Monday, November 28, 2011

No Margins

I am one of those people who when I write become inspired as I reread to add secondary or even tertiary notes in the margin of my pages. Many times those afterthoughts become more important than the original thought and I have come to realize it is a good thing to use the whole sheet.  The original purpose of the margin is to focus our attention to the important content inside of the box.  Line everything up neat and orderly so its easy to see and understand, not messy and difficult. 
As so many of us say to ourselves and others, "God cannot be put in box" and I would add to that, neither can what God has created be put outside of that box in the margin.


verb (used with object), -ized, -iz·ing. to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power:

God doesn't write with margins when he writes our story.  He got it right the first time. In the book of Genesis, the very first statement the Spirit inspired words said about humanity was that both  man and woman were made in the image and likeness of God.  There is honor, nobility, royalty,value and respect due to each and every human being on the face of the earth if for only that one statement, let alone that Jesus thought we had enough value to die for.  Current station in life, prince or pauper has no bearing on that value and neither person has a more prominent or important part of the story God is writing.
Even so it is a terrible temptation for fallen humanity to dominate and "marginalize" others we deem as lesser or different, based on sex, sin, nationality, intelligence, social & financial status or even religion.  The example in Genesis is for the more powerful to give that honor and value to the weaker and all of us have the power to bless each other.  Selah. 
I was driving home from a prayer meeting on Saturday morning and stopped to get a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  Tall Americano with two splendas, which  I knew would cost $1.95.  I instantly realized that I had no money in my wallet, but I really wanted a cup of coffee.  Aha! I remembered the tray in my console where I always threw extra change and the side of my seat where there were always a few quarters when I got this desperate.  I became self conscious digging for 10 minutes for the  elusive silver coins my fat fingers couldn't get to.   I realized I was being watched by two homeless guys drinking coffee and cokes and eating Weinerschnitzel chile dogs and they were wondering what  I was up to.  One of them got up to get a free re-fill of coke at the am/pm minimarket and the Spirit of God spoke to me give them the tray full of pennies that I had separated from the silver coins.  It was probably two dollars worth.  So I did and just told the one  remaining man that I loved him and God loved him and that I felt like God wanted me to give him the pennies.  He looked like he had had a rough night, maybe a hangover, so he wasn't very enthusiastic, but he said thanks as I went in to get my coffee.
After I came out I realized I still had over a dollars worth of silver coins in my pocket and so I went over to the table where the guy who had the pennies was in deep concentration, busy counting them out into stacks of ten.  His partner had returned with  his soda and was a little more enthusiastic and said to his buddy, " Is this the guy?,  Is this the guy who gave us the pennies?"   He was so grateful, I couldn't help but smile and fill up with joy.  Then I remembered,  "here is some more I have left over after buying my coffee".  You would have thought I gave him a hundred dollar bill.  He grabbed my hand, looked up into heaven with sincere thankfulness and then straight into my eyes until it was almost uncomfortable and said " I love you man,  God is in the amazing business, glory to God"!  Then I told him I love you too, and just so he really believed it I asked him if he  knew why.  He asked me why and I told him because you were made in the image and likeness of God and I love God and he loves you, so I love you., A little dignity and worth entered him at that very moment. Then we had the battle of I love you's back and forth  and finally we both laughed and gave God glory for his creation of man.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Marketplace Christianity

Many young believers (at least I did) have a romanticized idea of what its like to be a Pastor or minister on staff at their church.  If you are a typical upward climbing and competitive American, getting on staff is the ultimate way to demonstrate your piety and spirituality, or so we think ( at least subconsciously). That is until you get there.  The best way to realize you are not called to be a Pastor is to become a Pastor, I highly recommend it if you have the time. You will know immediately that you made a big mistake if you are not called into that office gift, and then you can get on with your Spiritual growth, which the majority of us are supposed to experience in the marketplace.
There are a lot of limitations that Pastors lament, not the least of which is contact with the outside world, or what is commonly termed the marketplace.  Not many Pastors have the opportunity to call up one of their customers and ask them to stop sending them pornographic e-mails because they are offensive.  Pastors don't have the ability to interact with their office and take stands to be a witness for righteousness on issues like abortion, stem cell research & sex trafficking.  In many ways it is more powerful for an average or normal believer to bless when others are cursing.  To be joyful and at peace and demonstrate forgiveness and generosity when they don't have an official job that demands it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jacob loves Rachel- A Type of Christ and his bride

Reading in Genesis 29 last night, the Holy Spirit spoke to me the message of the Bride of Christ ( again).  I think he wants to make it really clear, he loves us, he is in pursuit of us, he notices us, he provides for us, he wants to abide with us, he wants to give us living water and refresh us, to be one with us and so much more.  Every type and shadow in the scriptures that  brings out the bride message has a special nuance and side message to enhance the bride paradigm.  The story of Jacob and Rachel  highlights Christ's determination to do whatever it takes to win his bride including rolling away the stone.

-Gen. 29:3 Jacob set out again on his way to the people of the east. He noticed a well out in an open field with three flocks of sheep bedded down around it. This was the common well from which the flocks were watered. The stone over the mouth of the well was huge. When all the flocks were gathered, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well and water the sheep; then they would return the stone, covering the well.
 4 Jacob said, "Hello friends. Where are you from?"
   They said, "We're from Haran."
 5 Jacob asked, "Do you know Laban son of Nahor?"
   "We do."
 6 "Are things well with him?" Jacob continued.
   "Very well," they said. "And here is his daughter Rachel coming with the flock."
 7 Jacob said, "There's a lot of daylight still left; it isn't time to round up the sheep yet, is it? So why not water the flocks and go back to grazing?"
 8 "We can't," they said. "Not until all the shepherds get here. It takes all of us to roll the stone from the well. Not until then can we water the flocks."
 9-13 While Jacob was in conversation with them, Rachel came up with her father's sheep. She was the shepherd. The moment Jacob spotted Rachel, daughter of Laban his mother's brother, saw her arriving with his uncle Laban's sheep, he went and single-handedly rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. Then he kissed Rachel and broke into tears. He told Rachel that he was related to her father, that he was Rebekah's son.

There is always a well ( source of life and refreshment) in the field which represents the earth, where we live and work and operate out of, but access is sometimes limited. The average shepherd always has a reason why they can't water the flocks and take them to graze, why the stone cannot be rolled away so that the living water can come forth.  The greater Jacob is aware of all the sheep that need to be watered, but what he is really looking for, what captures his heart is when the Shepherdess ( his future bride) Rachel shows up with her flock that she cares for. He has been journeying, waiting and in an expectancy wondering what she would look like.  Her heart is to serve and shepherd and he loves that about her. The other shepherds don't see what he sees.  He alone,without the help of any other rolls away the stone for her and those in her care and it is his love for her, that gives him the power to roll the stone away when no one else could and also which ends up meeting the need of all the other shepherds and sheep as well.  The greater Jacob breaks down when he sees Rachel, he is emotional about her, his feelings are strong, he ends up working 14 years for her and it seemed like nothing because of his great love for her. He ends up going into the father's house to abide with her.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life of Elijah- the path of the Justice minister

Elijah passionately embraced an unpopular position as he faced the prophets of Baal and Asherah in a showdown of righteousness and justice.  Licentious social opinion, ( Jezebel) the religious majority ( compromised Israel and the priests of Baal) and the head of the national government ( Ahab) in a unique, but not rare demonic alignment poised against him.

Elijah is not the exception, he is the rule. He is the example, type and shadow of every person that prophetically speaks up for what is right.  The situation back then is the same as it is today. False spirituality characterized by compromise and endorsement of murder of innocent children and sexual slavery all in the name of  religious freedom, tolerance and of course profit.

Elijah's love for his his God, his nation and righteousness compelled him unrestrained to stand up against the unrighteousness.  The brainwashed, medicated society is unable to see the issues as clearly as the Elijah's and will always accuse Elijah of causing the problems.  Why rock the boat and make a mountain out of a molehill?

The Elijah's stand on the word of God to declare his judgments and his grace and even in famine and drought caused by their own word and decision to step out, they are provided for by the Lord at the brook Kidron ( I kings 17) when all others are looking to Ahab and blaming Elijah. 

The Elijahs will be tempted to change their word from drought to rain, when the brook dries up, but if they listen to the Lord, they will be instructed to move into covenant relationship with the widows and orphans of Zarephath ( not the governors or kings), where not only the widows and orphans needs are met, but their own and the Lord will be blessed and honored.