Monday, September 29, 2008

The Value System of His Sacrifice

If my faith is not reaching into the value system of His sacrifice I will end up walking in some kind of sin. Not the kind of sin that robs a liquor store, but the “church-y” sin that allows for a self righteous bigotry and shame based vision of God. Sin is simply and terribly, “missing the mark”, misfiring at the bull’s eye and sending an arrow to a less satisfying but more easily achieved destination.

I want to be very careful in defining what I hope to convey here. Bill Johnson, an apostle who is rapidly owning my heart as a spiritual father, says, “Reaction to error simply creates more error”, and he could not be more on target. My purpose could easily get lost in that kind of reaction. My goal is to call my readers to cultivate their spiritual roots deep into a most holy and healthy soil and away from depleted and anemic dirt. So, I will take some calculated risks to that end and press you upward, hopefully with a bare minimum of looking elsewhere.

I have a “three strike rule” when listening to any given teaching or reading any material from most Christian sources. When I hear one of the phrases, “the end times”, or “the last days”, I internally register, “strike one, strike two and strike three”. Why? Because these two phrases are usually taking nourishment from the church-y sin I described in the first paragraph. When strike three is achieved, I don’t necessarily check off the speaker or author as a bad person or completely false (recently someone on a CD I was listening to referred to the “end times” 17 times in 20 minutes!). I simply bring into play a much stronger filter for my soul.

Several years ago I heard a man of God say, “Take it easy, chicken little….you’ve got time to obey God”. That statement alone could change your whole life! Obedience based on a heart that yearns to be trained, mentored, transformed, renewed and fully engaged is nurtured in the environment of a holy holistic Creator. Obedience rooted in any of a number of versions of a Heavenly Father in need of some kind of anger management due to His ever shrinking patience with our behavior or a loudly ticking clock in the Throne Room is not obedience, but, in fact, is dysfunctional at best and dreadfully shame based at worst. In the environment of a holy holistic Creator everyone and everything is getting HEALED, in the other environment everyone, including the health care givers, is getting more diseased.

Even the phrase, “this end times revival” at times drives me to distraction. Too often it implies that God is in a hurry-up offense, the 2-minute drill. He’s ratcheting up the numbers so He can be justified in the inevitable horrible end that’s just around the corner.

We need to get a grip! A grip on the True and Living God whose vision for His creation was fully finally secured in the Words of His Son on the cross, “IT IS FINISHED!” The Law and the Prophets have been fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at YOUR HAND, the Lamb of God has taken away the Sin of the world, The Father has looked at the anguish of His Son’s soul and He is satisfied! The magnificent Redemption of Christ Jesus trumps all notions of any angry God scenarios. The New Testament writers proclaimed the “last days” as connected to their own time and not some futuristic END.

In Bill Johnson’s book, “When Heaven Invades Earth” he says (page 34) “One of the tragedies of a weakened identity is how it affects our approach to Scripture. Many, if not most theologians, make the mistake of taking all the good stuff contained in the prophets and sweeping it under that mysterious rug called, ‘the Millennium’…..the mistaken idea is this: if it is good, it can’t be for now.”

The Moravian believers have a core vision captured in these words, “Win for the Lamb that was slain the reward for His sufferings”. Herein is found all the motivation we need to be in a full on pursuit of the Will of God and the purposes of the Kingdom of God! God’s Son Jesus has finished the work of a New Creation. It is our privilege and honor to passionately labor for the spread of New Eden, the glorious Kingdom of God!

Only a bully stands in the playground threatening the weak and unsuspecting with a mysterious and bloody “end” if there is not immediate cooperation! Papa God is NO BULLY but our warped end-time obsession has us presenting Him as such in a loud, albeit unwitting, way. IT IS TIME TO RE-PRESENT THAT WHICH IS ONLY AND COMPLETELY GOOD NEWS! We have been called to the privilege of believing into and acting out of the value system of His sacrifice.

"All things are possible to those who believe..." (Mark 9:23) means to me that God is looking for a community and a culture of believers who intentionally take on impossibilities with a warrior's heart to, "win for the Lamb that was slain the reward for His sufferings" (the Moravians).

I'd rather fail in the attempt of the miraculous than to succeed at mediocrity.