Saturday, June 23, 2012

Undiscerning Rebellion

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

I can go many different directions with this.  I'll just touch on one today.

I love my friends very much.  To there misfortune, I continually to learn more and more from them in their moments of being vulnerable with me.  It seems that I've discovered this idea that every moment is a teaching moment, so I search and dig and find something to gain from whatever it is.  Check this out.

I listened to one of my friends deeply groan about her trust issues with men.  Her story is this, she's been poorly led by men so she questions their words.  And, rightfully so.  When you've been misled or lied to time and time again, a brokenness can erupt and become a stumbling block in how you approach relationships.  Right?  Are most of us experiencing that now?  Our past continues to govern our present and future.  I've always had this idea that the hopeless at one time was hopeful in something.  It's hard to be in a "less" something when it was never "full" to begin with.  Like my friend had at one time been hopeful that some guy was "the one", and it turns out he wasn't.  So now her hopelessness comes from having hoped in it at one time and had it ripped from her. So the situation she is in now is that a guy has approached her with the same language that the last guys have used.

"Hey, I like you.  I can see myself with you." Or in some variation of that.

In some way or another, every guy makes a woman feel this way.  Whether the woman is perceiving the guy simply being interested in her as commitment already, or the guy actually communicated it to her----but, that's another blog for another day.

So the first thing that I had to send through my "You Cannot Say That Right Now" filter was this, "He told you he liked you.  What's the big deal?  Is that not enough security for you to be content?"  But in that moment, God whips out the chalkboard and starts teaching a class.

"Behind all this grumbling, she's not trusting in his word, therefore not trusting in his leadership, which produces an hesitation in submission, which is rebellion.

God what? How is her unable to trust considered rebellion?"

That was the magic question.  I'm going to ramble now, please read carefully and hang on.

What happens when we sin? We war against God's rule right? So God's perfect word, the Bible, is God's law for us. Everything He says in it we must be willing to submit and conform too. Just like the common ones discussed, "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal", this almost pushes the weight of the same commands "trust in me, put your faith in me, submit your lives to me". All are commands from God, therefore all considered sin when we disobey them. So when we refuse to trust in God, what are we saying?

God, I don't think you can handle this situation, so I'm going to do it my way---undiscerning rebellion--- which is us warring against Him, which wars against His leadership in our lives, which wars against the vision and purpose this leader has for our lives.  So when a woman is unwilling to trust in a guy, she's also refusing to submit, because if she doesn't trust his word, then she doesn't trust his leadership, therefore will put her in the place of a sinful woman.

Oh my my my.  So, what is the dilemma?

We're rebelling all the time against God, and don't even know it.  Our past continues to dictate our present response to God.  So He says trust in me, and our response is usually what? "God, I've trusted in something before and it failed me"--in that we're warring against Him saying prove to me You're any different than that guy, or my own father, or my friends.  When God says put your hope and faith in Him, and our usual response is, "well God I've hoped in something before, and it failed me."  When God says He loves you, and you've had people who have said they love you mistreat you and abuse you, that can create an intimacy issue with God, does it not?

Hey, if God has removed your past and sees it no more, then you should do the same.  Allow God to make ALL things new in your heart.  Give you a new perception of trust and hope and love.  This blog is called "Undiscerning Rebellion" because this is a subconscious stumbling block, very unrecognizable.  The enemy doesn't plainly say this to us, just like he didn't plainly tell Adam and Eve that them eating from the tree was just like telling God that's He's not enough for them, that they needed more.  Hey, let's be a generation that realizes that God is enough for us, and let's allow Him to make all things new in us so that we can truly walk this out.

Dear God guide us,

But one thing remains.  Guess what God is saying to you right now.

"Hey, I like you.  I can see myself with you."

Brother, sister.  Stop rebelling.  Rest in submission.  Rest in the security of God.

His love never fails.  It never gives up.  It never runs out.  Listen to this song by Jesus Culture.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spiritual Eye Drops

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

First, let me paint the illustration.

So many of us, ok, most of us, alright, all of us have some eye burn.  This eye burn has ruined our sight, its ruined our depth perception, our sense of clarity, and how we see the world.  And we all have our different ways of coping with this eye burn.  A technique many of us use are the "encouraging" eye drops.

Recently I had a good friend of mine and a follower of this blog ask me the tough question, check it out.

"Claude, how do we get to place to where we actually are believing and walking out the things we hear?"

Her question was stemming from a conversation we were having and the topic got brought up about how we hear these good things all the time.  Things like, God has a plan for your life, you're beautiful, don't worry about it, let go and let God, all these encouraging words that usually gets us over the hump of bad days or bad situations or bad moods.  So her question left me interested in being able to answer that the next time she or anyone else ask me.  Here's what I got.

We have to get away from only being comfortable with the encouraging words, or the spiritual eye drops for our eye burn.  Instead, we should seek true healing of the eye burn.

Let me say it this way.

A lot of us tweet these encouraging quotes from C.S. Lewis and ones we come up with our own, or Tweetable lines that awesome pastors drop every week in a sermon, but what will it take to actually get us applying these quotes to our lives.  How do we get away from being Junkie Christians, where we just show up to worship services with our minds ready to only get our weekly fix of Jesus?

Here's my suggestion, let's focus less on getting the eye drops and more on getting the Jesus.

Let me start from it this way.  Place two people in front of you, a stranger, and your best friend.  Now, at the same time, these two people can say the same thing, but you'll receive them in two different ways.  Let's just be elementary and imagine we're in a sandbox.

Stranger says.  "You're ugly."
Best friend says. "You're ugly."

Which hurts more?  They both hurt in some degree or on some measure, but the one from the best friend hurts the most.  Why?  Because the words from that best friend are weighted so much more than the words from the stranger.  So here's what I suggest, Jesus may be too much of a stranger to  you.  Yes, I am suggesting that you may not know Jesus as well as you think you do.  You can't feel the weight of His words for you.  Which is why we must.....


Never in my life have I ever realized how important this is.  We must study, not just read, study.  What is God meaning?  Its okay to ask that.  Stop blindly just reading and walking away with surface level understanding. But dig in that thing.  Press in on God to explain to you why you should trust in Him completely.  Why He wants us to flee sexual immorality.  Why we are saved by faith and not by our works.  Why am I supposed to dress modest.  Why should I honor women.  Why, why why.

Now, I must say this.  This thing doesn't work like our method of electing governing officials.  Where we ask God all of our questions and then make a decision whether He should be God over our lives or not.  He's already that.  So all I'm suggesting is this....

Know the person that's saying these things to you.

A pastor can tell you all day that God thinks you're beautiful and worthy of respect.  But, imagine the weight of hearing it from God Himself.  It doesn't have to be hearsay friends.

A pastor can scream at the top of his lungs that God loves you, His grace is sufficient for you, nothing you have done can exceed the amount of grace He has for you, and once you're IN CHRIST, you have been justified and cleared of the wrath of your sins because of the sacrifice Jesus made for you on the cross---- this is grace, we can hear that time and time again, but...... miss out on feeling the weight of the Gospel.  Why?  Because we just know what happened, but we don't understand what happened.  Too many Christians know what happened, because we've sat in Easter services for 20+ years, but we don't understand what happened.  We don't understand the weight of our sins, therefore missing the weight of His wrath, and therefore missing the weight of His love, and therefore missing the weight of Jesus's sacrifice, and therefore missing the weight of grace.

I dare you to go chase after the weight of all that.  Read your Bibles people.  You have no idea what God is exclaiming to you deep within the text if you do not dig into it.  Stop being okay with the spiritual eye drops, the comfort verses, the get over my bad day verses, the message notes I took, or whatever.  Dive into it, define what God is saying to you so you can feel the weight of it.

Stop just knowing.  Seek to understand.  Understanding brings clarity---which proves your healing of your eye burn.   

What Are You Really After?

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  

Readers. Friends.  Can we talk?

One of my blessings and curses is that I wonder about you.  Yes, you specifically, and all the others just like you.  Is it true that we all have a our issues?  We can all agree on this right?  And I'll be the first to share with you that I do not have it all together.  Here's how I reached that conclusion.

The other day, after a morning of complaining and praying for things to change for the better, I had one of those "mirror mirror on the wall" moments.  I was putting on a shirt in the bathroom and I was looking at myself in the mirror.  And, I guess I usually don't do this, but I was looking deep into my own eyes.  Like, I was seriously gazing into my own soul.  And this question pops into my mind.

"Claude, what are you really after?"

I dropped the shirt.  The question floored me.  It also exposed me, gave me a deep conviction and a reality check.  My own self ratted me out.  Or perhaps the Holy Spirit was doing His duty.  So now, I bring this question to you.  What are you really after?  Here's an illustration.

Have you ever been a sucker for TV ads?  The first one that pops in my mind for myself is P90X.  I remember sitting there and wasting a lot of my time watching the same infomercial over and over again, because I was stunned by this one sentence, GET FIT IN 90 DAYS. Sounds good. And the sucker that I am and millions of Americans are, bought the merchandise and even got the pull up bar, got a few new workout clothes, made a playlist, set a date to start, and got ready to start this GET FIT IN 90 DAYS.

But what's the one thing that I actually forget to do?  I didn't begin to prepare myself for the pain.  I didn't prepare for the endurance and self discipline of completing a workout everyday for 90 days.  See, I was wanting the results, but not the work.  Wanting the 3 MONTH chiseled beach bod, but not the 3 MONTH sacrifice of eating better and staying committed to this thing.

What was I really after?  Just the glory, instead of the pain.

Or I'll say it this way, I was after the glory, while blindly ignoring the process to get to the glory.

So it hit me.  I wonder what we're really after? Why do you go to church? Why have you chosen to believe in Jesus?  Why do you disagree with religion?  Why do you dress the way you dress?  Why do you tweet so much?  Why are you so ready to get married?  Why do you want love?  Why are you wanting to join that sorority?  Why are you wanting to be a leader in your church?  Why are you prideful?  Why are you chasing that dream?  Why are you in college?

I tweeted the other day a revelation I had that day.  Here it is.

"How you handle disappointment might expose what you really have your hope in."

Because I found it interesting how tore up we get when things don't go our way.  It seems to be a frustrating season for myself and some of my friends, because we're feeling some kind of way about our lives.  But for myself, I was able to follow the issue to a heart problem.  Instead of my hope being only in Jesus, oh don't miss that, ONLY in Jesus, it was beginning to be placed in SOMETHINGS working out my way.

Since I've become a pastor, I've noticed how easy it us for pastors to get shot at for not delivering a certain message that a certain person needs at a certain time.  Like somehow one person is supposed to know what 100 people need to hear at the same time. What are we really after?  Someone to pursue Jesus for us?

Sorry, that was a rabbit trail.  But, I'm going to look at you and say you're the blame.  So many pastors are delivering truth, that if you choose Jesus today your life will get better, but with our selective hearing, we only begin to apply, "Ooo! Better life yes! My life is in shambles!"

So we then become after a better life, missing the part of CHOOSE JESUS. Missing the foundation, the process of getting to the glory----- we just want the glory.  Everyone wants a better life.  You're insane if you don't.  So marriage become the ultimate gain for singles.  Money becomes the ultimate gain for poor people.  Fame becomes the ultimate gain for insignificant people.  Love becomes the ultimate gain for the neglected.  Sex becomes the ultimate gain for the abused. And more becomes the ultimate gain for people who have all of this.

Is our ultimate gain not Jesus?    

Scripture supports this deeply.  I'll just use one illustration.  Lol.  Good luck making it through this one.

Mark 10:17-27.  We know about the rich young ruler right?

"A man came running up to Jesus, knelt down, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  ...Jesus responds...."You know the commandments: 'You must not murder.  You must not commit adultery.  You must not steal.  You must not testify falsely.  You must not cheat anyone.  Honor your father and mother."

"Teacher," the man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young."

"Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him.  "There is still one think you haven't done," he told him.  "Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me."

At this the man's face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

What was this guy really after?  Eternal life? Or more security.  He wanted the glory, but not the process to get to the glory.  So what about you?  What are you really after?  If God asked you to give up what you're actually after and choose just Him, could you?

What is your ultimate gain?  What are you really after?

I'll let you dwell on it.  Ttyl ;)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Inner Roar

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

I have a feeling you've been needing me?  Or perhaps I've been needing you.  I find it interesting how writing finds its way to be a comfort.  Clearly in that statement, I'm confessing it's an idol I turn to to ease my pain.  Or it's just as simple as a digital venting as I pray my thoughts onto the screen.  And the fact I'm making it public, I hope you're able to feel the weight.  That I've chosen to title my blog a Heartbeat Aligned with the Cross for such a reason as this.  As to title it with the clarity of my intentions for every article.

So, here we go.

It's.....interesting.... to me how I naturally check my value when disappointment enters my life.  How I literally, invert the situation as a flaw of me, as a lack of in me, as an inadequacy to lead properly, or to honor honestly, or self control myself enough, or to respect others enough, or to achieve anything, able to do anything, you're nothing Claude, just why do you even bother.

And I have finally understood how I've heard pastors say time and time again the value in reading your Bibles.  The value in knowing the truth about what God feels about you.  Because, it activated the other night.

I was sitting in my apartment and my friend had just left after another dumping of my problems and frustrations.  Oh, and I'm also the kid that gets mad at himself for being a whiner, because I've listened to culture tell me that men don't have emotions, that men don't whine, blah, so whatever.

But I was sitting in my apartment, and the flood of lies I listed earlier began to consume me.  I felt like a timid little boy begging for his Dad.  A lost boy, shivering from the cold, fear of the dangers that could be approaching him because he felt so alone, crying out for help.  And, all of a sudden, I hear a faint roar.

What was that?

Then it sounds again.  And it was louder this time.  A roar like a lion.  And the boy realized it was coming from inside of him.  He then feels a flickering flame that slowly begins to warm him as the words of His Father's affirmation begins to ring loudly in his mind.

"Son, you are mine.  I've designed you to be a leader, to be a man, to be a King, to be a warrior."

And almost immediately, the beauty of the situation reveals itself.

"Son, I saw the whole thing.  I never left you.  I needed you to feel this.  I needed to see what you'd do.  Just like Abraham, I just needed to see what you'd do.  I was always there."

The roar becomes deafening as the little boy rises up off the ground and picks himself up.  The truth about himself comes rushing to his mind.

"Son, you are Mine. In your weaknesses, I am made strong.  So embrace the weakness, because I roar alive in you when I have to make you strong.  I have covered your sins, stop beating yourself up.  You are mine, you're alive IN ME.  You are free from that bondage.  Refuse the chains, refuse them son.  You're free.  You're alive."  

And tears slowly


drip down my face.


Here---Religion would have left you with a bunch of verses to sort through to figure out which one to apply to hopefully make you feel better.

Relationship, the voice of the those verses comforts you in a personal message directly for you for whatever you're going through.

Yeah, you needed to the hear that.