Saturday, January 29, 2005

Unadulterated Fellowship Is Synonymous with Authentic Relationship

Unadulterated fellowship is the vessel through which the Kingdom of God traverses, and God's infinite love is the sustaining fuel that propels it down the swell of eternity. Breaking all barriers cultural, physical, and even spiritual, it surges forth impetuously leaving every sundered heart in its path forever transfigured into a glistening creation bursting with vitality.

I guess I just wanted to link the last story I typed with this little blurb I wrote. Forgiveness is such an integral part of our lives... or it should be. We were created to be in relationships with other created beings made in the image of God. It is our very PURPOSE to love each other and by doing so we are in turn putting rubber to the road in our service to the King of Kings. We so often think that we have every right to hold grudges, when people viciously slice our hearts into ribbons with their words and/or actions. We believe the lies that our lack of mercy is really soothing to our own souls. We insulate our hearts with the numbing lies that are so readily available to us in our society. Glorifying ourselves is always the easy road to take, because it means we are the righteous and have no fault.

The story below describes the ULTIMATE REALITY of God's Kingdom. You see we are already millions of dollars in the RED. We have already started out behind the curve in life. We have earned death for all of the mistakes we have committed from our birth until the present. The King of Kings realized this and paved the road of life for us to have the opportunity to take a different path, the path of LIFE. If we collapse to our knees in His presence and beseech Him to forgive us of our own debt, He will be faithful and just to allow us to live our lives in honor of His glory not merely as indebted servants but as LIBERATED men and women.

There is a VERY REAL problem, when we cannot forgive those who betray us/hurt us. A seed of bitterness will take root in in our hearts and will steadily rot us from the inside out. You see God understands that unforgiveness leads to death. You might think that you are hurting the offending part with your unforgiveness, but you are really hurting yourself. You are cultivating a deadly vine in your heart that will choke the life out of you.

So you might thinking.... SO WHAT??? GREAT???? We all have these seeds of bitterness choking our hearts..... Even if I wanted to forgive those offenders..... I don't have the strength to love them or to forgive them..... You know what? You are absolutely right... You don't have the power....

HOWEVER.... the King's love will be given to you to fill your heart.... IF you ask Him to. This will allow you to overcome the bitterness that's poisoning your soul. It may not be given to you in an instant ..... or a miraculous transformation could occur in one brief moment. One thing is for sure... You will never be the same.... as you explore your own opportunity to live a life free of bondage..................

Thanks for joining random thoughts with Ryan.........




No Mercy?

How many times am I supposed to forgive others, when they betray my trust? Once? Twice?

Not just a couple of times but but every single time.

Ever wondered what the Kingdom of Heaven is really like?

Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to balance all of his accounts with his servants once and for all. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him millions of dollars was brought to him. This servant was not able to pay up, so the king ordered that he, his wife, and children be sold into slavery. Not only that but all that he had was to be sold to repay the debt as well.

The servant fell on his knees before him and begged, "PLEASE be patient with me and I promise to pay back every single penny, if it takes me the rest of my natural life. The king thought long and hard on the matter, but finally he had mercy on the man and cancelled the debt to let him go live his life with his family.

That very same servant went outside leaping for joy at his newfound freedom and bumped into a fellow servant who owed him twenty bucks. He then proceeded to grab the man by the throat and push him up against the wall, when he found that the guy could not pay him his 20 dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The angry fellow finally let him down to hear this guy plead his case. His fellow servant slipped to his knees and beseeched him to please be patient with him, so he could pay him back in full at the end of the month.

The man refused to display any compassion towards his fellow servant. Instead, he went to have the man thrown into prison until he could pay off the debt. Other servants in the kingdom saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went to tell the king everything that had happened.

When the king got wind of this story, he called for this guy to be brought to him. When the man lacking compassion came before the king, he said," What evil is this that you have committed??? I graciously cancelled your debt as an example, because you pleaded for your precious life. Why couldn't you have had compassion on your fellow servant, as I had on you?"

The king was outraged and decreed that the unmerciful servant be sent straight to prison so the guards could torture him until he could pay back all the massive debt that he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's That Time Again...

Wow... Blogging on a consistent basis actually takes some discipline... or maybe just a little something called "free time". Whatever THAT means. I almost find it difficult to believe that I have not posted anything in two weeks!!! ALMOST....

Hmmmm... What is going on with me these days??? I find that working about 80 hours a week isn't nearly as bad as deployment which equals 100+ hours a week. My goal these days is how to actually reconcile God's Kingdom advancement within the workplace.

I am coming to the conclusion that being a "good" leader is one of the best ways to accomplish this. So what exactly constitutes a "good" leader? THAT my friends is THE million dollar question....................

My current mission in life is to find ways to serve my people in a way that promotes ownership of their work aka their responsibilities. Somehow through all of the taskings and busy work that just piles up higher and higher everyday, I have to find a way to give my people a common sense of mission and purpose. Finding ways to sincerely thank them for the work that they do do well....( yes... i said do do)

ANYWAY, the Navy as a work place tends to be extremely thankless not to mention down right depressing at least in my limited 7 months of experience. Dare I mention the abundance of unadulterated cynicism that so often runs rampant in the work spaces... I really want to challenge the status quo of a bunch of individuals running around doing their specialty without any form of unit cohesion.

My prayer is that God would really burn a vision of His Kingdom purpose into my heart, mind, and soul in a way that I could cling to it consistently on a daily basis. If I could really embrace this picture of navy work His way, I might possibly be able to inspire the hearts of those who call me "Sir". It would not be merely out of a sense of duty.... but out of a sincere respect of who I am ... and who I am calling them to be.

So you might to be thinking about now........ "Wow this kid is either really idealistic or just plain ignorant" Well... If you don't set lofty goals, what's the point of trying to improve your quality of life? Why even take your next breath?

I am convinced that Jesus meant what He said in John 10:10 concerning the abundant LIFE in which He promised His followers. He also meant that it would not be easy as He described a formidable foe who steals, kills, and destroys. So I hope to grow some backbone in order to keep fighting the monotony that threatens to steal my joy and poison my outlook on life.... I suggest you do the same... and never shrink into the dismal abyss of hopelessness and fear of the unknown. It's a terribly lonely road that leads to Hell.... Believe me I have tread down it more times than I would like to ever admit.... It's not worth it...



Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Church... What is it? What should it be?

I still haven't told many people about all the changing church stuff that I am reading about and praying about these days... It is REALLY REALLY shifting how I am approaching a life in Christ and how that fits in "church" re-defined by Jesus and not the Christendom centered Christianese subculture so prevalent in our Western society. (Email if you want more on that)

At this point, I am just learning about these things and coming to accept them in my own life... I am actively trying to change my own paradigm in hopes of making the rubber meet the road in how I live my life...

I am convinced that we are called to embody a quality of life in a host culture that is RADICAL.. OTHER... DIFFERENT... and yet something that others can relate to.... I really feel God's call to change how we think and do and be church... Changing music themes, the name of the church, or throwing more money at the problem in order to draw more people in isn't ever going to work.. It never has... so what DO we need to DO???

We have to GO OUT and LIVE SENT by EMBODYING the Great Commission....

I sincerely believe that this " COME COME COME COME COME" mentality in churches in the Western culture is just BACKWARDS.... We are always told to bring a friend INTO church... out their comfort zone into a "safe" Christian subculture that is utterly alien and intimidating to most people...

Jesus sent the disciples out time and time again into the surrounding cultures.... It was DANGEROUS... It was DIFFICULT... It wasn't "SAFE"... Yet it was the most forceful invasion ever to touch the face of the earth.. It was subversive... not popular... yet growing expontentially... Today's Western Christianity has been watered down into a few incredibly dull things like:

... Live a good life.... Don't do bad things.... Keep trying to get all of the sin out of your life even though you never will until you die.... Make sure you follow all the rules.... all of this just so we don't have to suffer miserably in some form of Hell.... We do this so we can sing hymns on cloud in the sky for eternity to a scary God of insane power.....

This Religiousness in our church culture is really a steaming pile of crap, and I am tired of it. I am sick of seeing hurting, dyeing, and desperate souls reach out for LIFE everywhere OTHER than to their Creator... I think largely because the Western church as we know it is overall failing miserably in some respects.... and we are His chosen vessels to further His Kingdom... If we don't do it, then WHO will???

Don't get me wrong I don't want to dissolve all central church buildings or anything like that, and I do recognize that good things are coming out of the Western Church. I am making some broad generalizations, but let's face it...... We are in desperate need of change... My heart burns with passion to see what God has in store for us.. IF we would just listen...

Another thing is... that we have a "Dualism" in our churches...(So what is that???... let me attempt an explanation)

In the Christianese "churchy" culture of today.... There is this very unfortunate distinction between LAY leaders... and "professional" ministers, pastors, and missionaries.... Don't get me wrong being a well educated professional is great..(I have been blessed by several throughout my life....) However, this system so often leaves the rest of the congregation to sit on their tails and consume spiritual goods and teachings on a weekly basis that are purely academic in nature not to mention void of practical application.... Most professing "Christians" act like the Great Commission doesn't apply to them.... It's rarely taken seriously....

There is a pervading sense of:
"Let the pastors do it... Let the missionaries do it... I am just a regular person... I can't do anything crazy for God..."

The Dualism that has seeped into the Western Church also brings us to a terrible competition of "Us vs Them" mentality... I even catch myself using it... We have the SINNERS and then the CHRISTIANS..... The Christians are the holy, righteous men and women of God..... while the so called sinners are looked down upon in their ignorance and apparent lack of obedience.

What happened to us all being equally valuable beings created in the image of God by the LOVING heart of the King of Kings....??? We have a hard time relating to people who don't know the Truth or about the ABUNDANT life in Christ, so we just hide in our little Christian holes and have "fellowship".... We try to bring people in where we feel safe.. instead of going out to live outside of our own comfort zones....

Ok.. so you got a small taste of the things in my mind and on my heart... Please don't misconstrue my criticism as something other than constructive... I have always had a heart for the "Body of Christ", but the religiousness that has invaded it makes me sick.. We are to be sooooo much more practical and genuine in our approach to the desperate and dyeing souls around us... I just want God's Kingdom to be advanced in the heart of men/women as He intended it... I don't pretend to have all the answers.... I am just beginning to listen to some of my very dear friends who are not professing "Christians" and I often cringe... because I have to agree with them that in general churches everywhere in our society are failing people....

ok I am done ranting for now... I should mention that a good deal of this thinking came from reading "The Shaping of Things to Come" by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost .. I highly recommend it!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Random Thoughts

Have you ever wondered who thought up the idea of a "blog"? I mean who decided that this thing should be called a blog even? I don't know just thought I would ask.....

I guess this is my way of attempting to get a comment or two without actually typing anything of note or merit in order to see who actually reads this thing... :)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Things that make you go Hmmmmm....

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I find it ironic that my first day of 2005 was at work... but hey!!!! Someone has to do it.... It was not all that bad, because it was just a quiet duty day.

So I have been thinking a lot about life in general, and how the only constant in my life has been change. Think about it... You start school, and you spend the majority of your early years as a student. Over the course of time, there are all these different stages. Elemetary, Middle School, High School, College.... Each new beginning is a bit more challenging than the last. Then, there is your first entry into the reality of the full time working world, where you are no longer just a carefree student. Paying bills on time becomes much more pertinent than studying at the last minute for that test in the morning.... Skipping actually has real consequences other than lowering your GPA. Also, you can't just borrow your parents' stuff anymore, because you have to have your own house hold items such as cookware, plates, forks, and dish towels.

Also, I find it peculiar that we, as in humanity, are rarely content with our current place in life. We are always striving to make it through ONE more class.... or to graduate high school or college... We are always looking forward to the end of the work day... the work week... retirement. Hope in something more seems to be a continual theme that can be found in the very fabric of our being. It's funny how much we openly and even vehemently oppose change in our lives, and yet we continually crave it....

People always ask... "HEY, what's new?" ..... The response is usually along this theme... "Same old, same old." or "Nothing new"...... How BORING is that???

On the flip side, in the actual event that there is change..... People usually respond with whining.... Complaining... or "well it used to be like..... "

How come humanity is rarely ever content with life and the changes that it brings???

Then, there is the question:
How does God fit in this picture of seeking to live an abudant life?

Rather maybe it should be:
How does humanity fit in HIS picture of abundant life?

My mission and purpose in this "random Ryan rambling" is to learn something new... I want to struggle with these questions in order to learn how to joyfully embrace the changes that God throws our way. I want to approach this question with a couple of precepts which I choose to believe as facts....

1. God's heart is GOOD.

2. The King of Kings is in ultimate control of all circumstances and perpetually has our best
interest at heart.

3. He sent His Son to give us an AWESOME LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you didn't read all of this and think you were going to get some deep insight or explanation. This is just some stuff that I am thinking about...... :) Have a nice day........


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