Saturday, April 21, 2012

Really! No junk - just Jesus!

Did you know that Jesus in the Bible actually taught that he would never be represented by most of the people who would claim to do so?

In fact, his Bible warns us explicitly to recognize and avoid these glitzy-holy "Christians". It tells us over and over that he condemns people who claim to be about him but really aren't, and he rejects their hurtful, violent, judging, hypocritical, and oppressive actions (they don't teach you that part of the Bible in Sunday School or on television, do they?)

The Old and New Testaments of the Bible describe again and again the garbage religious human beings have piled on top of what God really wanted of them, only to then pretend NOT doing what God wants is what God really wants after all. Crazy!

There's a better way. A way that Jesus invited us to live. It's not hard to learn. In fact, the more "educated" you get trying to figure out it, the further you'll actually end up from the real Jesus and the message he and his first followers wanted you to understand.

Jesus' way truly is about love - but it's also about justice, peace, and turning even (especially) the Christian religious world out in the cold.

Jesus' way isn't about rejecting Gays, or downgrading women, or oppressing the poor - and it isn't about re-translating and reinterpreting the Bible to make it seem he is (though 2,000 years of "scholars" have done just that).

If you've rejected Jesus because you think he's as jerky as the evil-minded, shallow-hearted people who've hurt and disgusted you and others you care about, give him another (real) try.

Check out (the real) Jesus. He's not where they say he is. He's not part of their plans. He's right here, wanting to be THE source of love, strength, mercy, and justice that lives in your heart.

Go for it. No junk - just Jesus.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Witnessing 101

I've done a lot of witnessing this last week - and I've watched a lot of pretend "witnessing".

I've talked a lot about Jesus this week - and I've listened to a lot of people pretend to talk about "Jesus".

What's pretty amazing is that literally any believer who knows the basics of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He will yet do could (and should) have done what I did.

But it takes a seminary-level education to pretend.

We as human beings get SO proud of what WE can do, and it shouldn't surprise us that our pride would also tempt us to idolize what WE can do for God or God's Kingdom.

Just like the Pharisees of old, we build "God's house" and put on our church clothes and give each other assigned positions ("pastor", "priest", "lay leader", yes, but also "congregant" and "worshipper" and so on). We use special language to signal to ourselves and each other that we're part of this Jesus in-group, and to define what we "can" and "cant" do.

And then we write and read books that justify spending all our time, energy, and money resources on all this for "God's" glory - when the bible itself says God actually gave us totally different orders.

So we maybe do 20 seconds a year at what Jesus REALLY said to do.

This week I met a guy who was struggling to understand if Jesus would forgive him for the really horrible things he'd done (and the horrible things he's done would make your skin crawl - really). 

The EVIL thing to have done would be to tell him he needed to go to or join a church, or direct him to say the so-called "Sinner's Prayer", or to have invited him to talk to Pastor or go to Confession - because every one of those things is only a fake of who Jesus really is to any of us, and a fake of the Truth and strength God's Spirit offers us. To have done any of these things would have been like sending someone with cancer to a really nice doctor with a fake medical degree who works in a filthy hospital.

What this guy really needed was to hear what Jesus require for forgiveness: repentance. Gods real work here was for me to get myself out of the way and simply share with this guy - in normal everyday language, as one sinner to another - that God loves him beyond his ability to comprehend it and that Jesus stands ready to forgive, but that forgiveness comes AFTER repentance. "So, trust Jesus, guy, and turn your heart away from wanting to do these horrible things anymore, and you ARE forgiven."

What I did in a grocery store parking lot that day ANY believer could have done, and every believer SHOULD have done, right then and there.

It didn't take a several week course on the requirements of church membership, or a seminary degree, or an approval from some church to do ministry, to help this guy find his path to Jesus again.

All it required was five minutes, knowing the basics that Jesus taught us in the bible about who He is and what He wants, and caring even a little about God's intention to call to Himself every single person who will come to Him.

And, of course, it required being willing to be a real Christian, one who does God's real work when and as HE presents it.

When and where are you willing to do God's real work in your daily life? Who are the people God puts in your life to tend to for Him, even if just for five minutes?

What are the basics of Jesus you still need to learn - not only so you can share them, but also so you can live in the peace, strength, and Truth Jesus offers through them?

God's got work for you to do. Are you ready to stop wasting time in church so you can do it?

In His love,


Monday, April 2, 2012

Good Religious People are Pagan-Makers

I ran into an old friend yesterday, and discovered she's gotten into one of the many forms of paganism.

Now, was she raised to be that way? No, she was raised in a "good Christian home".

Is there some flaw or evil in her heart that sent her away from Jesus? No again. She's actually a very good person.  What turned her away from Jesus is the "good Christians" around her.

If we read the bible and understand what Jesus and others there had to say about false worshippers and legalists, and how such false Christians WILL always be the majority, and how we must NOT allow them to fool us about who Jesus really is, we're protected.

But if we don't yet have that knowledge, we are truly like sheep wandering forests of wolves.

Who are the people in your life who need to learn the "secret" of not being fooled by false Christians and their antichrist spirit? What will you do for them today?