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)


15 Comments

Are You a De-Churched Christian?

I’m a de-churched Christian. I’ve been reading the book “Churchless,” which contains lots of research data the Barna Group has collected about the various aspects of Christianity. Did you know there are about 18 million born-again Christians who no longer attend a church? The Barna study calls these people “de-churched.” It felt weird when I realized I’m one of the 18 million.

I haven’t attended church for almost five years. And what adds to the weirdness is, I can’t clearly tell you why. Oh, I could come up with surface answers easily enough. But none of them feel to me like they are the real, deep down reason I don’t go to church. And I want to know why.

It occurred to me; maybe some of these 18 million de-churched born-again Christians hang out online somewhere. So please help me if you know of any such hang-outs. Are there any Facebook groups? What other sites might the de-churched like to visit? Are there blogs for the de-churched?

My hope is that maybe by connecting with other de-churched people, I might learn why I have no desire to attend church. And if you too are a de-churched Christian, please share some of your story. It may help me, and it may help others. Thank you.


4 Comments

A New Look

cropped-wound-group-cover-photo2.jpg

If you’re wondering, this is the right place. Actually, the “right” place is a matter of opinion, which I leave to you. But this is likely the place you were expecting to land with your last mouse click. I just decided to change the look of the blog site.

It’s been over six years since I started this blog, and I felt it was time for a wardrobe change. And in a way, it’s symbolic of some changes in me…

When I first starting writing in this blog, those six years ago, I believe I still held onto anger towards churches that abuse the truth of Jesus Christ, and I let that anger spill onto the keyboard. Well, maybe wisdom comes with age, for I no longer want to fill my posts with acquisitions, even if based on absolute truth.

All I want to do now is write about the truth of Jesus Christ, and that means letting His love spill onto the keyboard while I write. For me, it’s a new look, and I like it.


6 Comments

Parenting Class

parenting class

MANY years ago, when my first son was a toddler, my wife and I went to a parenting class at our church. Actually, we took turns each week, with one of us staying home with our son. Yet even with just attending sporadically, I learned things that became part of my foundation for how to be a good parent.

I’d now like to teach a parenting class, where we would look at God as our roll model of a truly good parent. Here are some aspects of God’s parenting style that would be helpful for all parents…

  • Always forgiving
  • Unconditional love for all His children
  • No favorites
  • Gives His all for His children – He even sacrificed His only natural Son for His adopted children.
  • Always there, willing to listen
  • He lets His children learn by their own mistakes.
  • No spoiled brats in God’s family. There are be consequences for bad behavior.
  • He’s always there to help us with our homework.
  • He looks out for His children’s future, even if they don’t.

What else can you think of?


5 Comments

My Apology to Catholics

About five years ago I wrote a post about my dad’s experience when he decided to join the Catholic Church of my stepmother. He first had to sign some Catholic documents resulting in the annulment of his marriage to my mom. From what I heard, the church had to erase the sin of his divorce before they would accept him into the church.

I admit I was a bit upset by the episode and I wasn’t very kind to the Catholic Church in the words I posted. Over the years, many people have commented on that post, and it’s clear that I caused them pain. Another such comment showed up today. And I’ve finally come to realize that it’s time I apologize.

So to all Catholics, I sincerely apologize for my harsh words of five years ago.

All I was trying to do was testify to the truth of Jesus. And the truth is, Jesus forgave my father’s sin of divorce. More than forgive, Jesus and God have effectively forgotten my father’s divorce.

As God said, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

And as Paul said in his definition of love, “Love … keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) As God is love, God keeps no record of wrongs.

Forgive and forget. What a great way to live, for all of us. It’s just not easy.


3 Comments

Mind of Christ

mind of christ

I’m in the middle of reading “The Power of the Spirit,” by William Law (which you already know if you’ve read my recent posts). I REALLY like and recommend this book. But I’ll warn you… it’s not a light read. It’s not mothers milk, but rather deep red meat; a thick, juicy steak (if you’re a carnivore like me).

Anyway, I came across the following verse: “The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)

I’ve read this verse many times, but for some reason it struck me more profoundly this morning. We have the mind of Christ. THE MIND OF CHRIST!!! Holy cow! I can’t truly comprehend the magnitude of what that means. But here’s a thought: having the promised mind of Jesus Christ will make the meaning clear to me.

Do you seek better understanding of Gods words? Do you desire a more intimate relationship with Jesus? Then please, look no further than the Holy Spirit. Let Him into your heart and soul. And He will share with you His thoughts… the mind of Christ.

And I’m so grateful.


8 Comments

The Power of the Spirit

Holy Spirit

Where the words within the bible speak to your mind, the Holy Spirit within you speaks to your heart and soul. Where the words in the bible will point you to God, and help you know about God and Jesus, the Holy Spirit within you will help you know God and Jesus. The words have no power, only direction. The power to make the words real in your life comes from the Holy Spirit, within you.

I’m re-reading a book by William Law, “The Power of the Spirit.” Law is reminding me that true Christianity is not about memorizing bible verses or following religious practices and tradition. True Christianity is all about an intimate relationship with the Spirit of Jesus, within you.

Please, look beyond the words, to the Holy Spirit within you.


5 Comments

Power of Love

power of love

 

True Story…

The doctors had tried to re-start her heart for almost half an hour. They gave up, declared her dead, removed the crash cart from her hospital room, and left her husband to have some final moments with the withered body of his wife. But he wasn’t alone – hospital rules required a nurse remain present.

She stood quietly at the door, watching him as he held his wife’s cooling hand. He didn’t say a word, audibly anyway. He just sat there, looking into his wife’s dead face. I wonder what he was thinking in those moments. Was he angry with the God of his Christian wife, the God he didn’t quite believe in? Or was it love that filled his thoughts; the love that strengthened both of them through the many years together, yet was now drained from her cancer-filled body?

The nurse had others things she should be doing right now, but for some reason she felt like this was the place she needed to be most. The husband sometimes let out a sigh, or sniffed back some tears – but no other sounds were heard. Twenty minutes had passed since the team of doctors gave up and left the room.

Then it happened. The dead wife opened her eyes, looked into her husband’s face, and said, “I love you.” The nurse had a moment of dumb shock. When she gained a bit of control, she headed for the emergency call button.

“No, she’s gone,” the husband said. The nurse checked, and indeed… no pulse.

Such is the power of love. The love of the wife, and the love of God. For God granted the wife one final wish, to go back to her husband and tell him she loves him, one more time. And then she was gone.

And the husband began thinking in new ways about God and Jesus.

(I stress again, this is a true story.)


Leave a comment

A new You

butterfly

I recently wrote a post where I used the movie “Young Frankenstein” to illustrate how Jesus exchanged His goodness for our sinfulness when He died on the cross (see it here). Jesus did more than exchange goodness for sinfulness on the cross. He transferred His Spirit into us.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus promises us the presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives. By His death, He made this promise real. And He made us new. When we open the door of our heart and let the Spirit in, we are changed… a new creation. As Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation: the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul was talking about the Holy Spirit, within you.

 

And as today is Veterans Day, I would like to send out my sincere thanks to all of the very giving people who have devoted part of their lives to serving in the military, and providing protection for our country. I am so grateful.


6 Comments

Standing up for Jesus

stand for Jesus

I once wrote a blog post called “Weird Catholic Rules,” about an experience my father went through when he converted to the Catholic Church. That post has received more views and comments than any other on this site. I don’t think it was well written, but I do think it was the provocative title that brought readers in.

In looking through some of the comments, many people strongly defended the practices of the Catholic Church. This morning, while praying and waiting for the coffee to open my foggy mind, I thought about how some people passionately defend their church. Then I wondered: do they as strongly defend Jesus?

Oops… I was starting to feel that familiar judgmental self, striving to be heard. Who am I to judge, for I too pass up chances to defend the truth of Jesus?

My point today is this: many of us should carefully consider where we give our trust. Do we trust church rules and traditions, or the truth of Jesus Christ? For what you trust is what you will defend. Stand up for the truth of the love of Jesus.


4 Comments

To be Dad

To be Dad

I have two adult sons, whom I love so much it almost hurts. What’s up with that? Look, it hurts because I miss them… always. My wife and I raised them to be honorable men, filled with love and integrity, with the strength and independence to take care of their own lives. And that’s just who they are.

One of the purposes of being a parent is to raise our kids to take care of themselves. And for some of us, it’s hard to let go as we gently usher them out the door. I’m so proud of my sons and how they are living their lives. Yet I just wish I could see them more often. I wish I could always be with them, sharing their lives with them.

You know what? Your Father God feels the same way about you. Our Father loves you so much I suspect it sometimes hurts. He wants to be with you, sharing your life with you. Yes, like me and how I feel about my sons, God wants us to have the honor, integrity, and strength to take care of ourselves. But He doesn’t want us to do it alone. Our heavenly Dad loves you as only a parent can.


4 Comments

Was it Gods sense of humor?

God humor

Our medium sized town is notorious for traffic problems. My stepfather fell into the traffic pit the other day, just trying to get across town and back to his house. Long lines and long waits at stoplights, crawling from one stoplight to the next – he found himself getting angrier with each stoplight.

He really didn’t like his reaction, so he started praying to Jesus to free him from his anger. As he sat at a stoplight, he sincerely asked Jesus to help him relax. The light would turn green, he’d make it through the intersection, only to hit another wall of traffic waiting for the next stoplight. He’d feel anger creeping up again, so he started praying again, more earnestly than the last time. With each successive long wait at a stoplight, his prayers became more pleading.

Then finally, he made it through the last major intersection that stood between him and home – nothing else stood in his way, except… another stoplight and a long wait. Damn! More prayers for calm and then… SPLAT!

A very large bird dropping – must have been a Mac truck of a bird – right in front of his face on the windshield. He laughed. Was this Gods answer? Well, wherever it came from, it helped dissolve the anger.

Does God answer prayers in funny ways? I think He does.

My stepfather has a great sense of humor and he likes to mess with his children. He’s also an image of God, as we all are. Therefore, his humor is an image of Gods humor. I think our Father God likes to have fun with his children. And I’m grateful.


4 Comments

The Mad Scientist

young frankenstein

I used to like watching those old, black and white science fiction movies where the mad scientists straps two people to heavy laboratory tables, hooks them up to high power machinery, throws switches, sparks fly, and the brains of the two victims are exchanged. I really like the movie “Young Frankenstein,” where Dr. Frankenstein straps himself to one of the tables so he can exchange some of his goodness with his delinquent creation.

Well, we are Gods delinquent creation. Jesus willingly strapped Himself to the cross, and exchanged His righteousness for our sinfulness. We are righteous now, if we believe in the gift that Jesus has given us. Our righteousness comes from Jesus. And I’m so grateful.


1 Comment

Loving Enemies – There’s Power There

love enemies

I discovered something this morning. Many years ago, when I started reading the bible, I was first perplexed with Jesus’ call to love our enemies. I didn’t like the idea. I think over the years my heart has softened a bit, and I do find it easier to feel compassion for my enemies (I like to see that as a form of love). Yet I still struggle.

Anyway, what first perplexed me, later amazed me when I realized that Jesus isn’t asking us to do anything He and God are not willing to do. God loves His enemies.

Then this morning it hit me – I was once God’s enemy. Somewhere around the time when I waffled between atheist and agnostic, without getting into details of what I remember about my life at that time, I’m certain I was an enemy of God. Yet He loved me, even then.

I now believe that the power of God’s love of me slowly melted my hard heart, to where I now love Him. God’s love melts down barriers. WOW! I love it when He amazes me. God is so much fun.

I hope you all have a great day. And remember, God loves you, no matter how you feel about Him.


3 Comments

A Hug for Halloween

hugs

I came across a blog post that asks; if my blog site could hand out treats, what would it be? I’d like to hand out hugs; nice, warm, sincere, compassionate, and gentle hugs. There is power in a gentle touch.

In the gospel of Luke, there is a story about a man suffering from leprosy. “While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’” (Luke 5:12)

Who knows how long he had the disease, but we know those stricken with leprosy were outcasts. Everyone avoided them. So this man, covered with the soars of the nerve-killing illness, had not touched or been touched by another human being for possibly many years. No one had hugged him, no hand had touched his, and no arm had gone around his shoulders in a moment of comfort – until Jesus came along.

“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean,” he said to Jesus. The man had the faith, yet his sense of kindness in others had been lost in the years of isolation. He doubted not Jesus’ ability, only His willingness to be kind. It had been that long since this man had felt compassion from another. What did Jesus do next? We know from other stories that He could have healed him right off. Yet Jesus did something better. He first gave the man what he needed most. Out of love and compassion, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” (verse 13) For the first time in perhaps years, another person reached out and touched this lonely, leprous human being.

In the midst of the emotion that may have begun to swell within the man, Jesus then said, “I am willing. Be clean.” And the leprosy left him.

 

So now I’d like to give you a virtual hug … nope, just doesn’t cute it. Oh well. I hope you have a great Halloween Friday.


2 Comments

Truth is Freedom

truth will set you free

We make our decisions based on what we know and believe. If what you believe to be true is a lie, then that lie becomes the foundation for your decisions.

We all have the chance to decide if we will believe in Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t it be nice to be free to make that decision based on truth?

Yet some people aren’t interested in the truth, as Paul said, “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10) Some may be more interested in their self-made delusions than the truth. So before someone can decide how they will respond to Jesus, they first must decide how they will respond to the truth.

The truth is freedom – from worry, fear, doubt, uncertainty, stress, guilt, and the control of lies. As Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.” (Luke 4:18) Yet, is there a dungeon door that separates you from the truth? Jesus is knocking on your door… and His truth will set you free.


1 Comment

Empty and Ready for More

Yesterday I finished rev 10 of the book I’m writing. And like most times when I finish a revision, I feel weird. This morning I feel this question pestering my mind: “Okay, what do I do now?”

But I also felt like I’m at a place of emptiness with God. I don’t mean negative emptiness. I mean good emptiness, like an empty jar ready to have something new poured into me. I like this feeling, just sitting here, opening my heart to God, waiting for Him to fill me with the next thing He wants me to do. It’s actually a little scary, but, “Dear Lord, bring it on.”


Leave a comment

Prisoner of Fallacy

prisoner of fallacy

I was twelve years old when my mom married my second stepfather. I still remember his mother telling him he was going to hell because he divorced his first wife. That was over 40 years ago and my stepfather, now in his 80’s, still carries around the guilt piled onto him by his devout Catholic mother. He is a prisoner of that guilt. He is a prisoner by holding onto falseness that he believes just might be true. Whether you call yourself Christian or not, you may be a prisoner of lies – for lies are like shackles on our hearts and minds, hindering us from truly experiencing life.

We are all prisoners of the lies we believe to be truth. The most dreadful prison is the one where you don’t realize you are a prisoner. Did you ever see the movie The Matrix? People were prisoners without knowing it. So it can be with us. We can only be free, free to make choices based on truth, when we know the truth.

As Paul warned, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)


Leave a comment

Under attack from within

Truth

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.” It’s often Christians who push people away from Christianity. That’s why I stayed away for much of my life – what I saw didn’t appeal to me. I initially rejected Jesus because of Christians who were not a good reflection of His truth.

National surveys show Christianity declining in the United States. The published reasons are varied, but they all point to this: Christianity is crumbling because of a lack of truth. Truth is healthy and strong; untruth is sick and weak.


2 Comments

Healing the Pain of Sexual Abuse

healing the pain of sexual abuse

My first stepfather sexually abused me when I was 7 years old. A typical situation, I suppose – he threatened harm if I told anyone. Fortunately, there were other problems with the marriage, and my mom divorced him after only a year together. But we all had scars from that experience.

My scars fed my strong desire for revenge. As I grew older and came to understand what he had done to me, I grew angrier. In my late teens, I fantasized about running into him someday. I planned each move, the first being a fully energized kick square in the source of my suffering, sending him to his knees. There were times when I even dreamed of killing him. The hate was strong and painful.

About 20 years later, I met Jesus Christ and He started teaching me about love and forgiveness. It’s taken me a long time to learn the lesson, but I finally let go of the hate. I wholeheartedly forgive my stepfather. I feel sorry for him, for he was a very troubled person. And I’m now free of my own troubles – free from the pain of hate and memories, freed by forgiveness. Thanks to the love and forgiveness of Jesus.


Leave a comment

My Father God

To me, God is my perfect parent. God, my Father, loves me unconditionally. He may not always like some of the things I do, and He may even get angry at me sometimes. But like all really good parents, there is nothing I can do that will affect the love He has for me. And like all loving parents, what He may desire most is a close, intimate relationship with His children. “Yet to all who did receive him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

I am so grateful to be a child of God.