Monday, January 24, 2011


John MacArthur's book Slave has created quite a stir.  Being a slave really is the essence of our relationship with Jesus.  Most of us continue to accommodate Christ.  We move over a little in our lives to make room for Him.  We plead for Him to make our lives work, to heal Aunt Martha, to help me pass this evaluation, to get me a job.  What we want is for God to do something in our lives to make our lives get better.  This is why suffering makes no sense and why God not showing up is so bothersome.  If this story is about us, then God should be doing something to make it sweet...if He really does love us.
If we, on the other hand, are His slaves and the story is about Him and not about us, then suffering is easy because God is using that to move His plot line forward, to create His story, to define and refine us as a part of His story.  Giving up our agenda, though, is very difficult.  We need control of our lives.  We can't just go through life letting things happen to us being completely reactive beings.  That's the struggle - living on that boundary.  Giving up our agenda but not fully knowing God's.  A dear friend of mine said when she gets up in the morning she prays that she will just get out of God's way today, "Let me not be me today but your servant, Lord."  Oh what Jesus could do if we all did what He asked.  "I only do what I see the Father doing." Listening is a great start.  Instead of praying at God tomorrow morning, just listen.  Notice images in your mind or thoughts that come up.  Try following up on those.  They may not all be from God at first because you listen so poorly but you'll get better at it.  His sheep learn His voice.  Takes a little time but His sheep learn His voice.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Struggling Not to Belong

When we go into the sun we get tanned. 
When we sit with God we get God-ed. 
This is what formation is all about.  Metanoia.  However…
We are so corrupted already. 
Adam and Eve sinned – image-of-God freedom, I suppose.
In our freedom we sin and so must struggle against individual sins. 
We must also struggle to be free from sin's bondage.
And, we must struggle into the sun.
Struggle to use our freedom for freedom.
The slave looks into the mirror and sees the brand removed but
walks away and forgets what he saw, who he is, free. So he is enslaved again.
Not to belong to the world is three works - not to go to sin, go to God for repair, go to God for filling.
Formation and counterformation. 
Redemption.  Freedom. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We believe first

     Smith, in Desiring the Kingdom, suggests that we believe before we understand.  Unquestionably the disciples followed Jesus for years and didn't get it.  But it was a deep plowing.  Smith's idea fits well within Westerhoff's concept that the first stage in formation is an affection for the whole milieu of the church and Christ.  Only after that affection will truths and understanding convert.  Many today would move people to faith in Christ by establishing an intellectual "worldview" but this is the cart before the horse. 
     Why is the conversion of teens and adults such a challenge with such spotty success and poor durability? 
     The difficultly is that very early on people develop their belief system.  This then is the lens through which they evaluate information/truth.  If people grow up with a belief system that is not completely Jesus based, then all the truth you provide for them is evaluated through the lens of the world.  Scripture and the work of Jesus is evaluated and judged based on what their belief system sees.  Consequently, most Christian truth is rejected or worse, twisted to fit what the person already thinks.  This is the basis of most of today's heresy...a twisted Christ who fits.  We must recapture Fenhagen's understanding that faith is subversive, not workable.
     Forming a child's belief system must happen first and right away.  This happens with bedtime Bible stories to be sure but that is not enough to be the counter-formation required in this world.  To paraphrase Voddie Baucham, "If we expose our children to Caesar all day long on TV and music and school, why are we surprised that we have Caesar thinkers when they are old." 
     "Choose this day..."


We all belong.  We belong to something or someone.
Perhaps you don't even realize it
but your heart has landed
Generally, though, we are not a happy lot.
There is a nagging sense that this - whatever we have - is not "it".
C. S. Lewis' homesickness.
We long for a place that feels like home, that is home, that loves us and accepts our love.
A place we belong.