Confessions of A Sour Face, Part Two

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a certain surface quality that doesn’t immediately endear myself to people. I also mentioned that this bothers me and makes me think of things I need to do to make myself appear more friendly and approachable. But, I realized that this is foolish.

One of the speakers at the Apprentice Gathering Conference that our Community got to participate in led us through an active imagination exercise. She asked us to close our eyes and imagine that there is a figure standing in front of us and when that figure turns around we realize that it is ourselves. This version of ourselves that is in front of us is holding a gift in their hand and begins to hand us the gift.

The problem was, in my imagination, I could never turn around. This version of myself that was supposed to hand me a gift would never turn around. It was very strange. Mind you, I don’t over-spiritualize situations but this was just really odd. It is my imagination, why would it be blocked from showing me myself and what was in my hand?

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Move to the following Sunday in my own church’s service. The sermon is over and the ritual that our church follows is a song is sung and people are given a chance to respond to the message.  During these times, sometimes I pray, sometimes I am silent, and sometimes I sing. This time, I bowed my head and closed my eyes. What did I see? I saw Christ handing me a gift!

I am not trying to be cute or trying to be dramatic or trying to be overly spiritual, this is what I saw.

What does it mean?

Remember that I went into the Gathering in Wichita discussing with some friends how I get frustrated by how people respond to me and often have a negative reaction. As the week went along and I had moments with God to reflect on these things and got to listen to strong teaching on struggle and forgiveness I started to realize something. God has made me how I am for a purpose and he wants to use who and how I am for his glory. I didn’t need to get in touch with myself to understand this, I needed to get in touch with Christ. Whatever gift my imaginary self was wanting to give me was not what I needed to receive. What I needed to receive was the gift of Christ and all that he has to offer. That is where I will find fulfillment, understanding, love, acceptance, and purpose.

I may have a sour face but Christ needs to use me the way that I am and that was a rich lesson to learn. I don’t need other’s approval and admiration. God will provide what I need and when I need it. I can quit trying to fix my face and keep working, with Christ’s transformation, on my heart. Then I will be the Christ that only I can be.

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You Are Spiritual Whether You Want To Be Or Not

Everyone has a spiritual life. From Donald Trump to a child in the slums of India, we all have unbodily personal power to choose, feel, think, and run our life.

This idea that being spiritual is a description of being disconnected from reality or a little out there is just wrong.

Dallas Willard says that “we are destined for a time when our life will be entirely sustained from spiritual realities and no longer dependent in any way upon the physical.”

If this is true, don’t you think we ought to start working on our spiritual life now? If we don’t acknowledge, nurture, or prepare our spirit now, we will be ill equipped for our unceasing spiritual lives to come. The most spiritual people you know are not the ones who are most willing to read their Bible or attend church, but the men and women who operate out of a power that most resembles the existence, mindset, compassion, and actions of Christ; our spiritual Lord and King.

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Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the words of Jesus:

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

According to this passage, our spiritual life is essential to us entering the kingdom of God. Our spirit must be birthed from the Spirit of God. And, the spiritual is not something that can be measured or tracked like the wind can, it must be experienced personally.

When you hear people like me going on and on about the spiritual life, know that we are not discussing something that is beyond the scope of the words of Jesus or the very heart of scripture. You are a spiritual being that is inhabiting the physical and, if you are a follower of Christ, a spiritual kingdom that requires you to spiritually Grow Up.

photo credit: Michael Foley

One Thing

What is your one thing?

I have thought a lot about what this blog’s one thing should be. What is one message that I would like to get across to whoever happens to find my blog?

I am not a theologian so I would fail if I tried to argue doctrine and the like. I am not a social activist so I would be misguided if I blogged about social issues. And I am not a counselor so I could be dangerous if I constantly spouted advice.

What I am is a normal guy with a normal life who happened to have his life turned upside down by Jesus Christ. I don’t possess any unique skills or have any huge insight but I do long for other normal people who are yearning for a deeper relationship with Jesus to experience what I have experienced. You don’t have to be super spiritual, weird, or withdrawn to transform your life, you just have to be willing to let Christ transform you from the insight out.

My one thing is making growth in Christian spirituality a doable thing for people who think that it is beyond them. You do not have to be constantly frustrated in your spiritual life. Progress is feasible and incredibly rewarding. Christ wants to work on you where you are and what you are dealing with. Your faith does not have to look like your pastor’s, your parent’s, or your Bible Study teacher’s. If it did, you would not be the person you truly need to be.

Join me in discovering a new life that you have always thought was possible but considered out of reach. I can show you a few small things that I have learned that make a huge difference.

This is my one thing.