Tag Archives: Mind of Christ

Delivering Evidence of God’s Unity with All

2014-09-07_795754_54710131God’s love for all humans equally, can be understood in many ways. One way is through the words in scripture which testifies of His actions and hope for humanity. The story of the prodigal son is an allegory which is being lived out in our current times today. Before I show examples of how this is happening I want to remind us of how the story ends. Spoiler alert!

Luke 15:31-32 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

The jealously between humans could be dissolved if we keep active in our mind and heart, the above thought. From the first murder till now the understanding of this scripture is lost evidence to most humans. The understanding of this evidence alone could quell fears, end all wars and bring about the equal distribution of all earthly resources that God has provided for all His human family.

Today in Christianity and in most areas of human society we are experiencing an emergence that is taking place throughout every institution in our modern society. We are witnessing it in the governance of the nation-states of the world, in the social–media changes moving through our global communications, in the restructuring and accountability in world financial markets, we are also beginning to see  joint exploration between the traditions of science and religion.

In this post however, I want to focus on the emergence that is happening within Christianity. When Protestantism was formed, this same world transformation was happening as well. The two sons of this allegory were at it again, and during that time Catholicism was the son that stayed behind. This time it is the Emergent Church that is the son leaving with its inheritance with the belief that it can make a better impact in the world.

The traditional interpretation of the  story referred to as the “Prodigal Son” in Luke chapter 15, only recognizes one son to have an incorrect world view. It was the son who left his father’s home with ideas that he could make life better without his Father, but in the end he squandered his inheritance and returned home defeated. However what is overlooked by the orthodox interpretation is that the jealous son who faithfully remained in his Father’ home also had an incorrect world view in which he thought he alone would inherit everything left behind after his brother went out for his adventure. This is evidenced by his reaction of jealousy when his father begins to give his brother some of his perceived material wealth when his brother returned.

Both cases reveal that both sons were entertaining thoughts of living a life without their father as they enjoyed the spoils of their inheritance. The sole purpose of Jesus telling this allegory was to put an end to the human concept of life without God our heavenly Father. The sole purpose of Rabbi Jesus prayers, teachings and demonstrations was to communicate to humanity that it is possible to be one with God and enjoy the spoils of inheritance during our life here on earth.

John 17:20-22 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:

I have heard it said that love is the dissolution of separation between to people and beauty is the dissolution of separation between objects. When people fall in love we become one with another person or community and when we walk in nature or move within a city built by humans we become one with the sights, sounds and smells of our environment.

If we Emergent’s leave the fold, in our desire to expand the Kingdom, and do it without our true inheritance we will fail to carry God and His loving message to our lost family and we will return home defeated. It is true that traditional Christianity has added baggage to the idea that God is a loving Father that loves all His children equally. This is why Jesus became the demonstration of God’s love that has the power to establish loving relationships between God and each member of humanity.

Likewise if the traditional Christians fears that adding the world to the Kingdom will change or diminish the Kingdom of God then we truly need to question our understanding of an infinite God who took away our sins in this world. If our sins have not destroyed the Kingdom and His grace and glory is sufficient for us, then surely His grace and glory is enough to cover the sins of the world.

In this story both children are lost and hold a wrong understanding of the resources of their father. When Jesus spoke this allegory he told it in hopes that both audiences would hear and see the errors of their materialistic thinking. Life without God is separatist thinking and is the opposite of love and beauty. The idea that we can establish anything new or maintain any tradition without our Father in heaven is just bad theology.

My encouragement is to us all, regardless if we are emerging from long-held traditions or if we are the supporters of existing traditional institutions. This allegory of Jesus is to get us to hold a world view of a loving God as a Father to all who are willing to share His infinite resources with everyone equally. Jesus was sent by our Father to change our mindset so we can see all members of the human family as members of His family and that He loves each member equally and has no favorites. Today this is not our human experience of family but it is the spiritual experience of the Kingdom of God.

If we are the ones who go out and help awake our fellow humans too their membership in God’s Kingdom, or if we take on the responsibility to stay behind and work for greater understanding of family and Kingdom within our existing religious traditions we must always share the substance of God’s equallity toward all, as our evidence. The evidence is the love and beauty that has the transforming power to make all things new. And by new I mean awakening to the reality that any person or thing, is already one with God. In God’s Kingdom there is only unity and the very Presence of God permeates all. God is love and It is the evidence of His Kingdom.

Gal 4:1-6 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Philippians 2:5-7 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

 

 

 

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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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Personal Evidence

Even though we encourage one another to present evidence to others we ourselves are in need of evidence. In order for us to establish the fact or reality of God’s Kingdom we also need spiritual evidence. While the act of presenting evidence to others is itself evidence we still need to have our commitment and connection to this invisible realm become stronger.

 Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 Job 23: 14 For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him.

 Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

 Our connection with God and His Kingdom is a function of the work that Jesus did and this connection is now displayed by the work of God’s own Holy Spirit which dwells inside of us. This present day work is invisible to the eyes of those not awaken to this spiritual world. It is also invisible our natural eyes and therefore we must continue to use our spiritual eyes to see the spiritual Kingdom in action.

 The circumstances of this world should cause us to turn to the Kingdom of God to get solutions and resources for the needs presented to us. God has designed this world so that it constantly demands more than we can physically produce in order that we might rely on the Spirit within. A lot of people work diligently to meet all of their physical needs but the world will keep evolving and presenting greater demands, and trying to escape these demands is missing the point of our being.

 This is where faith comes in. It is a personal exercise of our trust in God. Scripture indicates that we can grow tired in well doing and our desires to live in ease presents a loud voice that calls us away from leaning and trusting in God. In this information age we are constantly made aware of the needs around the world. Sometimes the cry is so loud and the demand is so relentless we want to hide.

 Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 Everyday a greater level of faith is required than yesterday. Everyday more evidence is needed to cause us to believe that our reliance on the invisible spiritual Person of God will be there to meet the challenges. This is why we present evidence for our personal lives. By daily exercising faith in God we are establishing the fact that He will never forsake us, that he will perform that which is presented to us. Our response these everyday request is simply one of faith.

 We cannot allow the demands of the world to choke out our faith.

 When the Stock market crashed in 2008 (777 points) what was our reaction. Where was our faith at that moment? Was it in our retirement accounts, jobs, homes, business, America’s health care system or was it in the very Person of the God that dwells within each of us. More importantly where is our faith today and where will it be tomorrow? How many believers lost or our losing their faith during this crisis? How many people returned to seeing with their material eyes and abandon the use of their spiritual eyes. Has faith been reduced to superstition so that our personal relationship has faded from being with Him to being about Him?

 We see an example of how we can react to these everyday situations when we observe Jesus at a wedding that runs out of wine, when He was with a large group that needed to be fed and when He faced a natural storm at sea. In all these circumstance Jesus remained focused on His spiritual connection to Father. It is the action of faith that opens up possibilities and allows the Holy Spirit to produce evidence which we get to present to ourselves and others.

 Another area we must be mindful of is that God is infinite and He has resources that we cannot comprehend.  If we view the resources of the world as finite using our material eyes then we only see limited resources in a world that has a demand that is forever increasing. Therefore in our material thinking we plan and work to get our share resources and only after our share and that of family is secure do we think about generosity. But even that material generosity has a limit and it must not make our material security insecure.

So if we see someone getting resources that we perceive could be ours we may become jealous. Even some of the motives of the religious tend to pick winners and looser as a determinant of who should partake in God’s blessings. The scripture below is from the end of the prodigal son story and it depicts this. After the youngest son took His inheritance the oldest son reasoned that all remaining stuff was his. When the youngest son returned the older son that stayed behind became angry.  Can you guess at some of them?

Luke 15:28-32 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

We like that older son must renew our mind with one thought. “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” The reason our faith must grow is because the demands on us is ever growing. If we allow the fear of greater demands or jealousy over material stuff then the wind has blown and the flood water have risen and the relationship we have built is not on a true foundation and our faith can be swept away.

When we become awaken to the Personal Presence of God we enter His Kingdom. More importantly He enters our personal Kingdom and the two become one. Our material consciousness must become spiritual if we are to avail ourselves of spiritual resources. Faith is the evidence which gives us this access to the unseen realm.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

We are designed in the image of God with the purpose to love Him, others and ourselves. Can we see and comprehend this truth? As with John the Baptist who baptized Jesus, heard Gods voice and told his disciples to follow Jesus acted in faith. But when his circumstance changed and he found himself in jail he sent two disciples to Jesus to ask if He was the one.

Our faith is the evidence of our relationship with the Father’s Holy Spirit but it must be renewed daily. We are human and a long distance relationship only last so long. This is not God’s fault. He recognized that man could not live alone. So He placed Himself in the very midst of us and now the two of us have become one. We are new creatures possessing divine nature. We are more than a mere image we are animated with the very Presence of God. 

As His Presence overflows the boundary of our physical body, the Kingdom is manifest that others may understand the evidence as to freely enjoy the fruit (God Himself) of the Kingdom and like us become responsible citizens of God’s Kingdom.

2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

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