Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heads On Chickens Part II

Jesus said, flat out, “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). While you would like to think that a statement that straight forward is pretty hard to dodge, the fact is that most of us have and do. I’ve sat through more than a few sermons that labored to dumb this down and most of them have left me with the sense that I just have to try harder to be a good boy.

That’s not what Jesus is getting at. Our Father in heaven is not a dysfunctional daddy screaming at us from the sidelines of the game to run faster so he can feel better about his own shortcomings when he was a student athlete. What He IS doing is to invite us to join Him in heavenly places and to live from the prophetic “amen” He enjoys.

Leading up to Jesus’ dare to be perfect, He listed a variety of human conditions which, when left to our own resources, we know how to navigate. You punch me, I punch you. You hate me, I hate you. You mistreat me, I mistreat you. Then when the wind is blowing the ashes of our fighting fire with fire, we cry and ask God to fix the mess. In a sense, He is asking us, “How’s that working for you?”.

But His answer is not to turn us in on ourselves. That’s the problem to start with anyway! He dares us to be risen to heavenly places and to live from the perfection of the Father’s Kingdom of Heaven. Perfect here means to live in and see and know the prophetic conclusion of a matter. To experience the “amen” and the “I AM”.

God is right now living in His Kingdom of Absolute Perfection. The Prophetic Conclusion is already giving Him massive delight. He lives in that quality and He would like for us to join Him. To live any other way is to live out of the scraps of our own resources.

This is why we should not pray the problems but prophesy the solutions. This is why He taught us to pray, “THY Kingdom COME, THY WILL be DONE on earth, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”. We pray from heaven TO earth so that our view is PERFECT. Otherwise we are telling God about how we’ve been lied on, cheated on, beat on, hated on, country songed on, bluesed on, hipped hopped on, and just generally rocked on by bad people.

I don’t know how to put this gently, so I’ll say it in the full context of Matthew 5:38-48 and the Words of Jesus; do you just want to cry and whine about your real and imagined injustices or would you like to live the highest quality of life available to humankind and delight yourself in a banquet table set in the presence of your enemies?

Heads ON or heads OFF, chicken little?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Like Chickens With Their Heads ON

My 7th grade Literature teacher, Miss Ross, made me memorize Rudyard Kipling's poem, "IF" and I fumed. Like most 7th graders I had no clue what this stupid assignment had to do with "real life". The opening line says, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you...".

I love this poem now. It only took 40 years of real life to learn to appreciate it. In fact I started a new series of messages with the deeply insightful title, "Chickens with their heads ON" inspired, in part, by Miss Ross and Mr. Kipling. (Don't forget the free podcasts a our church web site; www.lwc1.com).

Jesus gave an unblinking outrageous charge when He said, "Therefore, you are to be perfect, as Your Heavenly Father is perfect". My version of this is, "Hey,all you chickens in the barnyard! How's this 'running around like chickens with your heads cut off' working for you? Try this; while the axe is swinging, you be the chicken who keeps his head ON. You'll stand head and shoulders above the crowd".

Read Matthew 5:38-48 with some serious reflection and meditation. Jesus is shouting into the empty cavern of Jewish religious hard heartedness that wants to give Rome some lessons on morality. Yes, I know we are all different now. Instead of the empty cavern of Jewish hard heartedness now it the empty cavern of Christian hard heartedness. It's totally different...now that we've put the Name of Jesus on our sin.

Jesus came to lead the world into the greatest Spiritual Revolution and its potential is so vast, deep and wide that it still has not reached its possibilities. How vast? PERFECTION IS ITS ONLY STANDARD. And not just any perfection, but Heavenly Perfection. Not the perfection we are vainly waiting to be granted IN heaven when we get there, but a nitty gritty, punch me in the face on earth and you'll get a blast of heaven's perfect Father living in me.

Alanis Morrisset wrote the song, "Perfect" some years ago that gives a contrast to what I am NOT saying here; "Be a good boy, try a little harder. You've got to measure up and make me prouder...be a good girl, you've gotta try a little harder. That simply wasn't good enough to make us proud. I'll live through you. I'll make you what I never was...". Our Father's perfection is not this sick version. His perfection is the substance of His Heavenly Kingdom Life and the quality of His transcendent supremacy which He longs to generously pour into us when we decide that "trying harder to be good boys and girls" is vain at best, and self-righteous at worst.

The greek word for perfect is, "teleios" and it means completeness, the conclusion of an act or state of being, the end prophetic result. God lives in His own conclusions, He is in a constant state of the prophetic AMEN. There are no lose ends, no unresolved conflicts, no injustices left to right, no matters left for discussion, no unanswered questions, no incomplete statements, nothing left hanging "out there", nothing to discuss and nothing unfinished....HE LIVES IN THAT HIGH LEVEL OF THE QUALITY OF HIS OWN LIFE.....where do we live?

Jesus did not write a new law to be performed in a dead state of religious routine. He is baiting humanity out of a low life existence dependant on our own discipline to be "good" and into the highest dimension of The Life, radically immersed in Heaven's irreplacable energy and love. In fact, in Matthew 5:45 He says this is the only path to becoming the sons and daughters of God.

When the book of Ephesians says that we are seated in Heavenly Places in Christ, it is not an invitation to "feel" good about the symbolism of being "saved". It's a transcending reality for the Believer to be "other" than the chickens running around the barnyard separated from their heads! God's Perfection is The Quality of His Kingdom being offered for those who those who hunger for Life that looks, smells, talks, walks and IS the Life of Jesus Christ invested, FOR REAL, in us. Smash me in the face and the Life of the Spirit pours out of me and the blood on your knuckles is God's blood. Sue me, curse me, use me under false pretences and God gets bigger through me. Hate me and the Love of God grows in me and through me.

This is the Revolution of Jesus and this is the hour for the world to see the true face of God in sons and daughters of the Revolution.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lit and Lovin' It

I just arrived back home from a 10 day trip to Valles, Mexico. Valles is a true to the soul of Mexico city of about 400,000 8 hours drive south of the border. A family from our church has been down there for 22 years and I visit them annually.

Missions trips aren't supposed to be this much fun. Oh, we worked, that's for sure. There was the standard stuff we do every year of working on the church building (you can see the building by going to our church web site www.lwc1.com and click on the mission's link), but this year we added a new feature which I hope will be a standard for the years to come. Darren, my son in law and assistant pastor, and I went down a few days ahead of our team to conduct a pastor's conference in a village just east of Valles. Then, after that 2 and half day conference we conducted a leadership conference with the 30 key leaders of the 2 city churches.

When you count the one 5 hour session I held at the city churches along with the evening services after the pastor's conference, I had the privilege of preaching and teaching 13 times in 6 days. That does not include the mandatory follow up altar prayer services that these precious people insist on having. I think I counted prophesying and specifically praying with over 200 people. But I kid you not, I have not had that much fun in a very long time. Like I said, mission's trips are not supposed to be this much fun….I almost feel guilty….almost, but…..there……now I'm over it.

A couple times out in the village a demon possessed couple showed up to disrupt the services. Weird stuff, but Darren and I compared notes on how God through His Kingdom in us just overwhelmed the darkness. This couple was not interested in any freedom at that time, but regardless, the freak show they wanted to bring with them was sent packing.

I don't have the time or space here to relate everything that happened but I want to leave one significant thought with you. In Psalms 16:11 and 36:8 we are told that God's presence, right hand and His river are places of joy, pleasure, delights and life. This past 2 weeks of grueling schedule, Mexican highways and mountain trails has reminded me that I can serve Him out of a limitless bounty if I keep myself in the deep end of the Presence Pool of God the Father, Jesus my King/Friend and the Great Adventurer, the Holy Spirit.

I'm lit and lovin' it; what's next?