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

To my friends, part 1.

So today a departure from the norm, I have been using my sermons for a base and writing essentially an “intro” for them. Today I am going to get into some of my recent thoughts. I get themes going in my head, and they tend to stay there for a while, I think it might be due to my horrible memory, I can only keep one thought in there at a time. It seems to work for me, or at least it’s all I have to work with. So I have had this Thomas Merton quote in my head recently, “the God you find say more about you than it does about God.” I have been thinking about that quote a lot lately. I had two very interesting conversations on Friday, though both very different. In the first I was speaking to a very close friend and we were discussing my recent “spiritual change.” By recent I mean over the last 5-6 years and very profoundly in the last 2 years or so. What that means to me, as it turns out, can be totally different than what other’s see. If you have read one of my earlier blogs about my “awakening” you will know I have moved through (and continue to work on) a lot of pain. I use to think I was cursed with this life, or more to the point, my inability to work myself to a point of continuing “happiness.” I was always wanting more, that’s what we are taught here in the US, bigger ,better, higher, faster. So if you read that earlier blog I was caught in the “mode” of being object referral, looking to things outside myself for my happiness. My dear friend pointed out to me how I have changed in the 5 years, some of it good, some, according to him, not so good, and that’s not exactly what he said, but it was what he meant. I can always rely on him to “straighten me out.” In my sermon a few weeks ago for the start of lent, I stated that God calls us to action, and we are to live life wastefully, with joy, to add things to our “beautiful existence”, maybe not to remove things as we typically do for lent. I still believe that, but when I was speaking to my buddy, I realized how much I have stripped away in the last few years, and I think that was the point he was trying to make to me. I think some of my friends think I have removed to much, I am not the life of the party all the time. I don’t party much at all, lots of things that use to interest me bore the crap out of me, a side note- I see God’s party in a lot of places now- in personal growth of others, sunrises, smiles, children. They(those old things) are “of this world”, some people seem to think now “he’s” to good for that, its has nothing to with that at all, and I don’t judge others for being where they are at on their path. Its weird , some seem to judge me, rather harshly at times. I was told by one of my best friends, that I am ‘TO HAPPY” most of the time. TO HAPPY? What I have come to realize is that when we judge others, it usually a mirror of what is lacking in our life’s. Judgment  of other’s, is a cause for us pause to look and see what we don’t like about ourselves, what we need to work on in our own lives.

So it can be a struggle, it difficult to find your bearings at times, what’s important now? I want to be clear, God doesn’t care if I drink or swear(or still do) or saw a girl in a bikini, but he want’s to know ,where is your heart, your soul that belongs to him. God wants us to have fun, live full of Joy, but it changes you- this experience. My friend was questioning me when I said I am happy, and I am probably for the first (extended period) time of my adult life. I am not always on my “A” game, but I continue working on it. I have learned that true happiness is a feeling of Joy that comes from inside of each one of us, if you look for it somewhere else you will lose it, it has to be from God inside of you. I have realized that most things are just background noise, the only true path leads to God…. all paths lead to God. But guess what he wants us to do,  not judge, or hate, or put others down, but Love wastefully and forgive others, try to bring ourselves into completeness with him.

Move the story forward, we don’t have it right yet, not by a long shot. If you still see a them(and I still do) then there is work to be done on you. That’s where it all starts, with you, not them, not ISIS, not the Jew’s or Catholics, or the Muslims or any other “them” you still see. To try to effect real lasting change, we need to break through our old thought process’s. We are not all that much different than when we started this experiment thousands of years ago. We need to be bigger than that, we can do it, we are part of God, he is just waiting for us to gain momentum. We can and have to start meaningful change, or we will need a ride to another planet. Looking back , from the outside , from someone close to me, it must look and seem like I am crazy.  I heard something about people in India being “God drunk”, being so lost in God they seem out of it, in the western world they would be committed. So I don’t think I am near that “bad”, but I have changed, for the better, I hope. I am far from perfect, but I am learning that’s ok too, it too is part of the plan. But this new awareness can cause “problems” of its own, or a better phrase than “problems” might be “we get a chance for new learning experience”. That’s why we are here, to grow and live and love, and to lose yourself in helping others. It can certainly cause you issues with the people you come into contact with, but it’s all part of the process. You can’t change other people, and you realize some of those close to you might never “get it.” Some people think you’re crazy, usually happy, but crazy. It can seem lonely, like your all by yourself, but it’s not a choice, not once you start down the “path”. The only thing you can do is have the power of your conviction, and that’s not the right word either, it not a conviction, it’s a knowing on some level, a feeling, something you can’t describe to anyone that hasn’t tasted “it”, “the way”, awareness, enlightenment, it can be scary and beautiful all at the same time. My friend said he understood my need to have others see my blog, he gets that I want friends to validate my writing and sermons.So that got me thinking, that’s he is partly right. It was more “right” earlier on, I wanted people to agree with me, identify with me, validate me. Now, a big part of it is to try to help people I know are struggling with this world, as I still do,  and help them try to get a”cleaner understanding of this life”. I am sure some of it EGO and Pride, but I guess that comes with it, if not, no one would hear anything I have to say- good or bad. I do understand that many of my friends don’t care at all about this path, or they don’t believe what I believe, but I feel called to try to help those struggling- show them a different way. I know it doesn’t make me wrong if we don’t agree, we are just on a different part of the journey. I won’t judge you for your beliefs, give me the same respect.

Jesus excels at helping us to transcend this world … “be of this world not in it”, be like little children, or from Matthew 7:14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” So how do you read a scripture like that? I have learned enough about the way the Jewish people thought, and they had no thought process of life after death, ideas were about here and now, for this world today. Jesus , a Jew, was telling us most of us get it wrong, here in this life now, today. Or are you still judging yourself and others? “The God you find say more about you than it does about God.” What God do you see, maybe more importantly what “you” do you see, that will probably determine what “God” you find and what “world” you see.

Jesus ” Rebel with a Cause”

In this sermon I get into a little college football, and some more Rob Bell, his blog is my go to when I am short on ideas. How do you describe what the Bible is? That’s a great question, I’ll get into that. I used Rob Bells blog as a starting point and of course I added my own material.
I just had the pleasure of hearing John Spong speak in Naples, FL, what a treat, in this sermon I get into some of Bishop Spong ideas, the chief among them, when it comes down to it we are called to live our lives “wastefully.”
Laughter, babies, the beach, love, pain, touch, a sunrise, beauty everywhere, if that’s not describing your life, then your GPS(God Positioning System) is off kilter. That’s what we are suppose to do here on this earth, live our life with joy, compassion for others, have fun, Love Wastefully this is the good stuff!
I learned from Bishop Spong and Rob Bell and others, that we must look at the Bible from a first century Jewish perspective, to think about it from any other view point is naïve. It like saying modern American literature could be read and understood contextually by an Indian that lived two thousand years ago. Jews never wrote or understood the “Torah” to be literally or historically true, the books are more than that, much more. They echo our human struggle to make sense of our world, the stories might not be historical, but they are true on many levels, and the stories become even more beautiful. It makes us and the Bible “small” when we do that, look at them through a 21st century world view, its so much more than literal truth.
If you can pull back and see the thread of God running through the stories of the Bible and the progression of peoples understanding…. Beautiful. God is still speaking…if we choose to listen.
One of my favorite themes, are you happy, where does your “happy” come from ? If it comes from some where outside of you, or your waiting for some other time or “condition” to be happy, your missing out on your life. Happy can only come from inside you, its a gift.
And of course Jesus- the rebel with a cause.

Audio from 10-19-2014

Get Behind me Satan!

So how this has been working so far is I listen to a recording I made while preaching, take some notes on the sermon, and type an intro to get you started. So here you go!

I was listening to the sermon from 8-31-14, and thinking it was pretty good, also I can hear the birds singing in the background, very nice on a day when its 15 degrees and snowing.
I reference our “Celebrate” its the handout we have in our church that gives us our prayer and scripture readings for the day. This Sunday in August we had Mathew 16:23, where Jesus is telling Peter…. “Get behind me Satan.” What do you think that means in this context? I know that I think most of us get it wrong, is Satan a metaphor for the evil that lurks in all of us. Is Jesus telling Peter, you have to much of the world in you, here I am , right here and you still can’t see… you can’t see something transcendent standing right here, you still have it wrong.
The Bible was written by people trying to understand their world, they were writing to a Jewish audience, they were still Jews long after Jesus died, and they were trying to make sense of their world.

I think we are set on a course, a path, and when we veer from that path, our spiritual guidance system gets out of whack, we drink, get depressed, lash out. Some of us stay in that state forever,” be of this world, not in it”, we think its our normal “broken” state of being. I disagree, we have the opportunity to be complete, or at least move towards completeness every day. Some of us have been broken(incomplete) for so long we don’t know any better, we think its normal, we love the pain we think that’s normal too…

It’s not, Jesus calls us to completeness with God, that’s the message, that might be the entire message of the Bible.

I quote(I use the term loosely)John Shelby Spong, William Sloane Coffin, Deepak Chopra, and Adyashanti, pretty impressive mix even for me.
I get into more of my reoccurring themes “working to your highest best self” and hold on to everything loosely, we are wrong about most things….

Let me know what you think.
8-31-14

Threads and Tapestry

 

I speak to quite a few people in an average week, many of them just wanting to have someone listen to them, empathize with them, let them know they are not alone on the journey. I hear the same things over and over, one of those is that we are not complete, we don’t feel good about ourselves. So I enjoy showing people that we are part of God, and we are loved, there is nothing we can do to change that, if you think so , it comes from you, not God. I quote Genesis 1:26-28 “God made us in his image, reflecting his nature”, Acts 17 24:29 “for in him we live and move and have our being.” John 1 3-8 “Everything was created through him- nothing- not one thing came into being with out him. What came into existence was life, and the life was a light to live by. The light that blazed out of the darkness.” Beautiful.

We are not separate from God, and as much as we are told and think other wise, we are not separate from anything or anybody.  I get into some of my re-occurring themes, “hold on to things loosely”, we are wrong about most things. Ask yourself “are you working to your highest best self?” When I feel off, I try to have the “presence” to ask myself those questions. I also touch on EGO , edging God out, and Sin as missing the mark, much as a archer misses the bull’s-eye. I really think that what God gave us, or tried to give us through Jesus, was the way to our lives closer to God, closer to our true nature. Many of us Christians think our religion is life(death) insurance, something for after we are dead, I think through Christ, God tried to give “health” insurance, how to live our lives completely and full of joy and wonder in this life here on earth.

Also one of my pet peeves, how come so many people that can quote the Bible chapter and verse are so Damn mean? Ah, to the title of the post, I believe its from Rob Bell, we do ourselves a dis-service when we look at any one verse of the Bible as an individual thread, its so easy to take things out of context, be judgmental of others, or use the book to support our position. When we can pull back and look at the wonderful tapestry that God is weaving through the collection of books that are the Bible, see it from a higher vantage point, “see the bigger picture”, that when it truly takes on it full meaning.

It’s a love story on a level we can’t comprehend.

 

Here is the “tape” from 6-29-2014

 

My “coming out” Sermon

Below is the first sermon I ever gave using my own material , and one of the only sermons I wrote(typed) out. It was some time in the fall of 2013. Please note this was my working draft, I used it as a jumping off point to give the “preached” sermon, so it might read a little more choppy than usual. That saying something coming from me!

I consider it my “coming out party” sermon, the one that wretched my heart out, it was at a turning point in my life— there was a lot of pain being released in that talk, I teared up at points and had issues finishing it.

I hope it can help others to know, there is more out there than the grief, pain and misery many people see in the world. You truly can choose Heaven here on earth! Come with me on the journey!

*************

This is not a sermon for everyone, but I hope its for someone.

So we are saved by grace now What? 

Seriously now what?

There is nothing you can do to turn God away from you, nothing-Not Sin, not being gay, not murder, nothing!

So now what do you do with your life if you’re a Christian?

I realized a few weeks ago that I was afraid my whole life, afraid to succeed , afraid to fail, basically afraid to breath. That’s a very hard thing to come to grips with- I cried off and on for days- it was great – was the most freeing time of my life, I am not sure you can understand that if you have never gone through anything like that, it was like opening of my own personal Pandora’s box of my life. My sister kept telling me I needed to read the 4 Agreement by Don Ruiz,I finally got around to reading it, and it changed my life.

Some how I kept thinking of the story about Michelangelo’s David, I read  Michelangelo looked at the block of stone and saw David in it waiting to be brought out of the block.

God has always seen me and you in the same way, we are there waiting to be brought out—- He has always been in us,

The problem was I couldn’t see myself

One of those forest for the tree’s thing.

I keep dancing around myself and around and around, nipping at the edges, but I couldn’t pull it all together.

Until recently when I realized I was to full of myself

I had filled myself with Stuff lots of Stuff… from our culture, society, my parents, friends, and most importantly – I was full of myself..

I was afraid- scared of success, failure, of life and death, but especially life- I remember my dad telling me once – son I am worried about your health – your killing  yourself.

I told him I am not afraid to die , I know where I am going when I die, I am afraid to live! But I said it as a joke- it took me years to get it. Like another 10 years, I am polish if you remember.

I had filled my life with stuff-

Trying to fill the void, the emptiness within me

you know that empty feeling you get when you lay awake at night-

why are things always worse in the middle of the night

the bible gives us a ton of metaphors about darkness and light

obviously there is something to it, but we can leave that for another time.

Back to that empty feeling________________

Is this all these is_________

There Nothing else____________

There has to be more-doesn’t there?

what’s my purpose in life?

I am a “good Christian” right

I even get up there and preach on some Sundays- I believe everything I said, but I was still empty on the inside ———– craving more.

living a shallow empty hollow life.

So what do you do with yourself now————–

You try to fill the void———

I worked really hard on filling it with stuff all kinds of stuff

I couldn’t get out of my own way!
Sure I had a great family( the most important thing)- more on that later

the big house

the Escalade’s

the beach house

the Rolex’s

and on and on and on

I also had the binge drinking

the mood swings

the depression, the stress, the anxiety etc etc etc.

I always wanted more—– but more of what, there is  the trick– of what

Mark Twain said if I had more time , I would have said less— pretty profound, especially for me.

Segway here      —-      fast forward to present time.

I have been listening to a lot of Deepak Chopra ( who knew)

27 of his CD’s to be exact!

He is the Indian spiritualist ( Lisa would say the dot kind- in case you don’t know him) you might have caught him on Oprah

Yes I now watch the OWN network- I have just bared my soul to you about my life, and I am embarrassed to tell you I watch Oprah!

Back to my man Deepak    _______________

he says those of us especially in western society i.e. US Canada, Europe etc.

are object referral  \ as  opposed to self referral.

what does that mean- let me tell you a story.

“There was once a man who had only two things that he valued in his life. One was his son, and the other was a little pony. His whole sense of reality came from referring to these two objects. Then one day the pony disappeared. The man was devastated because he had lost half of what he truly valued. He was in the depths of despair thinking about his lost pony, when the pony returned with a beautiful white stallion. Suddenly from the depths of despair he was in the heights of ecstasy. The next day, his son was riding the stallion and fell down and broke his leg. So from the heights of ecstasy, the man was now in the depths of despair. He was wallowing in misery when the government’s army came looking for all the young men to go to war. They took every young man in the village except the man’s son, because he had a broken leg. So from the depths of despair, this man was now in the heights of ecstasy. You can guess, of course, that this story of object-referral has no ending. By their very nature objects change, and as long as we identify with objects, we will never know our real essence. When we evaluate and understand ourselves through objects, or through the eyes of others, our life is like a roller coaster ride because the only constant about people, things, situations, and circumstances is that they change. If our identity is tied to these, then life is always going to be unstable. The opposite of object-referral is self-referral. When we are self-referred, we identify with our inner self, the unchanging essence of our soul. We feel wonderful regardless of the situation, circumstance, or environment we are in. And why do we feel wonderful all the time? Because we don’t identify with the situation; we are a detached, silent witness of the situation. We are secure in who we are, and we have no urge to prove anything to anyone. If we had the urge to prove this to someone, there we would again evaluate ourselves through the eyes of others. Self-referral is an internal state of joy, and this is different from happiness for a reason”

That’s what it meant to be object referral.

That describes my life to a  ” T”

I am sure some of you can relate, or at least I hope so, if not I am going to feel pretty stupid.- I know someone else need to hear this.

So back to Deepak and the self referral bit

our counter parts in the eastern cultures i.e. India , china etc.

They get it there, in our defense, they have been at it a lot long than us poor slobs in the west.

They look inward to get there reference, there focus, they look to family, they are very spiritual .

They are wired differently- there culture respects the process of life more so than ours, we are taught to respect the outcome more.

I watch a lot of cooking shows , when you see stuff for Japan, China, they tell of a family of noodle makers, that’s all they do is make noodles, they could be 10th generation noodles makers. That’s respecting the process , not living for the outcome.

I know you are think to yourself Doug’s gone off his rocker, so let’s bring this back to God.

God made us in his image

God in us

I truly believe when god says he is in us, he is.

He is in every Atom in our being —

There is a whole bunch of Quantum Physics stuff I could get into, but if you want to lean more– see me after class.

We are all made of the same stuff- the pews , the stars, you and me, all the same- God’s essence.

So back to me————

I was object referral for my whole life———

I knew I was saved by grace— —- Now what!

I was miserable and didn’t know why, most of the time I thought I was happy at least part of the time, or so I thought.

Now I know the problem, I was empty on the inside ,, where it counted.

So of course I tried to fill the emptiness with stuff— crap.

The bible says we should be of this world not in it.

I was in it full bore———– If you’re going to do it , do it right!

I was all in , I sure gave it one heck of a try.

So then I was in the weird funk, you realize you’re full of the wrong stuff- SOOOOOO now what?

now I  really felt lost

that took me a while to figure out, and believe me, I am still working on figuring it out

I went from being afraid, to being lost—————- a step in the right direction ,,,, right?

right, well yes, sort of

It was then, after reading the 4 Agreements and Love Wins by Rob Bell, that I realized I created my own Hell with a Capitol ” H” , right here on earth.

Lets look at Hell, our concept of it anyway

Its somewhere you go when you die, right, if you been bad.

The grim reaper comes in and carries you off to hell, which of course is in the center of the earth , and all that stuff we see on TV.

Right______

well maybe        or maybe not.

Remember me telling you a few months ago — what Rob Bell brings out in his book Love Wins— our concept of Hell from the Bible , historically is an actual place that’s was the local garbage dump, where they kept a fire burning to burn the trash and there were always animals there fighting for food scraps–with their Gnashing of teeth. Sound familiar

So maybe it not quite what we think it is this place called Hell.

So here is what I learned the hard way

We have the choice— right here on earth— to live our lives in heaven or hell.

We wake up every day and make choices, and they are choices , to live in Heaven or in Hell, today and every day.

I choose a hell of my own making for many years!

Worry, Stress, Gossip, control,  etc etc.

They rob you of your today’s Heaven ,In trade for the hell of re-living your yesterdays and robbing you of your tomorrows

So how often do you sit there, or probably lie there in the dark at night- that darkness thing again— and worry and stress and over think , about past mistakes, or something that might happen in the future.

Guess what it changes nothing- nada- zilch. I did it for years, guess what it changed————–ME, nothing else, except me for the worse — and those I drug into my living Hell

All it did was rob me of my today’s———– this moment, the only moment that exists____

There is nothing else. Learn to live for this moment, forgive the past, if you choose not to, you do so at your own peril, trust me I was an expert at reliving the past.

Funny thing about this Hell on earth———– you’re not there alone,

NO, if your there long enough and deep enough, you get to drag the ones closest to you down into your Hell.

That’s the part that hurts the worst–

That’s what we do to the ones closest to us —- Isn’t love grand!

But I now realize we all do the best we can– Everyday——–don’t we?

I know I must have said it a hundred times, I did the best I could, and that’s something to stand on isn’t it.

What I came to realize is sometime, a lot of times, my best is a pile of smoldering crap! That’s all I had was crap, for days on end, but it was my best—— at the time.

Here is the tricky part, learning to see it in your self is one thing—- the blessing is when you learn to see it in others.

Learn to see their crap moments, or hours or days or months or years.

Learn to meet them where there at, knowing that’s probably the best they have that day, maybe it’s a load of crap too.

It makes me think of that old saying …. until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes… we have no clue what someone else  might be dealing with— work problems, kid problems, health problems,  Deaths.

I had to learn to see and listen all over again– really listen, that’s hard, I realize we all put our spin on everything, all the time— teach yourself to really listen to what those around you have to say!

Meet them with love and light and grace, the grace from God that passes all human understanding!

Jesus said come to me, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

And it truly is, it took me years to get it, or to get this far, remember we are all works in progress WIPS’s, we are all at different places in our lives and on our journeys with God.

Its all right there for the taking, he gave it to us all from the start,

So back to the beginning—–

We are saved by grace now what—-

Wake every day and choose heaven on earth — it truly is there if you look for it, it’s everywhere in everything if only you can get out of your own way, its freely given by God for all of us.

Wake and chose light and love and most importantly forgiveness

Remember we Christians are in the forgiveness business NOT the judgment business that belongs to someone else!

Fill your void– not with the crap of this world like I did for so many years, but the joy and peace and love God has shown us! Its there for each of us, if we can move ourselves out of the way.

Find your heaven on earth every day! Keep it simpler than I did!

It truly is a love story

God is there for each and every one of us .