Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mud Pies in a Slum

C.S. Lewis once said, "Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea".

In other words, we are far too easily satisfied. We inhale the empty calories of so much artificial stimulation that when reality comes calling, our hunger is ruined. It’s like mom used to say to you about eating before supper time, “Put that cookie down! It’ll ruin your appetite!”

Absolute Goodness and Glory is on the table. The aroma is filling the air and the lions in my spiritual stomach are growling. God has sent the Holy Spirit on a venture of availability trolling for people who know how to have an honest, heartfelt internal dialogue; “If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.” (Mark 5:24-34)

Some versions of the story I just referred to describe the event as Jesus perceiving in Himself that “virtue” had just proceeded from Him. The definition of the word virtue is, “moral excellence and goodness of character”. Absolute Goodness trumped temporary badness WHEN someone took the Holy Bait of that Goodness and put a pure hearted demand on it! Think about this; someone in a crowd seized Jesus’ clothes for a brief moment and that act of a focused appetite became a conduit for Absolute Goodness and Glory to flash into her body sufficient enough to expel and vaporize a 12 year long sickness.

If you are tired of “making mud pies in a slum” then its time to set your imagination free to explore what an infusion of God’s transcendent Goodness and Glory would vaporize if you gave Him just a handful of opportunity.

Reach, grab, pull it in…

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dipped in Absolute Goodness

What would you look like if daily and for the rest of your life, you were bombarded with absolute goodness and glory? If it is true that when bad events happen to us over a prolonged and intense period of time, that it changes us, even our appearance, then, what would you look like if for the rest of your life, you were bombarded with absolute goodness and glory? And, what would your scope of influence look like if you then became a channel through which God could bombard daily your surroundings with absolute goodness and glory?

In Exodus 33, when Moses passionately cried out to see God's Glory, we are told that God responded by showing Moses His Goodness. That's why I like to use these two words (Goodness and Glory) together and interchangeably. II Corinthians 3 teaches us that God is not budgeting out His Goodness and Glory. He is ready to bombard and baptize anyone who is in a willing pursuit.

Someone once said, "God will always fulfill His promises to your life but He is not obligated to fulfill your potential". This matter of being blasted with the full dose of God's Goodness and Glory is both promise and potential. The promise is seized by faith and the potential is realized by works. Someone else once said, "We don't work for love but we do work FROM love." When I seek to "do good" (look for those 2 words throughout the Bible) I become a sower of the seeds of goodness and glory and those seeds become the target of a greater blast of Absolute Goodness and Glory from Heaven.

Proverbs 11:23 says that the desire of the righteous brings only good but the expectation of the wicked brings wrath. Let me throw this at you: why would any "righteous" person want to be involved in the expectation of wrath? I'm just asking a question because Romans 2 says that the goodness and kindness of God leads us to repentance. I'm not saying there won't be any wrath, I'm just saying that it seems to me to be a terrible waste of faith for us to expect wrath when we could be desiring GOOD! And not just any ordinary, garden variety good....but an Absolute Goodness and Glory that is wildly attractive and extravagantly available.

I'll be back for more on this soon. Read my blog, "So Good it Must be True" from last week. I don't mind saying so myself; I'm on to something here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Love Ginger Ann Dean

33 years ago today, Richard Nixon was on national TV announcing his resignation from the presidency which would be official the following day, August 9th 1974. It seems like yesterday to me but that event was not terribly important to me at the time. What was most important to me was the fact that on August 9th 1974 Ginger and I were getting married.

Up to that time she had lived in one house her whole life, not counting the dorm room she lived in for one year of college. Since that time I have moved her over a dozen times and literally cross country. Today she is happily and contentedly at my side even though she is 1200 miles away from her parents (who are struggling with the daily realities of Alzheimer’s disease in her dad).

I don’t exactly know what she saw in me 3 decades ago and what she still sees in me now but I’m sure glad she sees it and I’m thrilled that she is still my girlfriend. I love her passionately.

33 years and growing more in love; I’m a blessed guy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

So Good it Must Be True

"Too good to be true". We live by it, make decisions by it, validate cynical behavior by it and generally keep ourselves on the "straight and narrow" by it. I recently heard a speaker take this on by saying, "We always hear that something is 'too good to be true'. I'm learning to say, 'It's so good it must be true". That statement flew right into my heart and splashed right into a stream of revelation in which I am enjoying a lovely summer swim.

First of all, READ THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY! All caps means I am typing at the top of my lungs. When we say of money schemes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is", I believe that is generally good advice. There is no Nigerian prince looking to send you a million dollars as soon as you wire him the $3000 transfer fee and all your bank account numbers. Multi-level marketing turns your friends into objects of reaching your sales goals. Stuffing envelopes at home will give you more paper cuts than dollars. Zero down real estate investments will make you a landlord who gets middle of the night phone calls to come jiggle the toilet handle because the toilet has been running for hours and the water is starting to drip through the floor and your tenents downstairs are complaining (and that's on a good day). Got it?

Where we need some fresh spiritual air is in regard to the possibility of Absolute Goodness being accepted and lived as it is poured into our thirsty souls from a Prodigal Father God Whose Goodness makes the best human goodness look evil by comparison. Some definitions here would be helpful. The word prodigal means, "wasteful". The next time you read the parable of the prodigal son, turn it around and think about the prodigal father in that story. He is so wasteful that when he sees his son returning from, "a long way off" he runs at him, leaps upon him, kisses him again and again and that's before the boy utters one word of apology. In another place Jesus said that we earthly fathers, though evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, but how much more does our Heavenly Father give GOOD gifts. Our best good is evil by comparison. How Good is that? Too good to be true?

The human soul yearns and aches for Good. We are drawn to the stories of heroism and survival in the middle of the I35W bridge collapse because something in us is scanning the bad reality desparetely seeking for the Good. We love gazing at a new born baby because she is hope incarnate. A dog dials 911, a man wakes up from a decade of being comatose, a lost letter from a World War II veteran arrives on child's birthday, a cloud formation seems to say, "X marks the spot" are tiny examples of "so good it must be true". But what would it look like if we pulled the veil off our eyes and began to explore and seek a massive deluge of God's Prodigal Goodness?

What would we begin to look like if we were exposed to a greater light of all His Good than we have ever dared imagine? How would we intrinsically change? What subterranean shifts would take place in our impoverished souls? What images of God would be blasted out of our thoughts? Where have we been projecting our dysfunctional behavior into the character of God? And, most importantly, how far would God go with a Baptism of Goodness and Glory if now, under a better covenant than Moses enjoyed, we prayed what Moses prayed in Exodus 33:18? Let me say it in ALL CAPS; IF WE ARE GOING TO OVERCOME TODAY'S EVIL WITH GOOD, WE NEED A BAPTISM IN ABSOLUTE GOODNESS AND GLORY IN AN UNPARALLELED MANNER. WE HAVE NOT BECAUSE WE ASK NOT. Now, dream.....