trying to lift the man up to relieve the pressure around his neck.  He gets him down.  He starts doing CPR.  Nothing.  Clay starts to pray.  Clay prays, "You know, God, if it's this guy's time to go, go ahead and take him.  But if he's not would you save his life?"

The garage door starts to rattle as a wind blew through the cracks, and as the wind blew past Clay and this man, the man takes a breath....

He's in the hospital, and wouldn't you know that one of the members of our Soma community is his nurse, so as he regains consciousness in the hospital he gets to hear the story of what happened.  This nurse is only 21 years old, and she leaves Tacoma and goes on vacation to visit her family in southern California.  While she's there, a group of pastors ask her if she would come down and share the story of what God is up to with Soma and the story of Clay's neighbor.  So, here's a 21 year old girl teaching pastors about the power of God and what missional community is all about, the mission to reach others for Christ.

I talk to Clay and you know what he told me?  He said, "Yeah, I was reading the gospel of Mark lately (!!), got through several chapters and read how Jesus does miracles."

God  answered his prayer... AND CLAY'S NOT EVEN THAT GREAT A CHRISTIAN, you know... what I mean?

So here Jeff had been praying for this new believer who doesn't really understand much about God and how He works in our lives, not even knowing he had been reading the gospel of Mark!

This testimony stirred me.  It was as if I was waiting for something, but when I heard that God was even raising the dead... I felt an urgency, that I was living in the days when God moves.  Then I read Luke 7:11-16 for no good reason and was shocked by the scriptures:
Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd.  And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.  When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”  Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”  And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

That was exactly the words I felt: God has visited His people.  Their minds were settled that His favor had come into their lives.  So I have been praying ever since, for God to visit me, visit US.  I want to see His Kingdom not for my satisfaction, but for the sake of the lost.  He taught us to pray that His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  I realize He's not going to transform all till His return, but I believe nevertheless.  What if we prayed together for His Kingdom to come to us?  Would He set a limit and not be supernatural if we asked?  I believe it honors Him when I trust Him for His Kingdom, here and now!  I think the more we seek Him, the more we will find, even if we do not receive all His Kingdom in this dispensation.  Will you pray with me?  Luke 11:9-13,

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

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