Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Raise the Dead

What is it about Jesus and His claims that just push our buttons? What is it about His Words, (Matthew 10:8) “…heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons…” that simply and flat out make us uncomfortable? Why do these outrageous statements even need to be addressed? WHY? Because, like the mountain to the climber, it is there.

Jesus speaks to us from His own native soil, Heaven’s Kingdom. We are the foreigners. His is the native tongue and it is our obligation, if we have any desire at all to function even nominally in the Kingdom of God, to lean into His lingua franca and once and for all to be truly enlightened.

Are we terrified that we might learn something that would steal us away from our own agendas? Are we so currently spiritually vibrant and attractive that there is simply no room for any more of God’s beauties to be seen in us? Has a watching world around us been swept up in a trembling swoon at the sheer magnitude of the goodness of God at work within us? (Jeremiah 33:3 & 9)

Jesus’ command from the aforementioned reference in Matthew is concluded with, “…freely you received, freely give.” Internal splendor can become external health for the benefit of those in need.

As I observe the generalized “us”, the collective bin of believers in 2008 I hear the Holy Spirit shouting, “You can not regain externally what you’ve lost internally. You can not restore material systems before you reclaim true spiritual power. You can not win spiritual domain swinging humanistic weapons. You can not regain through political clout what you’ve lost in spiritual clarity. Healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers and casting out demons is irretrievably rooted in freely receiving that you may freely give! Like baby birds in a nest, learn to receive Heaven’s Kingdom with Heaven’s King in a saturated certainty throughout all of your internal realities. I have a Niagara of Life awaiting channels for release. You have but to unmercifully slay stunted human reasoning and be resurrected to a revolution of REAL LIFE!”

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Sound of Resurrection

Luke 4:31-37 and 43 is a compelling narrative that is wrapped around the themes of voice, message and authority. “And they were amazed at His (Jesus) teaching, for His message was with authority.” Then, Luke accounts that a demon possessed man cried out with a loud voice, “Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” When you think about it, this is a peculiar picture!

Notice that the demon does not say anything necessarily bad or wrong. Jesus DID come to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus was and IS the Holy One of God, but Jesus doesn’t want to let this critter occupy the air waves any more than the brief moment it grabs. In fact, Jesus puts a Word on him, “Be quiet and come out of him! And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing him any harm.” And Luke says that even more amazement came on the crowd and, “they began discussing with one another saying, ‘What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’”

Please allow me to take some pains to list what we see here:
1. Jesus puts authority in the air; the greek word for authority here means force, liberty, freedom, mastery, capacity, influence, jurisdiction and a right to enforce. I would call it a field of transcendent supremacy.
2. Demons know church-speak. They love to fill rooms with empty, vacant lifeless religious sounds. Swearing, drooling and threatening are too obvious.
3. The question pregnant with purpose is “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
4. Luke 4:43 answers the above question in the Words of Jesus; “I must preach the kingdom of God….for I was sent for this purpose.”

Psalm 29 says that God’s Voice thunders and is majestic. It hews out flames of fire, shakes wildernesses and makes nations skip like frightened calves when we see that He speaks as the King of Infinity. When Jesus spoke He put a new jurisdiction into the atmosphere around Him. His Voice was an affidavit and a warrant from Heaven’s Kingdom. He put God’s jurisdiction in the environment and even if you did not understand Him, you knew you must hear more.

Remember when Jesus freaked out the well fed crowd in John 6? “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” Yikes! Talk about a sound bite (no pun intended) that could be used against you! After the thousands left Jesus to find a better preacher, He said to His remaining disciples, if you don’t “get” that, you won’t “get” what’s coming; because, “My Words are Spirit and are Life.”

When Jesus spoke He put a new jurisdiction into the atmosphere around Him. His Voice was an affidavit and a warrant from Heaven’s Kingdom. He put God’s jurisdiction in the environment and even if you did not understand Him, you knew you must hear more. Now, you want to read something that will either bless you or freak you out some more? Luke 10:16 says, “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me…”.

I simply MUST have that Voice! I refuse to fill rooms with vacant religious sounds that leave people unchanged and dominated by the poisons of our culture.

I simply MUST be one whose voice is a carrier of that Voice. I am on this planet to be His warrant officer; the bearer of the King’s Jurisdiction that arrests the darkness, puts it out of commission and fills the atmosphere with “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” And I simply MUST find others who cry out for this mantle, this clothing that can be touched for the healing of those who say in their hearts, “When I touch this, I AM HEALED!”

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Reflections of an Election

I just won a very close election to my 6th term on a public school board of education. How close, you ask? 14 votes close and two of those 14 were mine and, I hope, my wife’s. That’s razor thin, but as they say in sports, a “w” is a “w”.

For weeks people have been asking me, “What do think about this election?” My answer has been consistently, “Either way I’ll win. If I lose, I get back bus loads of time to be with my wife and family, finish my book, pastor my church and slip some time off in there somewhere. If I win, well, I win.” But a strange thing happened to me on the way to the results; I started getting nervous about the outcome.

In the past the district administrator calls me late after he’s had time to certify the election results. Last night was no different. But “late” started getting really late. My mind said, “You’ve lost! They just don’t want to call you because they feel sorry for you.” When the phone finally rang I took a deep breath and tried to act calm (which was dumb, seeing as how my wife and dog were the only ones around to see me) and I answered the call like I didn’t know who was calling.

“Hey Randy… you want the good news or the bad news?” Now, if I say I want the good news it sounds greedy BUT if the good news is that I lost (remember, I’ve told everyone that no matter what, I win) I am suddenly in need of sounding cheerful when I’m not. Anyway, I’m not even sure how I answered.

“Well, I’ll give you the bad news first….you’re back on for another 3 years.” I suppressed an “ALL RIGHT! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”, and muttered an “aw shucks…well, OK”. When I laid down to go to sleep…..I couldn’t. My brain was ON. What’s up?

I’d like to tell you something really profound and spiritual sounding. Can’t do it. It came down to this; I hate losing and deep inside I was more wound up about the possibility losing this election than I had been willing to admit.

Which brings me to a teachable moment in this blog. Why am I on this board of education to begin with? To serve and demonstrate the attractive value system of God’s Kingdom in Christ. I’m not there, as some raging fundamentalist to promote creationism or intelligent design. I’m not there to protect the school from the political agenda of the “left”. I’m there to serve humans in love. The final and only valuable proof of a Creator and His intelligent design is our life, not curriculum. If we don’t live what we teach, then we are teaching something else.

I'm there to authentically love people on the “left” and the “right” and be the Voice of Christ when the voices of acrimony and hate subject educational processes to anybody’s political agenda. On the opposite side of the spectrum I’ve found that hate knows no political boundary; both sides can hate equally from behind their masks of sincerity.

I’m there to serve and demonstrate the attractive value system of God’s Kingdom in Christ. I’ve learned that God can be legally involved in public schools when His people carry Him in the front doors with a heart to love, even our enemies, perceived or otherwise.

I’ve learned that I’ll be asked to pray when I stop demanding to pray. I’ve learned that I’ll be asked to quote scripture when I stop threatening to use scripture.

I’ve learned that many political strategies will fail, but that love never fails. And since I hate losing and I enjoy winning, I think I’ll stick to the winning strategy of Kingdom living and loving.

Thank you, God, for 14 votes.