Tag Archives: freedom

Our Spiritual Maturity is Evidenced by the Liberty We Extend to Others

6-22-2013_543574_28914537One of the trends in Emergent Christianity and in the other novel expressions that are a part of this run-up to the establishment of Christianity 3.0 is the exploration for greater expressions of love and liberty. As we members of mainline Christianity begin our expedition for something more in our relationship with Christ and our fellow humans we will soon encounter two very different sensations as a response to our search for the hope we have for the next generation of Christianity. We are not people who are giving up on Christianity but we are a people who are desperate to find and be a part of spiritual communities that will love all humans equally.

Romans 8:20-22 (NLT) Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

As people emerge from their traditions they begin to seek Christian thought which is presented in a way that remains truthful to their beliefs but provides fresh expressions and novel ways to communicate the main point delivered by Jesus, our leader of this two thousand-year old movement. That main point being is love of God and love for all other humans equal to the love we have for self.

This sensation that people will encounter is either one of more bondage or one of freedom. As we grow spiritually we are no longer fooled by words. We begin to rely on a deep relationship we have with God who lives and speaks to each person equally on the inside. This voice continually speaks into every little detail in our lives, guiding us on how to bring liberty in every relationship we take part in. From the cashier checking us out at Target, to all of our co-workers including our bosses, to our neighbors and friends we interact with when taking our kids to ball games and to every member of our many spiritual communities old and new, we hear God’s voice saying love deeply.

As we all move from childhood toward spiritual maturity we no longer need the rigid outward rules to guide us. We can live, dress, eat, and pierce or tattoo any part of ourselves and still remain pure in our ability to sense the difference between spiritual liberty or spiritual bondage. Can you imagine the students on a college campus holding on to a rope being led by a teacher to get from one class to another? No we can’t because with maturity of any type there is an implied expectation of responsibility and devotion to purpose.

Jesus made one point very clear. Love is liberty. So if we have a loving relationship with God, one of mind, heart and strength then we will achieve max freedom with God. Jesus also places almost equal importance on this love/liberty that we experience, be at the root of every relationship with any human. And the point He makes is that this experience of love/liberty be shared equally with everyone.

Jesus the master teacher, even while bound by his Jewish tradition, was able to communicate this love/liberty relationship and start a new movement in the fabric of humanity which we have all inherited. Under the tradition of rabbinic Judaism after a disciple has completed his training he can become a rabbi. Like the kings and presidents of old these rabbis were itinerate but they would use their understanding of the Old Testament theology and Jewish law to help settle disputes in their region. Each rabbi had what was called a rabbinical yoke. It was his personal prioritization of the laws according to his understanding and relationship with God. Each rabbi used their understanding to help resolve conflicts of either spiritual or material nature when rendering his judgments concerning these disputes. Also each rabbi would also train a set of disciples that he chose to carry on and advance his yoke. Jesus willingly died that we all might be His disciples.

My encouragement for every Christian, is to more lean on the yoke of Jesus, because he has chosen us to carry on His interpretation of love and liberty. Rabbi Jesus summed the 613 laws down to 2 laws and when asked which of the 613 laws was most important to He responded “love God with all that you are and love everyone else with the same love you have for yourself.” As each year passes we become more spiritually mature and we come to understand God better and the result is that we will come to love and live in more liberty and understand ourselves and God better. Therefore our love/liberty relationship with all other humans should be maturing equal to the love and liberty we each experience with God.

So today in your mind take an inventory of everyone you personally know and then think of every group of people known to you including groups formed because social status, racial, religious, cultural and national characteristics. Then begin over the next few months as the situations rise in your conscience, to evaluate your thoughts, actions and words you express about these people you know and the people who make up these groups. What is it that you say and do with any of these persons. Everyday multiple times a day spiritually mature people work on their relationship with God. So I know we are all always changing in our relationship with God. And this personal change is the main cause of the Christian emergence.

In case you missed the memo we live in a global community. In my opinion the main reason for the move of those that are emerging is that our traditions require us to relate to other humans in ways that we sense remind us of bondage. Jesus however wants us to learn to love until we can see every human we meet as our brother or sister. Jesus does not want us to fall back and become like the enemy but He encourages us to express love and liberty in new ways that will create new lovers of God and lovers of humanity.

So my friends keep emerging by dropping the yoke of bondage and become more deeply yoked with Jesus. We Christians are disciples of Jesus, first and foremost. He alone is our Shepherd, Master, Teacher, Everything, in other words He is our All in All. Our evidence to the fact that we are disciples of Jesus is that we freely give the liberty that we were freely given and personally experience.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

2 Peter 2:19-20 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Acts 15:8-11 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Matthew 23:1-5 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men.

 

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Branches of Spiritual Life

2014-01-12 10.31.51If one was to pull a big ripe juicy apple from a tree you would have a picture that represents the common understanding of the relationship between God and mankind. By holding that freshly plucked apple we have depicted a separation between the apple and the tree. What is commonly understood is the immediate process of death. As the freshness drains from the fruit so too does the value of the apple. In other words the sooner the apple is eaten the more life it can transfer.

Likewise once the umbilical cord is cut and once the human consciousness is activated we children of God begin to learn that we are separated from God. Even thought that is not true there is nothing in this material realm that has been able to convince most humans that they are more than just sons and daughters of Adam, that they are the apples of God’s eye and that they can never be separated from God our heavenly Father. Just because a physical separation has taken place does not mean that a spiritual connection does not still exist.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Consciousness is simply our translation and perception of reality. Once Adam became convinced that he was separated from God, God in his mercy asked he and eve to leave the garden so they would not obtain eternal life convinced that they were separated from God. Today even the Christian orthodoxy holds to the belief that only after death are we humans again reunited never to be separated from God again.

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

The reason Jesus was sent and the purpose of His ministry was to convince all humans that they are and will always be the daughters and sons of God. One of His important titles and office of great authority is that of “Last Adam”. Jesus became the first human since Adam to possess a consciousness in this material world that would dare to declare that man is a child of God and that God and man are connected as one. His entire demonstration was interpreted as supernatural because from a material point of view there was no visible connection to a life source that produced the “miracles” displayed. As He tried to convince the members of the religious community during the time of His ministry they became fearful that His demonstrations of life would lead their followers away and so we humans conspired and killed Him.

The question of the post is; can we humans change our point of view from our material perspective to one that perceives from a spiritual or kingdom of God point of view and behold the life connection we have with God? God’s spiritual Kingdom gives life to all that are connected however the humanistic material kingdoms on earth gather resources (taxes, tithes, food, clothing etc.) to maintain the life of the kingdom.

John 15:7-8 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

1Corinthians 11:23-25; 28-30 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

Taking communion was to be a conscious reminder of the life connection and unity between man and God. Before Jesus there were hints that a day was coming that all would be made new. However because understanding this requires more than an earthly perspective the purpose and authority of Jesus ministry is mostly interpreted as something that happens after life on earth.

Still today most humans respond in the same way as Martha when facing the death of her brother.

John 11:20-24 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

But the truth of all matter is that we humans have an eternal connection to God the source of life now, before death. Jesus understood this connection and embodied it, declared it and demonstrated it for the purpose letting us know we also have this connection.

Jesus declared and his words ask each of us today.

John 11:26-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

If we focus on verse 26 which states “whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” We can see the difference between the mind of Jesus and the mind of the average human. The gap is huge. Jesus is not disputing the truth about life after death, nor did our Father in heaven contradict that truth but used it when he asked Adam and Eve to leave the garden before they ate of the tree of eternal life. Eternal life with Eternal God is possible now and it is a reality that our consciousness must embrace.

In John 15:5 Jesus declares “I am the vine, you are the branches…” indicating that our function is to help people understand that they are connected to God’s life source and that life can flow through them as well. As ambassadors of a spiritual kingdom we live and work in this material realm helping all sons and daughters of God to understand that their life source connection to God is intact and may become active even if the illusion is that we are cutoff.

We are called children of light because we can illuminate the truth concerning this spiritual connection that was made available to all humans by the ministry of Jesus. Many are not ready to see or accept but that does not negate our obligation to live the reality of our understanding openly for anyone to see. To conceal this reality is like hiding a lamp under a basket. We each have been given authority to empower others to become conscious of this connection of life. Branches are not the source of life they are just the conduit that makes a path in this material realm.

I want to encourage us because we are of the Wi-Fi generation that understands connections beyond physical boundaries so we are not constrained by religious tradition or political protocol.  Our understanding liberates us to communicate truth of a spiritual nature even if our assignment is bound to this material realm. If we walk in love and speak truth in love we will see life blossom even in the most dark and chaotic places in this material realm. For where the life force of the Lord is, there will always be life and liberty.

Notice how this modern translation below puts the reality of this truth to a point somewhere in the future. How does your bible translation record the passage? Read, pray and ask God is this a now truth or is this only a future truth? If you feel like sharing please comment so I and other followers of this blog may know what God is speaking concerning the presentation of this truth pro or con. Thank You!

Romans 8:18-22 (New Living Translation NLT)
The Future Glory
 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

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Who Is Going Viral In Your World?

12-12-08_591893_44228499When we say that something has gone viral it indicates that a portion of the culture is experiencing something that is out of the normal status of that culture. In other words there is a change taking place that is evident. YouTube has become a social media site where people go to see and experience the effects of change. Thus the term going viral is measured in how many people view something that has happened.  

Some could say that democracy is still viral because we have recently witnessed four maybe five nation states oust their leaders for a more democratic form of government. Within Protestant Christianity, Pentecostalism remains virulent as the fastest growing sector as it continues to spread the deeper experience of a consciously aware relationship with Holy Spirit. At the same time many in the emergent church movement are participating in a cultural revolution within Christianity as a whole with some observers liking it to the beginnings of the Protestantism reformation.

The bigger question and the personal question is what kind of change are we expecting ourselves and others to experience? Jesus the Christ injected a spiritual strain of DNA (human mother and spiritual father) into the race of mankind that has been affecting the human culture for the last two thousand years. The Kingdom of God extends membership to all who become aware that they carry within themselves a spiritual Presence (namely the Spirit of God, Holy Spirit). And so we are all witness the effect of God’s Kingdom on the religious and secular segments of the human culture.

2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me …. To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

When cultures grow with in existing cultures they tend to feed on the host culture until it becomes the host. So there are waves of growth and resistance that takes place as the states of status quo give way to new states of normalcy. Witnessing the effects of change can be difficult because they happen gradually over time. However as we learn to develop the tools to observe cultural change it is an exciting thing to watch.

For two thousand years the Kingdom of God has been spreading throughout mankind’s culture. Also during this time our understanding of that Kingdom has changed. As we reflect on history we can begin to see patterns as understanding changed so did the growth of the Kingdom expand. The same is true for the host culture, as its understanding about the Kingdom changed its resistance to the Kingdom either strengthen or diminished.

Jesus founded the Kingdom on the principal of love. One scriptural interpretation was that Jesus was freeing people from the bondage in the world to join the Kingdom of His Father. But as we look back through history we see that some of those who have taken up this work used the tools of force and fear to spread God’s Kingdom and in every case the host culture met it with a level of resistance. The same is true when the tools of love and forgiveness were used we see great growth and minimum resistance by the human culture.

From our Master’s perspective we are given the Kingdom to set free those that are in bondage. In those times when terms of revolution was used to set free others than self we see a righteous discharge of Kingdom authority. However when these terms of revolution are used for personal gain or the gain for a subgroup of the culture one can only do like our Master and pray, forgive them for they know not what they do.

As Christians we have become agents of change or ambassadors of God’s Kingdom.  Our local community by definition is not the Kingdom; our country defined by its borders is not the Kingdom. The Kingdom is any place where the Presence of God Spirit is.  A U.S. ambassador is the embassy, any aircraft carrying the President is Air Force One. Concerning the Kingdom Presence is everything. If the Presence of God’s Spirit is within us then the Kingdom is inside of us.

Our ability to see Christ in others even before they can see it in themselves makes the Kingdom virulent. Under the Old Testament when something unclean touched something holy that thing became defiled, unclean and no longer fit for service to God. When Jesus as the Christ established God’s Kingdom, He came and touched things and people who were unclean in order to make them clean, holy and fit for service to God. We have been given that same authority. We are at the point of impact within the culture, we carry within us the Presence of God and all that we touch can become pure. This is true because it is no longer we who live in these vessels of human flesh, we have been transformed, we are the embassy of God, and all that run to us should be glad. One day they will violently try to touch you.

So I encourage us to demonstrate with intent and understanding of what we carry inside of us. Unfortunately many of us are members of religious organizations that continue to put up walls as a defense to stay undefiled from the world. We need to demonstrate to them as well as the world that we are and carry a greater Presence within, than the junk in the world. If there is fear or a need to destroy the world, it is because of a poor understanding of the power of the Presence living within. Scripture reveals that perfect love cast out all fear.

My encouragement to you is to increase your awareness of God’s spiritual Presence that is within us. As that relationship grows we will begin to notice the effects we are having on others and the effect that Holy Spirit’s Presence is having on us. Daily and hourly as we commune with God the two are becoming one. We are all individually being transformed in much the same way the world is changing. So I leave you with my original question, what kind of change are we expecting ourselves and others to experience?

 

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Evidence of Our Truths

Our life is evidence of what we believe to be true. If we were to ask a non-Christian to give us a one word description of Christianity in North America many of us would most likely hear the word hypocrisy. For me this is very understandable and it shows that for us who have become born to the spirit have truly taken the first step on our evolutionary journey to becoming daughters and sons of God. Even though Jesus says we shall be known for our love, today most of us are seen in the midst of a struggle as we learn deal with our new citizenship. We Christians have become citizens of two worlds and our struggle with this new reality can at times appear to outsiders as hypocrisy.

As Americans citizens of the material world we hold certain truths to be evident. Also as citizens of the Kingdom of God (KoG) we are beginning to become conscious of spiritual truths. Dual citizenship is always tough because loyalty is required from all the groups we are involved with. North American Christianity as a religion and like other worldly organizations tend to define themselves by who they are not. Thus because of our dual citizenship the charge of hypocrite will always stick and rightly so because we are born out of that world.

John 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17  Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

As citizens of God’s Kingdom our journey or pursuit is truly about becoming like Jesus. If Jesus demonstrated one thing it is that it is possible to live free from this world’s distractions, claims and desires and live a life fulfilling the will of His Father. As Americans however we hold these truths self-evident that God created all men to be equal and that we all are endowed with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The question is which system can deliver on its claim?

The American experiment is still wrestling with that question and many Christians in America find themselves caught between two worlds. The advancement of civil liberties to all of its citizens is a beautiful work in progress. We have seen freedom of religion, full citizenship for the African slaves, voting rights for women, equality in the workplace and now our pursuit for equality of people having a differing sexual orientation. This is truly an evolving experiment of bringing to light liberating truths.

The Kingdom of God however starts with the premise that all of creation is good encouraging all of it citizens to relate in a framework of equality and love. We are baptized by one Spirit whether we are Jews or Greek, slave or free or male or female. Our status as children of God and our rights as citizens of the Kingdom has been guaranteed by the work of our first sibling Jesus.  We all have been made joint heirs because of the effort by our Father in heaven.

In some ways hypocrisy is good because it means that the individual is still wrestling with the decision and the reality of dual citizenship. However scripture indicates that a double minded person is unstable and a luke-warm person will be spewed out in the end. We have been given an all or nothing deal between the spiritual Kingdom of God and the earthly kingdom of America. Our choice is simple are we going to be known for love or for our hypocrisy.

As Americans we can focus on our pursuit towards personal happiness and as Christians we can focus on getting in right relationship with our brothers and sisters. Hypocrisy may be our current status but in the end we will be judged by which set of truths our life has evidenced. We cannot afford to live a life solely on the traditions and revelation of those that went before us. Each generation and each individual must make their own choice by pursuing to understand more fully the truths that have been previously revealed.

Hypocrisy and  Love calls to each of us. The pleasures, authority and the will of each kingdom beckons for our heart. I hope my words encourage each of us to examine and take stock of the evidence we have amassed thus far in our lives. Not only will God our Father and Judge review that evidence but the generations that follow us are and will continue to review those truths that we hold to be self-evident. Their acceptance or rejection of that evidence has a lot to do with us who present such spiritual evidence.

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 

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