Monday, August 30, 2010

Mosque Madness

I simply will not remain silent any more about the “proposed mosque” near the World Trade Center site. The sheer volume of misinformation, the volume of the sheer misinformation and the misinformed voluminous sheer determination to perpetuate misinformation presses me to speak. The following is my own view, my own opinion and my own rant.

The building site in question is two full blocks away from the WTC site. Have you walked the blocks of Manhattan? How many buildings and businesses occupy those two full blocks? How many people would you pass walking those two blocks? Count ‘em…two. full. blocks. It is not overseeing, not adjoining, not connected to the WTC site. It is near, yes, but not a part of the WTC site.

Let me start with one basic premise; in my humble opinion, using this site as a Muslim prayer room, so close to the WTC tragedy is another tragedy waiting to happen. I fear every crazy loon on the planet will target it as their claim to some insane and bizarre attempt for justice. Christian, Islamic and maybe even Jewish extremists will view it the same way the murderous lunatics of 9/11 viewed the World Trade Center Towers. Security alone for this project will likely create a nightmare for the new owners.

But now, let me transition to the true heart of my thoughts…

The building site in question was formerly occupied by a Burlington Coat Factory Store. On September 11, 2001 this building was struck by a chunk of landing gear from one of the hijacked planes. The building was rendered irreparable by that moment and has remained abandoned since. To my knowledge, no church has looked into creating a memorial there. No charitable organization has proffered enough money to purchase it. Until a local mosque showed up to turn it into a prayer room connected to what happened on 9/11, this building was a Burlington Coat Factory store. When the local mosque offered to buy it, it was sold; that’s the American free market system in full operation.

Imam Feisal who leads the local mosque in question (which has been in this neighborhood for several years previous) has been in the employment of the United States government since the George W. Bush administration. He was hired by them to represent the U.S.A. in Islamic countries as a loyal, peace loving citizen of our nation. The Bush administration, no doubt, saw this man’s potential of giving our nation an intellectual, understanding face with which civilized Muslim people could relate. Feisal’s stated goal is, “We want to push back against the extremists”.

His wife, Daisy Khan, was invited to sit on an advisory board overseeing the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum to assist in memorializing the heart wrenching events of 9/11. Again, for the record, both of them have been serving us since 9/11/01. They are not recent employees of the current president; they were contracted by the State Department and the F.B.I. under the charge of our previous, Republican president, George W. Bush. In fact, the F.B.I. has publically stated that their work with Imam Feisel has been, “positive”.

Imam Feisal has been complemented by a neighboring rabbi, Arthur Schneier, who said that the Imam was a man of “like heartedness” to him (the rabbi). Additionally, the presence of the Muslim community in New York City is a well documented historic fact. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg (a Republican), is fully supportive of this Muslim physical presence in the former Burlington Coat Factory building because, he thinks it is a restorative gesture. I think that is, at least, a reasonable thought.

Now, it seems to me, that when we look at this proposed Islamic prayer site, two blocks away from the WTC site, we should, at the very least, try and understand the true simplicity of this transaction. All mystery, of any nature, should first be processed in simplicity.

My thought is, maybe, just maybe, this is no more than the desire of genuine, American Muslims to make something good of the terrible events of that terrible day. Since this former Burlington Coat Factory Store was damaged by a piece of one of the hijacked planes, perhaps the thought is that this building is a natural physical point of reference for prayer for healing. Maybe good people want to do something good as a small gesture of reparation for an awful act of cowards. Is that at least possible? I think it is and until proven otherwise, it ought to be given an equal chance to stand or fall on its own merits.

I have gone on record for years, publically wondering why no reasonable Muslim leader was pressing for attention to bravely right the public record of Islam’s supposed peace loving nature. I think now I have seen one reason why civil Muslim leaders have stayed quiet; they get threatened by some of their own followers and have their character assassinated by the loud misinformed masses outside of Islam. Lose, lose…

I am, in no way, a defender of the Islamic religion. I am completely, thoroughly and resoundingly an adoring believer of and in Jesus Christ, Lord of all. That being said, I know that Jesus said, “Love your enemies…” and He said, “…do not resist him who is evil, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also”.

Remember, I said in the third paragraph I think this project is a security nightmare. For instance, you won’t find me building a Christian house of prayer in Mecca any time soon. However, as a Christian, I believe we should let this project stand or fall on its own merits. If they are, as some suspect, seeking to pour salt in our national wounds, their own evil will be their undoing. But if they are simply seeking some gesture to heal our wounds, why, in the name of all that is pure and holy, would we resist such an act of potential decency?

Start with the truth. Let all your opinions be rooted there. However, if you start with your opinion and look only for the truth that supports your view, you will miss the greater beauty of truth that could make you free. Always start with the truth, even if it is uncomplimentary to your opinion.

I do not like or agree with the Islamic religion and the practice of the Muslim faith. That is my opinion. In the case of this building project near the ground made hallowed by the blood of innocent victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, the truth might be that Muslims are attempting to do something spiritually and lovingly restorative. If that is the truth, and it seems reasonable to me that it is, then I will start there, even though it might cause me to admire an Imam with whom I have enormous religious differences.

If the Imam and all Muslims simply want me and all who disagree with them dead, how is that any different from the goals of Rome and the major religionists of Jesus’ day? How did their blood thirsty, terroristic pursuit work for them? Isn’t the world’s largest Christian denomination today headquartered in Rome?

Wasn’t the story of Saul, who was a religious leader and avowed enemy of Christians, about a man who was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples…and asked for letters to bind women and children” (Acts 9:1,2)? Didn’t that turn out to be one of the most significant miracles of the infancy of Christianity?

As I said at the top of this blog, these words are just my own opinion. When I first heard about a mosque on the WTC site, I reacted negatively, like many people did and still do. So I searched for truth...and my opinion changed when the light of truth weighed in on my views. I hope you'll join me, at least, in the pursuit of truth.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kids These Days....

Somewhere along the timeline of my youth I had a deep conversation with myself. Someone had said something harsh and diminishing about me and my generation and it stung. Now, mind you, I’m 57 and this internal chat was going on during the wild ride of the ‘60’s. If you don’t remember it, or have not recently reviewed the history, let me remind you of a few things.

This nation was being torn apart by a string of assassinations. Thousands of soldiers were dying in southeast Asia and those coming home from that bloody war in Vietnam returned to the noise of angry protesters. College campuses were deeply shaken by protests, rioting and blood shed. Drug usage was celebrated as a means of coping and celebrating and, as a result, rock stars routinely died from over-dosing. Days-long urban riots were in the news for at least two summers. At that time, I lived in Milwaukee, inside the cordoned off zone, where soldiers patrolled in front of our apartment house. I could hear gun shots in the night all that week. The Kroger Store directly across the street from us was boarded shut and the corner on the other side of that block had a machine gun posted check-point.

Now let me return to my internal conversation. I told myself to remember what it was like to be a frightened confused kid. I firmly resolved with myself that I would hold these memories as fresh as I could into my adult life so that I would be a man of understanding and compassion for youth. I promised myself that I would avoid at all costs being someone who would flippantly brush off an entire generation with a brusque sneer of, “…kids/youth these days…”. I was determined to remember the pain I felt from those cynical and pessimistic words.

Youth these days have their own set of fears, uncertainties and questions. For example, their generation will tell the next of watching, on live TV, as 3000 souls perished on 9/11. Kids, these days, need our validation, our courage and, I think most importantly, our faith! They want to know who our God is and if our God still loves, “the little children”.

The only way they will know this is if the adults around them are a determined corps of people whose habit is blessing and not cursing the next generation. Have you read the Bible stories about the patriarchs blessing their children? Do you remember how Jesus took children in His arms, blessed them and said, “This is My Kingdom” (Matthew 19:14)?

Kids these days…are absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tell Me Your Vision For the World...

Tell me your vision for the world, not your vitriol against it. Please don’t explain to me how wrong your opponent’s ideas are, tell me how brilliant your ideas are. Why do we love the blame game? Because in faith, politics and relationships blaming others pays off a huge bonus to our ego.

Isaiah 58:9 says, “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness…”. We all want God to answer our prayers and respond as quickly as we can cry out. It might surprise you to know that this is what He wants too! Jesus proposed that we would always get whatever we have asked for in prayer (John 15:7). Heaven wants this more than we want it but we have too easily overlooked our culpability in the failure.

We are culpable for unanswered prayer in that we have spent our energy on blame and not progress. In the case of Isaiah’s words God is calling for a fast, not of food and drink, but of negativity that feeds the ego. The prophet’s vision is of a people who become like a spectacular garden glistening with the water of encouragement(58:11). This vision is built upon the premises of the words in verse 9. Look again;
1. Remove the yoke—the yoke of our own making! Which is…
2. Pointing the finger – externalizing the reasons why we can not make progress. A over-fed ego loves to reason why the wide world is conspiring to keep its host down.
3. And speaking wickedness – this Hebrew expression goes to the notion of describing how nothing you do matters or works. It literally means, “nothingness”, the ultimate negative energy.

New Age teachers love to talk about negative and positive energy. Avoiding these terms is surrendering them to that venue and I will not do that! It is clear that this principle is a core value of the Bible. Philippians 4:4-9 concludes with, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of a good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Let everything that has breath (could be translated as energy), praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6).

Blame is the ultimate negative energy and praise to God and honor for people is the ultimate positive energy. When we fast the former and furiously embrace the latter our lives will spiritually and psychologically blossom with a beautiful flourish. Blame will easily feed your ego with always being right even at the expense of truth to the contrary. You will not maintain vital connection to God and others in this spirit, however, praise and honor will heal your ego by connecting it to every outside source designed to sustain the real and only you.

Bill Johnson loves to say, “You can not go in faith where you have not gone in intimacy.” Simply put, the more profound my love for God, enthusiasm for life and passion for Kingdom Come reality in my world the more explosive my prayer life will be. If I’m routinely sour about politics, life and relationships it is likely my prayers are extensions of my unpleasant mood.

If I’m lit up through worship and love for Daddy, if I’m drinking in the glory of life all around me, if I’m energized about being a servant with solutions then my life becomes a prayer because positive living is a sacrifice worthy of the King!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just One Thought Away...

For the last 3 weeks I’ve been soaking in the words of Mark 8:31-33. In the past they have seemed almost anecdotal, off the main subject and only there to prove how all knowing Jesus was and is. This is Mark’s version of when Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” After Peter hits the bulls eye and is winding up for an astronomic miss, Mark records this, “And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. (Amplified Version says it this way, “and He said this freely, frankly, plainly, and explicitly, making it unmistakable) And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.”

I drew this passage as the starting point for a sermon series on supernatural psychology. I have gone after a few other points from these words, but I didn’t expect to be wonderfully caught by a picture of Jesus standing there with the 12 stating freely, frankly, plainly and explicitly, making it unmistakable how this journey with Him would culminate. I’ve always known that He had warned the disciples but I’ve never been drawn to really calculate the implications of this incredible and altogether missed point of truth.

In order to take you where my mind is (brace yourself) look at the possibility of what would have happened if the Holy Spirit had been allowed to continue with the spirit of revelation that briefly bumped into Peter prior to this. The following is a summary of how different the gospels would have been:
1. At the garden of Gethsemane the disciples could have been riding the wave of the Spirit’s revelation of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. As such, they might have stayed awake to see the angels ministering to Jesus in the depths of His prayer.
2. No one would have reacted to the arrest of Jesus with anything but subdued yet profound worship.
3. After Jesus’ beating and mock trial Peter might have stood his ground about knowing this man. He might have even been arrested himself; only to be released by a band of angels sent to insure that God’s purposes and promises for Peter would not fail.
4. All but Judas would have been standing at the cross with Mary unafraid and surrounded by the legion of angels that would rather have been rescuing Jesus.
5. And best of all, perhaps, just maybe, they would have all been at the tomb, night and day until the triumphant moment when the angel blasted the stone away and Jesus stepped out. Their shouts would have moved clouds as they declared to one another, “YOU SEE! He told us! He has never lied to us, never mislead us, never given us false hopes! He is LORD!”

Now, we all know this didn’t happen. It would be easy to teach and expound on the reality that the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out on them in order for them to be this powerfully and profoundly illuminated. We know that it wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost that their collective eyes and hearts were slammed open and they became an army of invincible world changers. But here’s where it gets really interesting….

We live on this side of the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! We have this illumination for the determination of the destiny of the Kingdom’s invincibility! We are the extension of the army they began when at long last they could see, really see the truth that was always there, always teeming with divinely pressurized potential. We have the Holy Spirit on us to lead us into all, all, all truth. There is now no reason, no excuse for any freely, frankly, plainly, and explicitly, making it unmistakable promise to be missed which could otherwise alter history and determine our destiny!

We are all one thought away from achieving our destiny; and that one thought, that one revelation may very well have been laying on our mental book shelf for the past several years! It is that thought which was always a promise that seemed so irrational, so impractical, so far-fetched and even comparable to Jesus saying freely, frankly, plainly, and explicitly, making it unmistakable that His death was not final.

Is your forward progress waiting for your revelation of one simple promise? And is that one simple promise been with you all this time, while you may have been seeking more promises, more prophesy, more encouragement, when all along your greatest revelation has always been with you?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Supernatural Psychology

Some church folks have nasty habits. Listing all of them would require a large book; maybe I’ll start that manuscript as soon as I’m done with this. One of our many bad habits is that of trashing anything that does not come from us, or even what someone from among us has deemed to be from the unsafe list of us.

Here’s an example: church man A is looking for a good attorney. He meets church lady B at, of course, a church function. He asks her for the name of a good lawyer and she gives him one with these words, “This lawyer is a Christian!” And church man A is off to the races.

What’s wrong with this logic? Three basic fatal flaws: 1. Too many church folk already spend too much time with each other. 2. Being a Christian is no guarantee of being good at anything else, and 3. It ignores the glorious resourcefulness of the wide world around us. We may live in an evil world, but make no mistake about it, we live in a world full of valuable resources!

Psychology is an easy target for some church folks because it comes from “out there”. We really need to get over that fear on several fronts.

Modern medicine has been on the historic map for over a thousand years while modern psychology has only been around for about 150 years. In terms of classic research and development, that qualifies as very young and it may explain some of the idiosyncrasies resident in some psychological circles. But the idiosyncrasies of some is no reason for demonizing an entire profession.

It’s not my purpose here to endorse all psychological enterprise. My purpose here is to turn some lights on for Christians to take a look at the possibility of our cynical review of psychological endeavors. More importantly, I want to make a clear call for the church to be a people and a place of supernatural resource for any and all healing pursuits!

What would happen if the church became known as an environmental influence of profoundly beautiful mental health? What would it look like if the world around us heard that if you hang out with us church folks you’ll feel more secure and lucid? How would our reputation change if pure happiness was known as our most identifiable trait? What would it take for us to be free enough to acknowledge that all of us could stand a wide spectrum of input from the Wonderful Counselor, Jesus (Isaiah 9:6)? And, perhaps accept the assistance of some of His counterparts on earth for a check-up from the neck up?

Isaiah 51:11 says, “So the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion; and everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” This sounds to me like God is offering us Supernatural Psychological health and I’m crazy enough to believe this kind of promise has outrageous ramifications for any of us willing to take a dive into the deep end!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hubble and Horton

Inestimable, immeasurable, incalculable, fathomless, infinite, inexhaustible, unbounded, limitless; and these are just the descriptors of the universe! What of the God Who made it?

I just read another cosmologist reflection of Hubble’s recent photography who said, “Wow! I don’t get it….we’re dust mites in the bigger scheme of things...” He (or she) went on to say something like this; if pre-Copernicus thinking was drearily limited on the inside of all that we were, how many ways can this view of the infinite universe change us now? (Here’s that link: )

Before Copernicus we surmised the sun was out there to serve us by revolving around the earth. That view built into human reasoning a shrunken and withered estimate of God and us. Now we know there are trillions of suns and not one of them gives a centimeter of revolving response to the earth. To me, this does not diminish the earth, indeed, it expands our existence and upgrades every possible vision of God.

When Horton heard a Who, his community laughed him to scorn. But dear old Horton could not un-hear what he had heard as surely as we can not un-see what Hubble has seen! If you will…Hubble has seen a Who… and I love how that freaks me out!

Who to you….BOO!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jesus Versus Christian Terrorists

“Christian Militia” is what the news media is calling it. I call it Christian terrorists. You might want to duck because I’m about to go after something that needs to be spoken to and it needs to be spoken to rather directly.

After September 11, 2001, I waited for something for which I am still waiting. I wanted to hear a clarion, passionate, piercing and powerful Islamic Clerical voice speak out, consistently and intentionally drawing the proverbial dark line for all the world to see explaining this hideous act of terrorism of that dreadful day did not represent Islam. Yes, I have heard an occasional and respected Muslim leader denounce terrorism, and for that, I am thankful. It just seems to me that Islam has yet to find a true voice to represent itself clearly, at least, in the western world.

But that is not my point. My point here is to step up to my own platform and be a clarion, passionate, piercing and powerful Christian pastoral voice to speak out consistently and intentionally to draw a proverbial dark line for all the world to see explaining that armed militias, cults and even angry noisy churches do not represent authentic Christianity.

I want to take that a step further. Here’s the part where you might want to duck. Matthew 5:21-26 proposes some rather interesting values which we all would do well to revisit at this particular period of history. In these words of Jesus’ Inaugural Kingdom Sermon, we are challenged to go far beyond the rules of the Law.

The Law says, “You shall not commit murder”, but Jesus says, (my paraphrase) “You shall not be people of the minimum requirement. I want to take you where humankind once walked with God in the cool of the day. I have come to fulfill the Law with blazing, living hearts of real love. Your indicator of how this New Heart is functioning will be listening to yourself. The mere utterance from your voice of degrading another human with a dismissive wag of, ‘…you fool…’ will, in My Domain, shout to you that your heart is not yet living supernaturally. Indeed, to hear yourself speak in that tone will, in My Domain, strike you as if you had pointed a gun at someone and coldly pulled the trigger.”

Christian Militias are the direct result of hearts separated from Heaven by slow and infinitesimal steps away from Heaven through angry unforgiving internal realities tolerated in the name of righteous and holy living. The Christian Militia folks being searched for and arrested today did not start with guns and bombs; they started with words formed in cold dead hearts. The current angry and curt tone of some Christian voices addressing political debates is where Christian terrorists are born.

In a time, not that long ago, when laws in America promoted the marginalization of a race of people, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped into the national stage and shouted, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word on reality.” This came from a man whose home was bombed, his body scared and his life routinely threatened. He prevailed because his heart was supernaturally connected to The Domain of Heaven and his voice spoke love’s supremacy over hate.

I hear Christians suggesting today that “big government” is stealing our freedoms. Really? Where is the “big government” today that once banned a black child from drinking from the same water fountain as a white child? I propose to you that a young southern preacher crushed that “big government” under his feet with a message of “unarmed truth and unconditional love”.

True Christianity is not angry, much less, violent. True Christianity bears no weapon for revolution other than outrageous faith that all weapons are destined for the blacksmith’s fire for transformation to agricultural benefit (Micah 4:3). True Christianity believes in a God whose desire and actions are capable of ordering a luxurious catered buffet for a productive (and even spirited!) discussion with our most contrary political enemies (Psalm 23:5). True Christianity does not believe in threats, veiled or otherwise. Since true Christianity is not afraid of terror, it knows terror is a bankrupt bargaining tool, never to be brandished in our hands. Indeed, true Christianity has ONLY the Kingdom of God at our hands for the healing of all, up to and concluding in, the healing of the nations.

I read a commentary, not long ago, where in the midst of hand wringing over America’s current political climate, this person intoned, “It’s too late to talk but too early to shoot”. I felt suddenly inclined to run! I wanted to run like someone seeking distance from guilt by association to a crime. Why? Because, according to Jesus, words are indicators of hearts, either steeping in heaven’s bounty or marinating in hell’s vicious cruelty. I simply did not want to risk that writer’s venom near my heart.

I am simply one voice. The word, “Christian” and “militia” are completely incompatible. Additionally, I commit my voice to be given only to loosing love and forgiveness for even my most vocal political enemy.

Church….it is TIME to RE-present Christ. What we need is hearts and internal realities ignited from on high with the insuperable, undefeatable, transcendent supremacy of the Kingdom of God!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wind Up Alarm Clocks and Dragons

Like many little boys, I took more than my fair share of risks. Ore boats in dock in Milwaukee were giant invitations to explore. An abandoned zoo had way too many caves and enclosures to ignore. Railroad yards were veritable gold mines of scrap metal and enormous chunks of metal just laying around begging for my attention.

On the less risky side of this equation I came into the possession of a couple of old style wind-up alarm clocks. The kind you might have seen in cartoons that have the big bells on top. I was fascinated by the sheer raw power of these mechanical puzzles. So, like any 10 year old boy, I took one of them completely apart so I could see for myself what made it tick!

At the heart of this clock was the main-spring. Isn’t it interesting today how we strive to have self contained, self powered machines that require little or no outside energy source and long ago we had alarms that needed no batteries, no plug in, no solar panel…just wind it up and listen to it tick. Anyway, I made the mistake of pulling that wind up spring out off of the frame…

What happened next was the spring sprung! It flashed wildly out of control and into uselessness. I tried in vain for hours to pull that spring back into its place. That clock became spare parts.

On to clock number two. This time I knew better than to take the spring off of the frame. This time I simply played with all the other parts and when I was done, I put it back together…my curiosity satisfied. From then on I would watch and listen to that clock and internally imagine all the parts cooperating.

I see Christianity today badly in need of brave little boys and girls who will open it up and explore. I’m not talking about exploring new kinds of church services and inventing catchy new phrases and trendy new slogans. Cleaning the decks and painting the walls of the Titanic would have provided the ocean floor with clean decks and freshly painted walls.

I’m talking about real exploration of truth. I’m talking about brave excursions into fresh revelation for the purposes of rediscovering God, Jesus and the Spirit. And, YES, I know that certain things are like that first main spring that should never be tampered with or you’ll have a pile of useless curled up metal laying on the floor.

But I believe this Easter season is a grand time for some risky adventures in faith exploration. Christianity was not born in a stale library but in a cold tomb when the Holy Spirit said, “Pssst…hey Jesus….wake up….let’s rock the universe with New Creation”.

There is still a 12 year old little boy inside me wanting to know what’s on the other side of that rusty door. In ancient times when map designers drew as far as they knew to draw, they wrote the words at the edge of the unknown, “Here Be Dragons”. It was supposed to stop sailors from going off into the fatality of the undiscovered. What they didn’t count on was the likes of explorers who were egged on to go see dragons, at worst, but at best, to discover the New World.

I don’t believe that Jesus was risen from the dead so that we could have better church services and hide eggs that we won’t find until they start stinking in a month or so. I think Jesus’ resurrection was for the explosive beginning of a new creation. I think Jesus blitzed the power of darkness and released a New Genesis that has yet to be significantly touched or experienced.

Jesus routed the Lord of the Dragons and invites us to slay all lesser beasts. We have nothing to fear but our own laziness rooted in western arrogance which suggests there are no more reformations needed. Stay where you are and you’ll keep what you’ve always had. Arise and reach for what you’ve never known before and you’ll grow beyond your wildest dreams!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Get a Life... An Abundant Life

In too many ways to count or give an adequate discussion here, Christianity has become this… thing, a system or even a world view. I know the tired adage, “…it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship”…but even that has become a thing we do and a system we manage. It’s one of the ways too many of us have manipulated conversations into a “witness”. Some poor unsuspecting soul might say to us, “I’m not a religious person” and all of our evangelism training snaps to attention and our mouth parrots the aforementioned phrase … yawn…

Jesus promised life… that’s our witness… being truly ALIVE! One version of that promise says, “…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance -to the full, till it overflows” (John 10:10). While this is a popular verse to quote, preach and sermonize from, I’m not so sure we are actually living from it as it was truly intended. Jesus promised life! He is saying, “While you are alive, get a life…abundant, dynamic, animated, actualized, vibrant, radiant, happy, healthy, contented, cheerful, satisfied and even exciting.”

He also warned that there is a thief out there stealing, killing and destroying. It seems to me that this boils down to two options: Be alive or be dead. And here I do not mean in the shallow sense of “when you die, do you know if you are going to heaven or hell?” I mean, if you keep dragging air into your lungs, consuming calories and continue to occupy space on this planet are you living and contributing life back out of your consumption of these free-bees? Otherwise, it seems to me, you are offering yourself as a contribution to the thief…a reason for the thief to pursue his stealing, killing and destroying.

Being truly alive means being known for living, being, doing and making others alive as a result. Yet, how many Christians are more known for what they do not do or believe as opposed to what they really are? Living means actualizing the world around us with the energy to create and think. Too often we’ve allowed ourselves to be trapped in the noise of being against others, opposed to their lifestyles, not in favor of a list of laws and governing policies, in a snit about devalued world views and victimized by our perceived or real loss of influence on society. Is that abundant living? NO!

Abundant life is creative in the face of decaying imaginations. Abundant life is solution oriented as opposed to sniveling about problems. Abundant life prophesies answers and never prays the problem. Abundant life plays and prays. Abundant life even plays when it prays and prays when it is playing. Abundant life loves when love is completely unexpected. Abundant life loves love because love never fails.

Abundant life longs for change, longs for a fresh idea, longs for a new sound, longs for the reach of a new day. Life has no room for the shrunken notion of disgust with the past because life knows that the past was once the future. Life celebrates the past while courageous enough to stretch for a completely new day. Yet, while all of this is true, life lives now, not in yesterday, not in tomorrow. Today, this moment, is when life matters.

So get a life… and get it NOW.