Monday, September 24, 2007

Expectations Watered Down to the Level of Our Disappointments

If we are not diligent, we tend to water down our expectations to the level of our disappointments. Pastor Kris Vallotton says it this way, "When your memories are greater than your dreams, you've already begun to die". To be a "believer" is just that, to be a believer!

It is potentially a wild privilege to be a believer in a culture of unbelief. The vacuum that unbelief creates is an astonishing opportunity for people of faith to step forward with the clarity of a contrast. (I'd like to refer you to a couple of my previous blogs on this matter; "How Dare We be Powerless" and "Too Much Faith".) In Matthew 24:14 Jesus makes it clear that before any kind of an "end" to anything, that God seeks someone who will clearly preach the Kingdom of God as a witness and demonstration. In another place (Luke 10:9) Jesus told His disciples to heal the sick and tell them that the Kingdom came near enough to do the healing. This tells me that the Kingdom of God holds explosive spiritual treasures waiting for the hungry, curious, insatiably and voraciously eager seeker who comes with irresistible desire.

But remember, it is impossible to be cautious and extraordinary at the same time. What disappointment is worthy of carrying for another day that will lock you into a truncated and marginalized vision of God? What failure has you frozen in time in an endless analysis of what went wrong? If you keep focusing on yesterday you are going to make your tomorrow look like your past.

Try this on for size; Jesus lived as one man completely fixated on the reality of the Kingdom of God in the face of the One World Government of His day. He never signed a petition against Rome, much less obsessed with its very real evil. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38) and, today, Rome is better known for being the headquarters of the world's largest church. Good overcame evil. If it did it once, it can do it again. Sign me up for that team.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


An incredible account is given to us in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9 of the transfiguration of Jesus. I have eagerly poured over this account more times than I can count in my near 4 decades of loving God and His Word. I have tried a few times to bring some kind of adequate teaching as a pastor from this treasure. Commentaries help with some discussion of location, greek grammar and lexical assistance but in the end, they bore me. My soul cries out for a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. What's really here? In II Peter 1:16-21 the apostle gives us the only personal accounting of this event in a teaching format. For me, this is the only trustworthy commentary. I'll come back to this momentarily.

Romans 12:1,2 urges us to refuse the current cultural mindset, but it doesn't stop with a negative. Paul takes aim at another mount of transfiguration for every believer. "...but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...". Paul revs up the spiritual engine of command and shouts that each one of us needs a regular furnace blast of a meta or glorious moment. The prefix "meta" means over, or beyond. The greek word for transformed that Paul chose to use is the word "metamorphoo". In biology it would be used to describe how the tadpole becomes the frog. This word that Paul used is the same word used to describe what happened to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Let's splice these accounts together, just for the heck of it, shall we?

Jesus, looking down the barrel of His impending death, is perhaps feeling very human. Remember the last time you faced the prospect of a root canal? Or, some serious life changing or even life threatening event was hanging in the air before you? Take that sensation and multiply it by a thousand and maybe you've got an inkling of Jesus' post in life at that time. So, with complete intentionality, He took Peter, James and John in tow up the mountain to pray. Luke's account says that, "while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different...". Let me tell you, baby, that wasn't the only thing that changed.....but I'll write too much for one blog if I go there now. Read for yourself and if you will read it with the Holy Spirit's eyes in your eyes get ready to find your own mountain. Right now, my mountain is right here in my office.

Jesus needed a meta moment for a metamorphosis. He also knew that Peter, James and John needed a teachable meta moment so He took them along to fry their circuits. Just for the sake of keeping my composure while I'm writing this let me draw to the conclusion I promised you earlier by returning to II Peter. Peter says of that moment that he isn't trying to sell a philosophical page turner for the New York Times best seller list. He says, "we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ....we were eyewitnesses of His majesty...". And then he pushes me off the cliff of credulity when he says, "...we have the prophetic word made more sure to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in you hearts."

I've been telling my church and you who read this blog that we need a baptism in Absolute Goodness and Glory if we are to have any credible refutation of the absolute bad and evil that soaks our world. If Jesus needed a metamorphosis in a cloud of glory because He prayed it into and unto that mountain, we dare do no less for our often pitiful mindset. Jesus said that we are the light of the world and this little light of mine, baby, I'm gonna LIGHT IT UP.

I am arising, I am shining because the glory of the Lord has risen upon me. BECAUSE deep darkness is upon the people of non-transfiguration, the Lord has risen upon me and His glory is appearing on me, to such an extent that entire nations are seeing it and coming to that light. Oh, and one more thing: after the resurrection of Jesus Matthew records that His appearance, His "fashion", His aspect, the very sight of Him was "like lightning". That potential is latent in you and me. OK....I'm done talking to you now....I gotta go get me some o 'dat. The world around me has been dying for too long. I've got an assignment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

For the Greater Good of Many

About two months ago the Holy Spirit dropped a truth in front of my eyes that all at once delighted me and distressed me. If you've been reading my blogs or attending my church or downloading the messages from our church website you know that I am teaching and preaching on a Baptism in Absolute Goodness and Glory. I think its obvious why the subject material would delight me but I want to explain why there was and still is a lingering distress.

I can not bear the radio-voiced, sugar coated, yippee-skippy, glad-handed, fake smiled, kaki pants, buttoned down image that current Christianity seems all too often determined to defend with a cliched, "Hey! God is Good! (and the antiphonal comes back...) "All the time!" Sorry, but I think I just threw up a little in the back of my throat....there....I'm better now. The sheer remote possibility that someone would relate me into that kind of self styled stereotype distresses me, to say the least.

The Goodness and Glory of God can not be relegated to a safe zoned level of understanding, because if it is, it ceases to be anything even remotely resembling the genuine Goodness and Glory of God. In fact, as I have been ministering out of this incredible understanding, I have discovered that the True Goodness and Glory of God will seize you and demand of you a complete surrender to it that can only be accurately pictured in my mind as a baptism. All or nothing.

Consider Moses. At 80 he is repeatedly racing up and down the 7500 feet of elevation of Mt. Sinai. There he enters a fire storm, a cloud and sees the ground under the feet of God that looks like saphire. He comes down the mountain with the stone tablets of the law (personally handed to him by God) and throws these 100 pound beauties (at 80!) in a holy fit of disgust at the people of God. Then he runs back up the 7500 foot ascent, pleads for God to forgive the folks he just threw the tablets at and even offers himself as the first to be vaporized if God does not forgive the people. Then he spends the night carving out new 100 pound tablets (at 80!) for God to rewrite the 10 commandments. And with all that amazing face to face encounter with God Moses still realizes that he does not know, by experience, the Glory and Goodness of God!! How do we know that? Because Moses asks to see the Glory of God and God granted his request with a blast of radiance that had to be partially shielded from Moses so that the sheer Goodness of it would not kill him.

Moses was raised in the American dream of his day; Pharoah's opulent court. But his later baptism in the Goodness and Glory of God, starting with the burning bush and rounded off with the aforementioned radiation treatment, ruined him on cheap imitations of good. This explains why to this day so many people linger around the edges of God's Glory and Goodness. They love to say how good God is, but they hold back from any real encounter with it for fear that they too might be compelled to climb mountains, carve stone, haul and heave heavy weights and passionately intercede for otherwise unworthy masses. God forbid that our face would shine. We might lose the right to disobey God if our face is otherwise advertising our availability for the distribution of His Glory.

The true desire for a Baptism in Goodness and Glory is found in its purest form when it is to see an atmosepheric shift and a change of climate for a greater good of many. The evil of our day dares us to present any challenge to its seemingly undefeated prowess. If all we have in response is some giddy cliche we will soon be thrown to the dump yard of irrelevance and incompetency. But if someone will, for God in heaven's sake, read II Corinthians 3 and leap into the chest of Christ's compassionate passion, they will come down from their own mount of transfiguration with a radiance of the Holy Spirit for the greater good of MANY. But, we cannot give what we do not have and we will not keep what we do not GIVE AWAY.