His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


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Done with Church

Here’s a brief and interesting post I just came across…

JLP Pastor

Over at Scot McKnight’s blog, the first of a planned series of excerpts from Church Refugees, a book about “dechurched” people. Not marginal attenders or cynics, they were the kind of high-involvement people every church wants to have. But along the way the church converted them, and they went from from enthusiastic church folks to “done with religion.”

We call these people the dechurched or the Dones: They’re done with church. They’re tired and fed up with church. They’re dissatisfied with the structure, social message, and politics of the institutional church, and they’ve decided they and their spiritual lives are better off lived outside of organized religion.

Here’s an example from one such “Done” called Ethan:

when we finally left the church, we’ve just done house church where we create and do things with, others rather than for them. I’m done with the top-down, institutional church. I thought…

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Book Challenge Day #13 – Out of Focus

Out of focus

Work has been crazy busy. Yet my self-imposed challenge to write and publish a book in three months is still standing tall right in front of me. In my minds eye this project sometimes appears as a large person scowling at me, with their arms crossed and boldly proclaiming, “I’m waiting!”

Though this book is gradually growing within my mind and on the pages of my notebook, it’s often out of focus. My sites are mostly set on other things, like work. Work is demanding and ever hungry for all my time and thought… 24/7. So I have to fend off works hunger just to pry my gaze away long enough to let my mind focus on the book.

I get mini moments with the book. Just a few minutes at a time, it seems. But God is so good to me, because He honors my brief moments of focus and fills those seconds with more of the book – from His heart, to my mind, to my notebook. And I’m so grateful.

 

(July 29, 2015: day 12 down, 81 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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Book Challenge Day #12 – As the story pours onto the page

clay pots pouring water

For the fiction book I’m trying to write and publish in 3 months, a couple of days ago I dictated the essence of chapter 2 into the memo app of my iPhone. This morning I worked on transcribing those notes into my notebook, and converting them into more of a story. BTW, I enjoy handwriting rather than typing directly. I read somewhere that handwriting uses more of the creative portion of your brain than typing, and thereby can add to the creative output. I’ll type my handwritten draft later.

Well, I don’t know much about how to activate the creative portion of my brain (other than a glass of wine or beer in the evening), but this morning the story of chapter 2 seemed to pour out of my mind and onto the pages. I would listen to a snippet of my notes, and then while focusing my thoughts on the Spirit of Jesus within me, the words began flowing down my arm, out my fingers, into the pencil and onto the paper. I so enjoy this part of writing, this free-flowing creative part, especially when I’m not writing alone, but collaborating with Jesus.

Is He really guiding my hand? I believe so. I almost feel it. Maybe not with every word. But when I look back at what’s been written, I’m convinced it’s not all from me. It’s too good to come from me.

 

(July 28, 2015: day 11 down, 82 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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Book Challenge Day #11 – This is not my book project

ghost writer

I’m writing this post just to remind myself this is not my book challenge project. As I believe the idea came from the Spirit of Jesus within, I want to remember not to try to wrestle control from Him. My ego, of course, will want control. My ego will want to make a certain amount of progress each day, gain a certain number of new followers interested in the challenge, and make sure the book is actually published by the October 17th deadline.

But I must remember, this is not my book project. It’s God’s. The daily progress isn’t important. The number of people who follow the project isn’t important (though the people themselves are very important – I just felt like adding that), and the deadline isn’t important.

What’s important with how I deal with this book challenge is the same thing that’s most important with the everyday challenge of dealing with life… my focus on God. As long as I keep my heart, mind, and soul focused on God within me, all is just right. The book challenge is not my purpose; it’s just an outcome of my purpose, which is to live with the Spirit of Jesus living through me.

 

(July 27, 2015: day 10 down, 83 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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Book Challenge Day #9 – Talking Through Chapter Two

Day 8 of my personal writing challenge turned out better than I could have wished. After having written chapter one in the morning, I wrote chapter two on my drive home from work in the evening.

Actually, I spoke chapter two into the voice memo app on my iPhone. As I was pulling onto the freeway, a clear picture of chapter two started painting itself in my mind. Rapidly, the picture became vivid and complete. Yet I worried about my crumby memory. How was I going to remember all this by the time I got home and could write it down?

Well, the Friday evening commute traffic gave me a “break.” While in the middle of a solid stop that lasted almost a minute, I safely activated the voice memo app, set my phone down and started dictating the picture of chapter two that was fresh in my mind.

When I had emptied my mind of chapter two, I turned my thoughts to God, and gave Him big thanks for making this so easy for me. I know chapter two is from Him, because I don’t have the talent to come up with something that looks so good.

 

(July 25, 2015: day 8 down, 85 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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Book Challenge Day #8 – Follow the Bouncing Ball

bouncing balls

The only time I have to write is early morning, yet it can be the worst time. My mind is so scattered in the morning. Oh, things begin to come into focus as the coffee takes hold, but my mind still tends to bounce from one thought to another, just more slowly. It’s like a super-ball hurled to the garage floor, bouncing around so fast it’s hard to keep your eyes on it, but slowing a bit over time. Such is my morning mind.

Well, the coffee cup is empty now. My mind is able to spend more time focused on the loving Spirit of Jesus within me. And He’s helping me, tugging on my thoughts, keeping them from bouncing too far away again. So now I’ll open my notebook and see what grows out of my pen. Will there be progress with my book challenge this morning? Stay tuned…

 

… I’m back, an hour later. It’s amazing what can happen when I step on the bouncing ball of my thoughts and focus on Jesus. I just finished the first draft of the first chapter. And though it’s still rough, I like the tone that’s being set.

It always happens this way when I’m writing. The best stuff grows out of my pen and crawls across the pages of my notebook only when my thoughts are set on Jesus within me, when He is writing with me. And I’m so grateful.

 

(July 24, 2015: day 7 down, 86 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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The Barrier of Life

Prison wall

Life often feels like a barrier between God and me.

The distractions that battle for my attention block my view of Jesus.

Even though His Spirit is always here with me,

within me, so close to me …

I often cannot see Him or feel His presence.

Life is ever hungry, craving every thought.

Yet I’m hungry too.

I hunger and thirst for Jesus,

for a sense of His companionship,

His presence.

I’m sometimes torn in two.

Part of me despises life and it’s struggle for my full attention,

it’s battle against my love of Jesus.

But the other part of me is so grateful for life.

I cannot fully appreciate something unless I’ve first lived without it.

Yes, for now life is a barrier between God and me.

But when that barrier is gone, and my fuzzy view of Jesus comes into bright focus,

my heart will burst with love and gratitude.

And my dammed up tears of joy will finally flow as a river.

This mortal life and all it’s struggles,

will help me appreciate life with God so much more.