Sin no more

 

Do those who have been saved weigh less than those not?
When I have been knowingly bad do I put on lbs?
Is confession like doing weight watchers?
Is forgiveness having a detox?

 

I was raised on the spiritual food groups.  Bible.  Church.  Sin.  Seems to me, looking back, that is a very frugal diet for a young man with appetites.

 

Do those who have been saved look thinner than those not?
When I have been knowingly bad do I get flabby?
Is confession like doing weight watchers?
Is forgiveness having a detox?

 

I thought love was smiling at everyone.  I thought love was chatting to everyone.  I thought love was something God did to us.  Because I never knew what love was at all.

 

When I was saved did I look heavier before?
When I have been knowingly good am I thin?

 

As I journey I have less and less interest in sin.  Sin bores me.  Sin distracts me.  Sin has become a label for something I no longer understand.  For something I am told I must.

 

Is confession like doing weight watchers?
Is forgiveness having a detox?

 

Sin no more, Jesus said.  Cured and “sin no more”.  And I wonder … What if he meant it?  What if “sin no more” was: sin “no more”?  What if I … sin “no more”?  What if I am free … “of sin”?

 

Confession is good for the soul
But confession of what.
Confession for who?

 

What if we would not let go of sin – just so that we didn’t have to love?
What if:  “You are cured and can only love”, we didn’t get on with?
What if heaven is now, and what if … we chose hell?

 

We seem to want to see a lifetime of suffering.
We seem to wish it upon ourselves.

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You are cured and can sin no more.

Would leave so much more room for love.

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Who makes me uncomfortable?

I have learned that when I fear taking on (add your own pet hate) I miss the point:

a) “fear” has no place in love
b) “taking on” is a win and lose scenario
c) “pet hate” is a roadblock to relationship

The God I know is not of fear – nor of winning and losing – nor of placing roadblocks in my way.

I do that.

e.g.

“taking on the atheists”
“taking on the gays”
“taking on those who do not believe the bible (as they should)”
“the qualified theologians”
“the unchurched”
“the congregation”
“the institution of church”
“the lack of church”
“the homeless”
“the grieving”
“the druggies”
“the prostitutes”
“the criminals”
“the ones who scare me”

The “anyone who makes me uncomfortable (pet hate)”

Because behind every label and category is you and me several choices from now – several choices ago – several choices I couldn’t face – several choices I had to face.

I think that is why I find it easier and easier to follow God Soft Hands Jesus.

He sees me – no matter my label for me (or you).

And THAT is relationship.

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A lesson in “why discipling”

 

There was a Man who provided a service. He was very knowledgeable, very experienced and very connected. He advertised, for how else would anyone know he even existed? He advertised in the places people would look for his services. And one day he received a distressed call. Someone who needed help. Someone let down by another “expert”. Someone who was paying the cost for the expert not being the expert he said he was.

This Man went to see the person in distress. And immediately saw why there was distress. The expert was indeed no expert at all. And the person in distress was right to be distressed. This Man listened to a tale of woe he had heard many times. He advised as he had advised many times. He took photographs as he had many times. But this Man could not make the past different. He could only make the future different. And the person in distress was no longer distressed – he was now angry – the “expert” had been proved to be no expert at all – and to put right the wrong would cost more money. The Man had also heard that anger many times.

The person in ex-distress and now ex-anger thanked the Man, and then set about researching the Man’s credentials – and found them to be good everywhere he looked. The Man indeed seemed to be the expert he claimed. So the job was agreed, and the job was done. By other Men who were indeed skilled at their different jobs. Men who had a pride in doing their different jobs to a very high standard. They were indeed good Men in the image of the Man.

The end.

 

That is a true story. The firm is a real firm. The job was a real job. And the job (done second time around) was to a very high standard.

 

It struck me that “the firm” – each person – was as good as the Man (the boss): each person had a job – each person understood their own job – each person knew the jobs of others and how all the different jobs fitted together. And I learned that each was valued by the boss, and each was necessary to the boss (and each other). Each had the skills, experience, tools and right attitude to do “the job” properly. And the pride in doing a good job was not for my benefit , not for their boss – it just “was” in each.

And the boss was absent a lot of the time. And there were no calls to reassure or enquire. He simply popped in on two occasions over one week. On both occasions his visit was not to impress me, it was to talk to his crew. The entire job was done to the very high standard, to the agreed price (including some details not included in the quote (and not charged either), and to the agreed schedule. All was as promised. And those details along the way … each was agreed as it happened. And that left a great impression.

Each of the crew was entrusted with the authority to change/adapt/amend his own bit without reference to the boss. I think it was because each had the same pride in their bit, and – as importantly – of the whole. Each knew they were part of the whole – and each worked their bit to achieve the whole. That was how they did things – it was that simple for each of them.

 

And – without any of us talking about God or no-God, church or no-church … I was given a fantastic living and real lesson in why disciples and “why discipling”.

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I believe because the bible says so

Beliefs are all.

Beliefs are of the believer and the non-believer is missing out.

We should all be believers – the bible says so – we have the Great Commission to fulfill!

 

When I was one I believed I was the centre of the universe and all were here to serve me.
When I was two I believed I should be the centre of the universe and all should serve me.
When I was three I believed puddles were the best things in the whole world
When I was four I believed I had been abandoned by my parents in a place called school
When I was five I believed football was the best thing in the whole world
When I was six I believed bikes were the best thing in the whole world
When I was seven I believed it was unfair I had to go to bed too early
When I was eight I believed it was unfair that everyone else could do what they wanted
When I was nine I believed I should be able to do what I wanted
When I was ten I believed girls were the scariest creatures in the world
When I was eleven I believed in time travel because I did
When I was twelve I believed that being eighteen was ancient
When I was thirteen I believed I had made it – I was a teenager!
When I was fourteen I believed the world was my oyster: shut tight to keep me out!
When I was fifteen I believed bikes were the best thing in the whole world
When I was sixteen I believed girls were the scariest creatures in the world
When I was seventeen I believed I was nearly an adult
When I was eighteen I believed being an adult wasn’t so different
When I was nineteen I believed girls were the best creatures in the world
When I was twenty I believed rye n dry was the best drink in the whole world
When I was twenty-one I believed I knew everything
When I was twenty-two I believed I knew everything
When I was twenty-three I believed I knew everything
When I was twenty-four I believed I was the luckiest man ever
When I was twenty-five I believed I was the best father ever
When I was twenty-six I believed I was the worst father ever
When I was twenty-seven I believed the world was full of fools
When I was twenty-eight I believed I was one of them

 

As I have grown older I have come to believe that my beliefs will never stop changing unless I do.

And whether that happens whilst I am “still breathing” – or when I am dead (and not breathing) …

Is my choice.


(just like whether I believe being a “good Christian” is important or not)

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We are already connected

Fellowship groups … bible study groups … house groups … Sunday school … groups with one thing at their core: a desire to grow.  To grow … to change … and to journey with others.  Others who will be as vulnerable and as strong as each.  Others who will allow.  Others who will hear.  Others who want to journey.

I have such a group.

I have found myself verbalising with clarity thoughts that were only a confusion before.  I have listened to words I have never heard in church or church groups.  But more than that – I know that when I speak I am being heard by more than just those I see.  For they are hearing their inner voices as they hear my words.  “Inner voices” are part of the conversation.   And as I hear my own inner voice – so their inner voices will resonate with mine – just as mine will with theirs when they speak.

If you have never experienced it, you need a group that has.  Once experienced, it is hard to live without.  Once experienced something changes for ever.

And THAT is why these “groups” (at least for me).  That, for me, is the difference between socialising, fellowship, and discipling.  Discipling (for me) is when “ego isn’t” because “inner voices are”.   A connection of God … love … inner voice … GSHJ … whatever your name and relationship for your inner voice … it is real.

Our group lives in different continents. Physically we have never met.  But my – your – “inner voice” is not bound by geography.  Spiritual connection is not geographic.  We use Skype, a screen, a camera, a microphone, and a headset or speakers (group skype works on computers or laptops – smart phones and tablets, no)

Why this post?

I keep meeting those who struggle, as I do, with “organised religion”.  Those who seek to hear the inner voices of others.  Who seek to connect.  For in that place is power. That place is the power of love.  That is the place of love.  That is the place of change.  And that, for me, is discipling: not change as I imagine or expect change – but change as I cannot imagine and never expect.

And I want to invite you to experience that for yourself.

And you are already connected – you are reading these words and we are reading yours.  And you already have a screen (and you may already have a microphone, camera, headset/speakers, as well as skype).  If you haven’t – skype is free – and the rest is not expensive – ask any teenager.  🙂

But “the kit” is functional.  The kit is “stuff” – the kit is not it.  Connecting with “inner voices” is it – and you already have yours!

So all you need to do is listen to your own inner voice.  Because yours is no different to mine.  Mine seeks connection.  Mine seeks “disciples”.  And yours seeks the same.  I know because I have heard inner voices in others connect with the inner voice in me (and if you don’t know what I mean – ask.  Please – please – ask).

If you have already such a group: spread the word.
If you want a group like this – say so wherever and however you feel guided (and then “listen” because your inner voice will speak).
And if you are scared of “cameras” and being on screen – so are a lot of others (you are not alone).
And if the thought of this makes you nervous – well done.

Connecting has risks – so be picky – be a disciple.  It is a walk of faith.  It is journeying in a place not of geography and not of physical spaces.  It is connecting without distance.

Or why not reblog this post and just tell others you want a group like this.  Or ask others to reblog your reblog and to also say they want this.  Why not all of us get “disorganised discipling” through just connecting with others who want the same.

And the very best bit of all … ?

We are ALL already connected (if we allow).

Feel free to chat – to disagree – to ask – to tell … that is what disciples do!  🙂 

Thank you.

Paul

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A Nickel short and a Day Late

316 words is all this post is. I checked twice. Because in just 316 words, TF brings something profound I rarely hear and see.

We ARE enough!

See what you think 316 words from now …

🙂

Paul

(as always, comments closed here, please add your thoughts under TF’s post – thank you)

Hard Times Ministries

Try as we might, isn’t this really how we come across to other people and in the end we are forced to admit that ‘We are only human’?

And by declaring our humanness we actually build-in an excuse not to be able to perform to perfection.

I have said this time and again:  “Give it all you got and it will be enough.”

Heck:  this may not even be true, but it is enough in terms of what we can do.  The Lord, I believe wants us to give it our all.

Think about:

The times you said too much, yet didn’t really know what to say

The times you really didn’t know what to do

The times when you wish you could have un-done what you did.

The times when all seems insane

The times when you’d wish that God would whisper in your ear for instruction

And the…

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