Are you following Jesus or having Jesus follow You?

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It’s a simple question.  Either you are [A] leaving stuff of your behind to follow Jesus like the people in the Bible, or [B} you are leaving Jesus stuff behind to have Jesus follow you.  “B” has become a really popular choice in my faith circles… that makes me feel better because I spent (spend?) a lot of time doing that too.  It’s easy really: you go about your plans and your dreams and your life, seeking to raise your status your profile your accomplishments and desires AND you do this while praying deeply and “seeking” Jesus, studying Scripture and so forth…  It’s like being in a two person boat and saying, “Jesus you paddle for me and I’ll steer.”  “Lord, I can’t do this without you, I need you in my life…if I’m ever to get that awesome Brownstone condo in Park Slope.” Continue reading

Why I debate with people about God (and why I sometimes shouldn’t)

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I absolutely 100% believe that if someone honestly wants to know God, or wants to know whether God exists, or anything along those lines…that He gives us enough information to know for sure, and actually guides us through the process of finding out the truth.  So when Christians or non-Christians bring up questions about God that I’m familiar with, I just dive in…  The truth is out there, and it’s often closer than you think.  You know the game 5-degrees to Kevin Bacon?  I think it’s really only one or two steps, for even the most distant person to connect to God… just one or two things that need to be seen or understood or to learn.  “Well,smarty pants, if it’s so simple, then why doesn’t everyone believe in God?” Continue reading

Most things are about this…

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If life is like a journey, then what it is a journey towards?  For many New Yorkers it’s a journey towards greater wealth, greater opportunities (which often means more opportunities to make and spend money), greater satisfaction, greater personal power or success.  But for Jesus-people who’ve opted out of these things, they’re on a different track: if life’s a journey, it’s a journey toward Sanctification.  The reason I point this out is, for people who’s life is a journey toward wealth or power, they think getting more of these things means happiness…  But Jesus-people believe that the happiness that comes from more wealth and power is fleeting – it wears off as soon as you imagine it’s possible to get more…  Instead they believe that happiness comes from greater sanctification.  Being more like Jesus will make their relationships better.  Being more like Jesus will make their work better.  Being more like Jesus will make everything better… So HOW do we get this? Continue reading

More than just code-shifting…

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Sorry for the lack of posts lately!  I’m grateful that through the magic of the inter-webs we have a voice that reaches beyond our little church here in NY.    And I’m humbled that these silly posts can be enlightening and encouraging to anyone.  God gives each of us special perspectives of His Grace and His work, so we all benefit when we learn from one another’s insights…

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Why your Spiritual Gifts aren’t making a difference…

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If you’re a believer and you’ve been reading up on the Spiritual Gifts posts, and you’ve even started to identify gifts – you’re ahead of the curve!  So you start using your gifts, gifts of teaching, worship, counseling, or something else…in full faith that God is going to do great things, but everything you do seems to fizzle out.  Now be honest with yourself here.  God doesn’t send the Holy Spirit so that you can get “kinda’ neat” gifts that fizzle out in the real world.  The whole idea was that, in some small but powerful ways, you will start to change the world with your God-powered gifts…  So what happened?  Why isn’t it working?  Why can’t I knock this ball out of the park?  Maybe you have on one or two occasions, but now it’s not working and you’re wondering why… Here’s why: Continue reading

Emotional blackmail

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“If you break up with me I’m going to die!” is a clear example of emotional blackmail.  The idea is: I’m going to FORCE you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do …by inflicting guilt, or putting you in a situation where you look like the bad person.  It’s the jilted boyfriend or girlfriend who says to someone who wants to break up, “how can you do this to me?  After all the time we’ve been together?” In other words, you’d be a horrible person to do this after leading me on.  It’s the parent that says, “I will never be happy again unless you do this…”  It’s the same with the child who holds his breath or refuses to eat unless he gets his way.  I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced this at some point, and anyone who’s ever loved anything has probably dabbled in trying to control others this way…  Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because people sometimes think this is what God is trying to do: “look I DIED for you, and this is how you treat me?  How can I ever be happy when YOU do sinful stuff like that?”  Some people who grew up in churches even “like” that feeling; someone once told me, “a good sermon is supposed to stab you with that pang of guilt.”  But this is NOT what God does, and here’s why… Continue reading

Why I’m thankful for Hurricane Sandy

[By the way – we ARE meeting Sunday, so come and share your stories and your thoughts!]

If Katrina taught us anything it’s that the post-storm problems are bigger than the storm itself.  That’s true in NY.  New York has never been hit so hard by a storm.  There are many in the Bronx and Brooklyn and Queens who really have no way of accessing clean water, food, supplies, and electricity.  Lower Manhattan residents have to hike a couple of miles to get these things while subways are still off line in many areas.  On top of that many people lost homes.  A few dozen have lost their lives.  If your neighborhood was less affected, then it’s easy to overlook, this really was a bad storm.  BUT…I’m still really really thankful.  Here are three quick reasons why…

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Your feelings are not Jesus…

In a “me” centered world, it would make sense that God would speak through my feelings…  When I’m on the right track I’d feel good and confident and warm and bubbly; when I am on the wrong track I would feel tired and disappointed and struggle.  In a “me” centered world this would be the only way that made sense.  It wouldn’t make sense for me to ever feel “bad” when I’m going in the right direction, and it wouldn’t make sense for God to ask me to do something I really don’t want to do: “God why did you make me this way if you are only going to ask me to do THAT?  Why not make me in such a way so that I’d want to do THAT, rather than run from it?”  Yes, if the world revolved around me then this could be the only kind of logic I would need.   Continue reading

Being faithful with small things…

“He told them about how at Oxford he had refused to play basketball on a Sunday, even though it was the national championships, because he had promised God he wouldn’t; and how much pressure his coach and teammates had put on him to compromise just that one time.  Later, he realized that if he had said yes that time he would have had no standing to say no another time, and what he learned–was that it was easier to do the right thing a hundred per cent of the time than ninety eight per cent of the time.” — New Yorker article, When Giants Fail, on Clayton Christensen the author of “the Innovator’s Dilemma.” Continue reading