My take on the “wages of sin”

So I have found that it’s much more difficult for me to post when the weather gets nice. Between yard work and baseball and wanting to spend more time outside, it’s been harder to sit down and write a post.
This week I found some inspiration, I was speaking to a friend of mine and she said something like, you know back when you use to sin! I just started grinning, laughing on the inside, when I use to sin, hell I sin every day! It’s that on good days the sins are different than you might think. I have had this thought in the last few months, I have this idea of “soft sins” or the small sins we tend to over look, the big boy sins tend to take care of themselves don’t they, usually if they made the top ten list, you must deal with them, they will force you to, one way or another.
It’s those small buggers we tend to miss; they’re the ones that do the most damage?
You know the ones like being passive aggressive, or with holding love because you are pissed off, or judging yourself or others. Usually the way you treat others is how you feel about yourself on the inside.
So when I use to sin, like today, or every day. I know what my friend meant; we were talking about how I am working with my kids to make sure the first comment out our mouths is a positive one, unlike the usual negative ones we start with! The interesting part is that I now realize that they got that habit from me, I had help, but it starts right here, at the top (lol, its Fathers Day, so I will pretend i am at the top of the heap here at home).
So of course my friend thinks I am better than I really am, we are all works in progress, not works of perfection, but I do try, sometimes I don’t get very far, do I do try to make my life and those around me a better place!
To me sin is missing the mark, like an archer misses the bulls-eye, but we are still on track. God doesn’t keep score, ever! Most of the time I think the bigger problem is that we keep score for ourselves and for others! It’s not your job EVER!
So free yourself, and others, sin is missing the mark- when we choose to move out of God’s grace, God never moves away from us, EVER!
God is always there broadcasting the same message to the world- Grace-Peace-Love- Forgiveness-Joy.
If that’s not what you see at least some of the time, you need to get the corrosion knocked off your receptors. Remember in the beginning, this Jesus movement was called the good news, if it doesn’t feel that way to you; you need to do some internal cleaning!
Peace, love, joy to you.
I have a game of backyard football to get to!

Audio from 6-21-15

My online response to why Christianity is loosing ground in the US.

Here my response to a article on-line to why American’s are leaving Christianity:

Most people get just enough religion to make them miserable, but not enough to show them a way to God.
I read many of the posts here, most of them might be true as to why many have left the “church.” We lost the mystery and awe that God can show us, we have everything, including God in a box.

S\he is energy(spirit) s\he can’t be contained in box.
Modern man, and I use the term loosely, have to make things fit, that’s what we are taught in school, we have scientific minds now. We have to be right because someone else has to be wrong…
God is more nuanced that that, there is beauty all around us if you can learn to see it.

Many\most people read the Bible as a literal book, but its much more than that, its not a history book either, but some how it describes the human condition very well, even 2100 years later. Literalism is not wrong, its just the lowest form of understanding. Literalist get caught up with the law, they quote a verse out of context and usually use it to hurt someone else or make themselves look good. Jesus saw a different God, not a law God, but a God of love.

The problem is Jesus was not a law guy at all, he was a love guy. Tough to build a religion on that, and the Catholic’s did what people do, they humanized it, and drug it to our human level. They have had a lot of help over the last several hundred years from a lot of different religions.

Why so many Christian religions now?

Our thought process has changed drastically over the last several hundred years to a scientific mind, we have to prove things , explain things, we have to “right” all the time. Where people of centuries past would be ok “not having to understand” everything, and I mean everything, in our modern minds we have to “prove” everything “all” the time. Somebody, thing or idea has to be “right” and by our definition – then somebody, thing or idea has to be “wrong.” If your not in exact agreement with them over a few ideas, “they” must be wrong, start a new Christian Religion.

God doesn’t work like that.
Seems to me science points to the unknown(God), more and more every day. Read about quantum physics or string theory. They find we know less and less all the time.
Isn’t  it wonderful.

We need to learn to sit with the unknown, revel in the mystery of it all, learn to see with new eyes. Know that we don’t know everything, and probably aren’t meant to, ever.
If you can dig a little deeper, sit with the unknowable, see with new eyes, its a marvelous adventure.

Peace

Let God back in, or turn the receptors back on!

So I was talking to guy I know through work , I really don’t know him well at all, but he is a good guy. We don’t get to talk that that often, but we had some time this week to get to know each other.

In the course of that conversation we got around to how I preach 3 Sundays a month. It always amazes me how that almost  always changes the conversation, usually for the better. I never know what I am going to get into, I guess that’s one of the joys in life, the surprise of it all.

So back to the conversation, he starts off by telling me of all the “things” he has , RV, motorcycle, boat, snow machine, etc. Also all the vacations he and his wife have been on, they have been blessed to see much of the country and the world!

I have to admit part of me was\is jealous of the life they get to live, and God Bless them they have earned it! On the other hand I was struck by emptiness of it all, I played that game for a long time myself, and truthfully I still struggle with how to be “of this world and not in it.” Sometimes I do it better than others, right now I am struggling with that part of me- quite a bit if truth be told.  That’s called Hell by the way. When you move away from God Grace, and make no mistake- we do it to ourselves.

When I preach about money, I like to quote Billy Graham “The wrong is not when men posses riches, it’s when the riches posses the men.” The riches use to ,and still try to posses me. More accurately, I allow them to posses my thoughts, again. That’s Hell , when we choose to move out of God’s Grace. That my EGO coming out again, to much of me and not enough God.

We are taught here in America, that more is always better, bigger is always better, achieving and pushing is “what” we do. If that’s  the American dream- then why are so many of us disillusioned with this “dream” and miserable? Why do so many of us end up asking ourselves, is this all there is, what am I about, what am I doing here?

So we think more of the same will “fix” that part of us that’s missing, that hole in us, but it doesn’t, we just try to get more. More of everything, more money, more toys, more neuroses, more addictions, more parties, more drinking, more travel, more house, more, more, more.

What we need is less, less of us and this world, and more of God. That hole we are trying to fill is the part in us that God should be filling in our lives. Make no mistake, God is always there, as constant out pouring of love, we just have to turn our receptors back on to receive her love.

Back to the conservation, this guy then proceeds to tell me how he is a regular at church , and where do I preach, etc . We talked a little more and he got emotional and tear’d up in his office, and told me he doesn’t think “he is good enough for God. ” That was not what I was expecting to hear from him, not in our first “real” conversation, but it was beautiful , the honesty of it, the purity of it.  I can I relate to that, that’s how I use to feel myself at times, when I had more pain and less of her Grace in my life.

I am glad he trusted me enough to open up to me!

I tried to help – “there is absolutely nothing you can do to make yourself good enough for God, nor should you try.”

It all comes from God freely

We are whole and compete with God, from the start, there is nothing you can do or say to make it otherwise, Nothing, Nada, Zilch.

To paraphrase Richard Rohr , “everything we need comes in the box from the MFG.”

William Sloan Coffin said ” we get just enough religion to make us miserable.”

Boy is that the truth for many of us! Or all of us some of the time.

The key is to know that we cannot do anything to stop God’s love “to” us, nothing, the rest of it comes from us, and  the noise we allow into our lives.

Know you are loved, you “are” love, and there is nothing you can do about it, just accept it as the free gift that it is, with nooooooo strings attached.

Fill that hole that’s missing in you, with the radical Love and Grace that passes all human understanding. Turn on you “receptors” and let God back in.

Peace

Careful what you wish for, or Doug looks at 50.

So I was told last Sunday 3-22-15, that my last 3 sermons were some of my best. So here is the first of those 3 sermon’s from 3-8-2015. I was glad to hear that they were well received. As the guy doing the talking, you always try to do your best, but I know that sometimes they are workman like at best. I did, in fact feel on my “A” game these last few weeks, maybe channeling the energy from the upcoming Easter Holiday.

In this one I get into the ideas of my new “man crush”, Richard Rohr and his idea that we have 2 distinct half’s of our lives. The first half, the less mature half, is necessary for growth and if we are lucky enough we can progress into the more “mature” second half of life. I love his thought that for most of us, this second half of life “maturity” comes to most of us at a cost. To most of us,while living through it, it seems to be a very high cost indeed. That cost is usually what we think of as pain, and our natural reaction is to distance ourselves from pain.

Pain, that with time, can become the growth we need, but in today’s world we don’t sit in the pain, we try to numb it in some way, move away from it. With addiction, attachments of all kinds, rampant consumerism, and the distancing of ourselves from those close to us. How about our total addiction to “gadgets”, or the need to fill every waking moment with “something”, like soccer or football or dance or texting or Facebook or the new TV show. The list goes on and on. Its not all bad but we need some perspective.

We don’t know how to “be” anymore. We need to learn to shut “it” off; the noise of the world.

Be careful what you let into you life! We don’t even think about that at all. You can control  to a large degree the ” noise” you allow into your world. Look around most of what we deal with on a daily bases is noise.

I read somewhere that God’s only language is silence.

See I think we have tried to fill every waking moment with something, so we don’t have to face ourselves, or answer the big questions. We hide from ourselves and God. We fill our lives with “stuff” because most of us have a hole in our heart’s where GOD use to be. We have lost something, our connection to God.

We all long for that connection with “source.” That longing comes from the way we are told that we are separate from God, and what we are told we need to do to get back in good graces with the “man.” What makes us think we could do anything to separate ourselves from God? We separate ourselves from him\her, never the other way around.

Most of us know a punitive God that’s out for punishment and pain. That’s first half of life thinking at it best. My God doesn’t demand blood, she just ask us to love her back. That’s second half thinking. That moves the story forward. 10 Commandants’ are first half of life stuff; the beatitudes are second half beauty.

Neither is wrong but they serve a different purpose in our lives. Rohr helps us to understand we need them both, but we need to work through first half issues to mature (hopefully) into the second half of our lives, with more “vision and grace.” You have to have a strong foundation in the basics especially early in life, so you can be comfortable to move beyond them, into second half thinking. The world needs more second half type thinkers. Jesus was a second half of life thinker!

As we get older absolutes should dissolve into, I can see your point! The problem is many of us don’t progress into second half of life thinking. I can see that as the major problem of our country and the world, including the church. We are ruled by first half of life thinkers that live their lives with absolutes, we have lost the middle ground- just take a look around. Rohr says something like “literalism isn’t wrong, it’s just the most basic form of understanding.”

I get into my thoughts about finding what you look for, I think we do get what we look for far more often than we believe. The problem is we tend to think in first half of life thinking. Know the commercial where the guy rubs the lamp and asks for a million bucks, and the yard is full of deer. Careful what you wish for, you might just get it. If you want to see a world filled with pain and misery, there is plenty to “see” out there. From Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find.”

I also get into how nothing is wasted if you can learn to see it with new eyes, my biggest “problems” of the past are the only times I have really ever grown. It takes time and distance but I would not trade them, how about you?

Take a look at your life; can you see that many if not most times you got what you went looking for, good or bad? Or will it have to wait until your done watching “your favorite show.”

The Audio from 3-8-2015