The perfect time to walk the walk and talk the talk

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Hey Jesus, will you be attending tomorrow’s media focus meeting?  We have a few issues needing your input.  No biggie if you can’t – we are well-versed (guffaw!) in what needs to be done – but might be nice if you showed your face to the troops on the ground … the personal touch always makes a difference.

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Here in the UK we are in the middle of the latest election campaign.  All the main parties are making all the usual pledges and plans and “promises”.  All of which may or may not be acted upon come the result and the future “plans, pledges and promises” once the dust settles.

I remember the amazement when Trump acted upon the pre-election rhetoric of “The Wall”.  WOW!  A politician who’s actually doing what he said he would do!  Revolutionary!

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And that other conversation – if Jesus was around today would he be using social media to get the message out?  Would he – like Trump – spend his evenings/early mornings not in prayer, but in twitting.  Firing out policy and process to a global audience well-trained to salivate at each bunch of limited characters.  An audience trained to applaud or puke.  But whatever your response – we’re all are in awe of “the reach”!  The numbers.  The size of the audience.  The absence of anonymity.  Of our inability to ignore the man and his pronouncements.

God would had to have had some of that (we say with envy)!

Make disciples of all nations?

Jesus would have done that in a heartbeat if we had twitter back then!  Imagine all the Insta feeds!  All those “little children” pics and storyline!  That would have got the message out ….  Instead of the dusty peeps we would have the techno peeps!  All heads-down with micro-targeting!  Bringing the message in just the right way to just the right people!  Just like pyramid-selling … One disciple makes XXX believers … XXX believers make XX disciples … makes XXXX believers … makes XXX disciples makes …

Numbers are so much easier to work with than all that “campaign-trail-anecdotal-stuff” (we call the Gospels today).

I am not so convinced Jesus would have.

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My reasoning?

If the Son of God picked the perfect time to walk the walk, talk the talk, and be The Man amongst his creations … why then? Why not now?

Why NOT hold back the eternity of infinity for another 2000 years – a mere drop in the ocean of time that is eternity?  Why then when even “reading and writing” was a biggie … when even carrier pigeons hadn’t been invented … when civil rights – human rights – were not on the agenda … when social housing and social equality – inclusion and inclusivity – were not even a pipe-dream …

Why THEN?

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If that was the perfect time – then I accept that was the perfect time.

Which implies big numbers … big data … global reach … all that “Great Commission” logistics “stuff” run by money even today … perhaps that is not “it”.

Perhaps it’s not “how many I bring” to Him.  Perhaps it’s something else.

Perhaps it’s all about me – who I am – what I am – who I have become – who I can become – who I choose to be – what I choose to be.  Perhaps my one insignificant drop in this vast ocean of humanity (over all eternity) does matter.

Perhaps I am the reason for all of this.

Not in what I tweet, not in what I preach, not in how many I bring (or don’t) … but in MY journey – MY choices – MY decisions – MY relationships – MY living and MY loving.

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Because the “campaign trail” notes (we call the Gospels) that I read are not about global reach – but about those who sought-out (rather than those who were sought-after).

So I question whether Jesus today would reach for his smartphone in the dead of night and fire off some “global reach” message.  I think we would find him as we journeyed our own lives one day at a time – one bumping into one someone at a time.  And come to think about …

That’s pretty much how it still happens today.

(isn’t it?)

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The Great Awakening

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Whoaah!  Where am I – what am I – who am I … ?

Relax Paul.  You are here with me.

Where … who .. . why …

What you call “dead”.  What I call “alive”.

Dead … heaven … me … ?

If you like.  Definitions and labels are so cumbersome I find.

So you are … “God” … ?

As I said I find definitions and labels cumbersome.  But for the sake of your well-being – yes I am God.  Welcome to heaven.  Can I get you anything … glass of champagne … warm towel for your face … a phone call to your wife … ?

Later God – later …

Paul you are a naughty boy!  All that “love without condition”.  You really were breaking as many rules as you could your lay your hands on weren’t you?  All my commandments in the bible.  All those certain words I need you to say.  All that “biblically correct” teaching I needed from you – and which you turned away from.  All that worshiping and praising you never did to my expectation or rules.  All that not gathering together inside a great big church building that you should have done.  AND all that never tithing or giving much to the building of church at all.

You shouldn’t really be here.

You never believed in me correctly at all.

So is this like a departure lounge –

I either turn left to first class or am told to turn right to economy with an eternity of gnashing my teeth and hellish companions?

Sigh … … 

I have to say that that is one the most common responses I get at this point. 

This bible you all waved in each other’s faces – this “inerrant and infallible” lump of dung you elevated to idolatry – this “scripturally correct” paper and print you all bleated on about …

Wow!

“Wow”?

Wow, Paul.  Like as in how come you missed the point?  Like how come you preferred all that crap?  As in what is the point of any of all of that?  Or, Paul, to put it another way:

How come YOU thought it was okay to love without condition when you shouldn’t have?

How come you thought I loved without condition when I don’t? 

How come you thought it was “correct” to take just one bit and make it your “all”?  To take “love” and make it your guide to me? 

How dare you be so bold – how dare you ignore all that other stuff about not doing this and not doing that – how dare you assume that everyone is loved without condition without ANY (or all) of this “right belief” and “believer stuff”?  How dare you think all that is NOT the required for entry into heaven? 

Why did you even dare to believe that I did NOT impose or expect ANY of that … ?

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God you crack me up!

YOU are EXACTLY who I thought YOU are!

🙂 🙂 🙂 

Well thank you my son. 

But I ask only one thing … That you tread lightly here. 

There are many here who think they earned their way in.  Just as there are many who think they earned their way in by NOT believing in me.  And there are some like you.  A few.  Who never thought it was about earning anything at all. 

Give them time, Paul.

Each has all eternity to eventually “get it” for themselves.

Thanks, God …

Now about that champagne your mentioned …

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I love Jesus but I want to die

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Are not words I hear here …

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I love Jesus but I want to die:
what you need to know about suicide”

 

Sarah of “beautifulbeyond” writes words every church should hear – that every church should read.  The full post is here please read it – please hear her words.  

and here is why …

“I remember my colleagues’ faces as my words sunk in. They had never heard what it’s like to be suicidal and they started to understand, at least a little. And I’m reminded how little the church knows about depression and suicide.

We are called to be the light of the world, a refuge for the broken and weary. But if we don’t understand the darkness people endure, it’s much less likely we’ll reach them in it. So here are some things every Christian should know about suicide and depression … “

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“In 2013, a Lifeway Research study found that nearly 50% of evangelicals believe that prayer and Bible study alone can conquer serious mental illness. Unfortunately, this mistaken belief prevents people from seeking the help they need.

I know this firsthand. No matter how many times I recited verses, asked for healing, and did all the other things I was supposed to do, I still had an illness. I wasn’t miraculously healed.”

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The disease lies. When healing doesn’t come, it’s easy to believe that God has left. And if we’ve been taught that depression and suicidal thoughts are sinful, selfish, or displeasing to God, we may believe he’s right in abandoning us.”

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“This is why we need to treat depression and suicide with the same compassion we treat other serious health issues. Kindness and encouragement from other believers are rich and powerful; they prove the presence of God and demonstrate his unshakeable love.”

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Sarah writes of hope and healing.  Sarah writes with knowing.  She bares herself with great courage – the courage of love … so that you and I might connect with those who can’t … love better those who desire love and hope … and embrace those the Lord deems us ready to embrace.

Because Sarah’s reality is this …

We pretend.  We avoid those who make us confront our own pretending.

We need Sarah’s words because we have been taught to pretend.

That we cannot let Him (or ourselves) down.  That in our church no one is “that” depressed … In our church no one would ever be that bad because we would know.

We pretend.  We pretend we would know.  And in the pretending we pass by on the other side never realising we have.

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So often, all it takes to save a life is being Jesus to us – being present, being loving, and being light. Christ is “in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). You don’t need answers or to be able to fix it. You just need to be present, perhaps help set the doctor’s appointment or just listen. Just be aware of those hurting. Just be kind.

Depressed and suicidal people just need you to enter the dark and sit there with us, your love unchanged. You could be his arms to hold us, his hands to feed us, his voice to tell us we’re not alone. Your love and kindness are more powerful than you know.”

 

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Sarah shared this post in an email and closed her email with a PS …

“P.S. This may be the most important thing I’ve ever written – it’s certainly the most honest. It would mean the world to me if you would take a few moments to read and share this article.”

The Lord deemed me ready to embrace Sarah’s words.

I know you are as well.  So why not let Sarah know?

Thank you.

Paul

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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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My letter to my addiction

NEWSFLASH: I will be “still human” my whole life.
“I cannot – so you must not”

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This morning I found writing pouring out on that same theme. Because I am finding I can embrace that – I want to embrace that – I am beginning to think we must all embrace that. And I think that Christians are those in most urgent need.

Christians who are taught that they die to self. That they have been reborn. That they are in this world but of not of this world (anymore). Christians who might be said to believe that being human is a sin. Christians who have so many religious traditions which reinforce the sin AND excuse the sin of “being human”.

I am curious – what is your response to my letter to my addiction?

Thank you

Paul

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Just me being curious

Inspired by Melissa Presser’s –God in in your typewriter– post today:
My letter to your addiction

Here is my letter to my addiction …

😦  😦  😦  😦  😦  😦  😦  😦

Dear Other Me –

We don’t get along, and I guess we never will. I don’t really want you to go away, and you don’t care what I want.  So I try to keep you hidden, and you fight me every inch of the way. You refuse to listen, so I give up telling.

We have a relationship based on need – and no matter how much I talk about love and no need – you are there.  Needing me to need you.  And I do need you.

Your face changes.  Your tastes change.  Your cost changes.  Because you always have a cost.  And I always pay.  So let’s admit the cost of you in…

View original post 637 more words

I cannot – so you must not

I get cross when I see some godly writings. I think those who run godly organisations should listen to this little rant.

First here is the gunpowder:

Something to think and pray about this week

Humility gives us the sacred gift of being able to learn from everyone. It gives us the ability to take advice from any person who gives it, not just the brilliant or the holy or the great, but from the simple and the ignorant and from those who may be far below our own position or station in life. It gives us the power to imitate Christ himself, who learned from Peter how to catch fish, and from Joseph how to make tables, and from Mary how to eat. It gives us the power to learn, even from those who do not appeal to us at all, whom we may not like very much.

The humble person knows he doesn’t know all things, knows that good advice, no matter what the source, is a rare gift, a gift that helps develop the wonder of self-knowledge. Very often, it is from people we may not like very much, or from people who are a little nasty and mean, that we learn how deep our pride is in reality and how far we still have to go before we have reached any real degree of humility. For such people will tell us what they think of us, will give us advice without bothering to be nice about it, will show us quite brilliantly and quite cuttingly, too, by the way, how proud we really are.

Real humility will give us the power to accept such words, and though they may hurt because we are still human, we will be able to take them and because of them grow even closer to Christ.”
– Excerpted from “With God in America” by Walter Ciszek, compiled and edited by John M. DeJak and Marc Lindeijer, S.J.

Now the fuse: “Very often, it is from people we may not like very much, or from people who are a little nasty and mean, that we learn how deep our pride is in reality and how far we still have to go before we have reached any real degree of humility. “

Now the match: “It gives us the ability to take advice from any person who gives it, not just the brilliant or the holy or the great, but from the simple and the ignorant and from those who may be far below our own position or station in life. It gives us the power to imitate Christ himself, who learned from Peter how to catch fish, and from Joseph how to make tables, and from Mary how to eat. It gives us the power to learn, even from those who do not appeal to us at all, whom we may not like very much.”

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Grrrrrrrrr …. !!!!

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The God Soft Hands Jesus I know doesn’t look at you and me and see one He does not like (very much) – does not see you and me as nasty and mean (a little) – does not see how proud we are (really).  He has no time for conditional measures.  He accepts imperfect as perfect.  He loves me.  As.  I.  Am.

Yet here we have a godly writing telling us we are not good enough.  A godly writing telling us to measure “it”.  Telling us to measure the “degree” of “it” we have achieved.  To seek to grow closer by measuring “it” to see if “it” is getting bigger.  As big as Christ’s “it”.  And illustrates “it” by saying “it” is okay to “not like” some people, that “it” is okay to find some people “nasty and mean” (a little!).

And the consequence?

Godly folk continue to justify being judgmental – to justify being able to love you “only” this much – to justify being “good Christians” who are close to God  – and who justify labeling (some) people as nasty and mean  – as not likeable – with the godly trump card: “We are just (still) human”.

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NEWSFLASH: I will be “still human” my whole life.

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So just why does the institution of godliness teach everything as an “it” when they also teach that my God Soft Hands Jesus does not look at me as a collection of “it’s”?  Why do they teach that my GSHJ sees me imperfect and yet loves me without condition?  Why do they teach that love without condition cannot measure how much “condition” or “uncondition” … that love is not an “it” to be measured …

And then teach all the “it’s” AND the real biggie (the biggie that godly institutions and good Christians have made exclusively their own):

“We are (still?) human – therefore I cannot (so you must not) love unconditionally.  God says.”

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Grrrrrrrrr …. !!!!

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No number other than one

“Most people want to help make this world a better place but many do not know where to start. I have found that the first place to start is right in my own head.

If I do a good job there, I can work outwards from there and bless others.   This site is a personal blog about the things I need to keep telling myself – not too many things.  Just the simple fact that very little is required to make life happy.

As simple as that sounds, I need to prove it in my mind everyday, time and again.  I do this through my passion for prose, free verses and non-factional opinions.  I do this because the dark valleys of life often slide in unannounced.  Nonetheless, as the saying goes, it is still better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

My joy will multiply if these musings ever help anyone that stumbles on them .”

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I believe in connections.  I believe God Soft Hands Jesus moves across these blogs.  I believe my GSHJ invites me to move in connection.

One simple “like” from a name unknown.  One unexplained sense to have a look.  A landing page post not written for me.  So why this sense it is of He?  To the “About” page to look behind, to taste the sweat of another on a keyboard far away.  And here is why, here is He.  This is why He whispered so quietly in me.

“Most people want to help make this world a better place but many do not know where to start. I have found that the first place to start is right in my own head.”

A better place – yes!  But what can I do? I am only me.  No one listens to me.  I can’t change anything or anyone.  Not really.  Not like I see others change lives.  Not like others have changed me.  Ah well … maybe one day …

“As simple as that sounds, I need to prove it in my mind everyday, time and again.”

A long time ago I watched a video.  The speaker was inspirational.  One of those guru type inspirational speakers.  I have seen a few.  I have even met a few.  And I have thought myself changed. The memory is of this speaker painting a picture.  Of approaching the Pearly Gates and being asked in breathless excitement, “How many did you bring me?”  How many saved souls.  How many lives changed.  “How many did you bring me?”

I looked behind me and saw no one.  And as well as inspired I was unworthy.  I brought no one.  Only me.  And here was this speaker.  He would have thousands behind him.  We all should have thousands behind us.  And I saw no one.  Make disciples.  Preach the Good News.  Save souls from an eternity of separation.  Bring thousands.  It is the clarion call I hear again and again.  Revival.  Mission.  Outreach.  Education.  Junior Church.  Mega Church.  Where did you find God this weekend.  When did you last admit you are a Christian.  Why are not at church each Sunday.  Wait until you become a mature Christian.

And I saw no one.

It took several years for GSHJ to get through my thick skull.  He used others.  He took the direct route.  He never gave up on my giving up.  And slowly – bit by bit – I began to hear.

The biggest gift – the best gift – the ONLY gift I can ever bring … is me.  The only “How many did you bring me?” my God Soft Hands Jesus ever wanted was …

One.

And it took me years to get that.  It took me years for me to get the “why”.  And my getting it – my “why” – is mine alone.

But what I hear Him ask is this.

“Tell them I have no number other than one.  Tell them one is all there ever is.  One is all and all is one.  Forget the big numbers.  Forget the worldly measure of “success”.  Forget the inspiration that tastes good in the mouth yet leaves your stomach sick.  Tell them I do not count and never have.  Tell them I never will.  I will never judge thirty years “service” better than none.  I will never applaud headcount other than one to one.  I will never hold higher one who gave more.  For if you give you – there can never be “more”.  Counting is conditions and conditional love.  That is why I only see one.  Unconditional never compares.  Unconditional love always shares.  Love without condition will never count.  Not more than one in one right now.”

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For all those who think “my blog is not enough” …

One simple “like” from a name unknown.  One unexplained sense to have a look.  And here is why, here is He.  This is why He whispered so quietly in me.

Who is this “name unknown” my GSHJ invited me to … ?  It is –

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AYOKA – Things I should be telling myself

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A sense to connect is yours alone.

All I ask is that you listen and hear without numbers.

That you listen to One.

Thank you –

paulfg