Thursday, 22 December 2011

Why can't we get it right?

I'm still working on how we are supposed to view scripture and utilise it. If you've been following my blogs you'll notice its been something of a theme lately.

So what's wrong with the bible, you may ask? Nothing at all! Its totally inspired by God and preserved for us as a reference - everything God intended for us to have as a written record is in it! No problem there.

But here's the problem, as I have expressed from different angles before. If God wanted pure unified doctrines and theologies that would have held His church together, to stand in unity, grow into full maturity etc, how come  he didn't spell it out in black and white, unambiguously, no room for interpretation. Well, you may say, the original languages have changed and we don't know a lot of the original context - all that sort of stuff. But didn't God know that? Didn't he realise that over 2000 years language and culture would change so radically that we would loose the plot? Why didn't He take that into account? After all, He is sovereign, and nothing is impossible for Him.

But wait - there's more! Even in the first church, they couldn't get it right. All Paul's letters are addressing various errors, and there were divisions from the word go. So if all the New Testament is so perfect, what are we missing?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still saying its completely inspired by God and is exactly what He wanted to be recorded for us. But if we keep struggling to agree on so much stuff (and that's big issues, not just little things that don't matter) we have to start thinking that maybe this is what God planned all along. Maybe he actually didn't want a completely unambiguous set of instructions that we could hold up, and no one could possibly misinterpret. He could have done that if He wanted - He's God!

Maybe He left us this jumble of documents in the hope that we would rely on Him for truth, and maybe we could rely on each other. Maybe His plan is that we trust Holy Spirit in each other. And maybe, just maybe, He's not that fussed if our doctrines are wrong. He could be interested in relationship above all else. Maybe all He is really interested about is Love, after all, that's what He is. Perhaps He purposely allowed the confusion and errors and arguments so we could see that its not about following a set of instructions, that its all about Him. Our restored relationship. About Jesus and what He did to reconcile all mankind.

Maybe the whole purpose of the bible is to bring us to the end of ourselves, so that we just fall into His arms and let His love envelop us and reveal the unbelievable unity we now have with Him, even better than Adam and Eve had!

And maybe when we read it from that perspective we will see His words in a whole new light. God in us, united by the presence of Holy Spirit in every one of us, filling us with His love.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but who gave us the capacity to dream?
(I'll keep expanding on this theme as its probably the core issue for many of us now, as we argue things like the validity of scripture and battle with fundamentalism.)

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Armour

A slightly different look at the Armour of God mentioned in Eph 6:10-17.

I have always been led to believe that the armour of God was something we put on as we blasted out into warfare waving our swords ready to put the enemy to flight. It was good discipline to consciously put the armour on every morning, memorise the passage and be ready to fight the enemy! My zeal was, of course, well meant, but lacked a little depth and context.

So what is it really?

Belt, body armour, shoes, shield, helmet - all passive stuff, part of resisting as Paul says in the previous verses. And those shoes - the Gospel of peace, not what I'd call fighting boots! All the pieces form something that protects us, allowing us to stand, not run around fighting.

So what about "taking the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God"? Jesus is the Word of God! The sword is Jesus. We don't wield Jesus, flinging Him around like a weapon. The Greek word for "take" actually means "receive, accept, welcome". What a difference! The actual fight is His job, we just accept His victory and stand firm, rest in that place with our feet firmly planted in the gospel of peace. Nothing can touch us with that armour on! Sure you can go into lots of detail about each piece of armour if you want, but its all very simple - truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the assurance of salvation, and Jesus doing all the fighting.

Our instruction is simply to take it, that's all! Pick it up and put it on. Not hard, and its right there ready for us, we don't have to run around looking for it because our relationship with Father allows us free access to it - He's holding it out for us ready to slip it on. And once we've put it on we can rest knowing that the enemy can't touch us and Jesus is doing all the hard work! Now we can get on with the important stuff without having to worry about that pesky devil!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Good Exegesis!

Gods plan for the world is much bigger than our opinions over a few scriptures. If scriptures were so indisputable and all that was required was "good exegesis" then I think all of our woes should have been well and truly sorted by now. You'd kinda think that after 2000 years we could get our theology right!
But it just keeps getting worse - more divisions, doctrines and theologies than ever before - and more theologians who have the best texts than ever before - and still a bigger mess than we could imagine!
So study is not the answer, endlessly digging up scripture is not the answer. The more we bury our heads in endless studies of the scriptures, the more we end up like the Pharisees.
Its heart, its relationship, its allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds to the incredible unity that Jesus enabled. Its letting him be Daddy, knowing that we ARE new creations and he will never leave us. Its relationship - from beginning to end, nothing more, nothing less. He has planned it all from the beginning. He created every single person for relationship and He will not loose even one. I can trust Holy Spirit in me, and being created in his image means all the basics of our personality/character/makeup are like his. The bits that are "greater than our ways" are things like, how He keeps everything going, how He pulls it all together and makes all things work together for good. His character, however, is firmly imprinted deep in our hearts, sometimes tainted, but always the desire of dreams.

He is love, first and foremost, and he has made sure we understand love. Its indelibly stamped on our hearts, every single one of us. WE understand justice, he put it in us, and he gave us wonderful enquiring minds that can explore the depths of all He has put before us. He left things hidden for us to explore, ever unfolding the life before us. He gave us logic and deduction, the ability to philosophy and dream. He gave us Jesus, who became the centre of all our dealings with God, past present and future, gave us a new spirit, so that ALL shall be reconciled, and he came to dwell in us and us in Him - in all his fullness! His love NEVER fails, NEVER gives up, neither in this age or the age to come, and finally He shall destroy death itself.

He is wonderful beyond our wildest dreams, He brings hope to the hopeless, that need suffer no longer. Salvation is now, and through all ages, through trials and sufferings, pride and pain, until all that is not of Him is burnt away and we see Him for who He is and every knee will gladly bow and every tongue gladly confess He is Lord - and we will walk in perfect unity with Him into eternity!

Amen, Maranatha!! (Our Lord come - our Lord has come!)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

What’s in a WORD?

For years the law demolished us
Our heart and soul our simple trust
With no accountability
It ruled in its verbosity
Twisted WORD misunderstood
And good turns evil and evil good
Using “submission” (a voluntary state of meekness)
As enslaver’s chain
And “accountability” (to be an open book)
For personal reign
WORDsmiths groan in painful measure
As the WORD is robbed of intrinsic treasure
And the sweetest SPIRIT is quenched once more
While HE THE WORD waits at the door
For if in wresting it was defiled
Let it now be reconciled
Let ears be opened and HIS heart be heard
And let us now redeem the WORD

Harrison  Burns
(Turn of the century Christian poet)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Victorious Cross

A great quote from Joel Adifon ~

The more we grow in the ways of the LORD, the greater the possibility for us become dangerous threats to the agenda of the kingdom of darkness.
Desperate to stop us from attaining the full stature of Christ, the enemy will do everything he possibly can to focus our attention on new teachings and take our eyes off of the Teacher.
As great as miracles, signs, and wonders are, they are not the Gospel.
The enemy loves watching Christians spend hours of their lives reading dozens of testimonies, watching street healing videos, going to signs and wonders conferences, and trying to live vicariously via their favorite pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I love hearing and reading about what God has done.
I think solid teaching on healing in the Kingdom is definitely important for feeding one's spirit man with faith.
I love watching videos on believers taking the power of God to the marketplace.
...Papa, has been rocking me lately and bringing me back to the Source of all of these things.
The Source of power is not the latest video, mp3 teaching, or conference.
The Source is the Gospel and the Gospel is summed up in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
We should be glorying in nothing other than the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
If any other thing besides the Cross becomes the focal point of the messages we preach, we're missing something.
Come on Church! :)
Let's not have a been there done that attitude with the Cross, as if it's some elementary teaching that is only for baby Christians.
The Victorious Cross of Jesus Christ is the source and summit of the Christian life.
It was never meant to be Christianity 101.
Preach the Healer and healings will manifest.
Preach the Deliverer and demons will be scattered.
Preach the One who sanctifies and holiness will be a natural fruit.
Preach the Lover of souls and people will be saved.
It's all His work! :)
We're just hanging on for the ride.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Saving the Lost

if we really, really believed, that humanity's last hope for redemption is this life and that most will be lost to eternal hell, and we claim to know how Father weeps for the lost and the pain he feels for every one of them breaks his heart, what on earth are we sitting around for, wasting time studying endless doctrines, going to meetings, partying, and even working or going to school for that matter! There are billions needing to know the gospel right now, every second we waste thousands are dropping off into hell - lost forever! This is horrible beyond comprehension, and WE are their only hope! Common, how can you live with yourselves knowing that every second, we are braking Daddy's heart and allowing people to completely unwittingly walk straight into eternal torture!!

Its an unbelievably hard job and the whole burden is on US, its as if every second that passes we personally have "hit the big red button" that sends another one down the chute.

And worse still, poor old God is sitting there utterly helpless, in tears, unable to even give us enough help to do the job, because its our job, and the Holy Spirit is too flat out to get to everyone in time. Yes, of course Jesus died to set us free from sin, but unfortunately it wasn't really that effective, it only works for a few lucky enough to hear about it in time... and oh, there goes another one. Was that my fault? Will I be held accountable for everyone? And what on earth will happen when I finally stand before Him? "Well Jim, you didn't try hard enough and 4,675,237 souls are now being tortured for eternity because of you! But that's okay, because you are saved, and you can spend the rest of eternity with me living happily ever after, and we won't even think about those poor souls any more because that would just spoil all the fun!"

Is this too silly? Really?...

Friday, 9 December 2011

The fear of Ultimate Reconciliation

I think the fear so many feel from even looking at this subject with any sort of objectiveness is real and should be respected. I myself have read all the books about both sides (well, lots of them), been a christian for 40 yrs, gone to bible college, had the full gamut of teaching from every corner of christendom, and I can't escape a few glaring facts that refuse to go away no matter how much theology I throw at them.

The biggest one (which I posted on Facebook the other day) in a nutshell, is something along the lines of: why would God create billions of precious people in his very image, out of his heart of love, knowing full well that most of them would end up in unbearable, horrific torture for eternity with no hope of reconciliation? It not only makes no sense but makes God out to be a tyrant more cruel than any human could possibly be, let alone want to be! He has put his heart of love in each of us - we know what love is, he describes his own character in 1Cor 13. So its not only impossible to think that God would just say "oh well, you lost your chance - off to hell with you and no chance of redemption", it is incomprehensible, and loathsome on any level. We to easily fob it off by saying His ways are higher than ours and other stuff about his justice being pure etc, but how come our standards are higher than His?

So where does that leave us? I have wrestled with this for years, and my passion for Jesus has only grown as I discover more and more of his grace. As I let more of His love fill me this question becomes a bigger issue, something I can't just cover up with a bunch inconsistent scriptures. I'm not afraid to be wrong! But God gave me a brain and a heart, that I have used with as much integrity as I can muster. Something is wrong with this picture - and I think its time we stopped burying our heads in dogma and had sensible discussions knowing that we can trust Holy Spirit in each other!

Thursday, 8 December 2011


I'm not against theology, working out the nitty gritty of scriptures etc, but its only a secondary thing, its not the real issue. The entirety of the gospel is simple and it embraces the heart of a God who IS love - every part of his being is love. Jesus is the physical embodiment of that love and the more we embrace that, the more we bathe in His amazing unconditional acceptance, look into His face, lean on his breast and hear His heartbeat, see the wonders of His creation, experience His comfort in the midst of devastation - we realise that our efforts at trying to piece together who he is by scripture alone, fail miserably. Jesus said it was far better that He go so we could have the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, God IN us, creating our unity with the entire Godhead. We are privy to the heart of Father now, by the amazing redemptive work of Jesus. This alone gives us our understanding of Gods nature, our hearts witness to it, and scripture supports it, not the other way around.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Jim's heresy of the day.

2 Tim 3:16 -  "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness". 

Which scripture was Paul referring to? Obviously not the New Testament because it didn't exist then. So he's talking to Timothy about the Old Testament. Timothy's mother was a Jew, father a Greek, but he was raised with knowledge of Jewish traditions and scripture. Paul preached to the Gentiles, Timothy was working amongst the Greeks, they had no Torah nor were they encouraged in any Jewish traditions. So all a bit odd given Paul's other statements about the law.

I did quite a dig around about the word for Scripture used here. Its a particular form that isn't used often in the Greek and basically means the entirety of all God's breathed Word - or something along those lines. Given the context of Paul's other writings and his emphatic statements about doing away with the law, the only conclusion we can make of this is he wasn't speaking about a bunch of written laws, rituals and prophecies, so much as the entirety of Jesus, the living word. Seeing as this letter is addressed directly to Timothy he would have been very aware of what Paul was saying and its implications. Of course, we mustn't forget  Paul had Timothy circumcised early in the piece, which was totally against Paul's own teachings. In studying this point, there are a few fumbling reasons put forward as to why this may have been, but we seem to forget that Paul made mistakes (gasp!) and Timothy's circumcision may have been one. 

So going back to a bigger picture, why have we included the New Testament in the same category as the Old. The Old was a strict set of written laws, codes, messages from God to a people who didn't have the indwelling Christ. They had to have it written down and preserved! The early church had no scriptures! The letters and other documents weren't regarded as Holy Scripture until many, many years later, they were just letters floating around mostly correcting churches that were going off the rails. It seems that if we were to have an infallible set of written documents that were to be taken as the literal instructions of God on how to be Christians, Jesus would have organised that before the ascension so there could be no doubt that these instructions were from him! But no, all we have is a set of hodge-podge ambiguous writings that have been tacked together and presented as the infallible Word of God.

Now I know you are looking around for the biggest stones you can find to throw at me... but those documents were inspired by God! Each was to a specific audience - a church in trouble or need, a struggling leader, a group of people in a region needing encouragement, whatever... Were they written to us? Of course not! Are they inspired by God? Yes! Can we learn from them? Yes! Can we apply every little thing in them for our lives? No! So what de we do with all this? Horror of horrors - we have to have a personal relationship with God, our loving Father, with his son Jesus who by his Holy Spirit lives inside us in all his power and glory. He has to be intimately involved with our very being, all that we are and do. He is our Word, our wonderful living Word. The Scriptures should just support what Holy Spirit is already doing in us. If we are constantly walking in greater revelation of God in us we are less and less likely to even be sin conscious, less needy of being propped up by an instruction manual - of being less dependant on trying to figure out which particular scripture fits our particular need at any given moment - of finding a promise to hang on to - because the living Word is IN us already.

Just remember those poor old gentile christians wandering around with no scriptures to guide  them, and some of those Jewish christians berated by Paul for telling others they had to live by the Torah. It seems that the last thing Paul wanted was a bunch of scripture fanatics wandering the countryside!

You may have noticed I've been on about all this for a while now.  The reason is obvious (to me). Our current understanding of all these things just doesn't work. We happily say if we know enough scripture and understand it all, everything will all fall into place - but it doesn't - it just gets worse! More doctrines, more denominations, more splits, more discord, hatred, lies, envy, pride, you name it. And we keep blaming each other's interpretation of scripture - when will we see that this will never stop until WE stop and realise there's something wrong with this picture?! 

Could it be that scripture was never meant to be used like this???

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Words for Thought

I posted this in Facebook but thought I might put it here as well for the odd passerby!

So Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples split up and spread the gospel with amazing passion, Paul got zapped, and things got even more outrageous - spreading like wildfire for years with no written doctrines, handbooks, tracts, Torah, just a simple powerful gospel that was the love of a passionate Father wanting to pour that love out on his children.
So they started to get the odd letter tossed around when one of the apostles found something not going to plan. We really aren't too sure about what they were responding to, we can only surmise that from the letters themselves. There were some accounts of Jesus life from a few different viewpoints floating around. Some of the letters were details on the work of Jesus and all its implications. All had a purpose and an intended audience, but they were all over the place. No one used them as doctrinal statements, but over time they began to be venerated until a couple of hundred years later it was decided for the sake of unification and sorting out who was in and who was out, as well as defining orthodoxy, the church fathers of the day decided to pick the best of them and bundle them up together.
So the first church had no bible. Some of the Jewish converts still liked their Torah, but nothing at all for those Gentiles. Seems they had to rely on the Holy Spirit. Maybe they knew something we didn't? Maybe there was a depth to their faith that we have lost? Maybe the whole revelation of Jesus death and resurrection, unity with God and trusting that relationship was all they needed - gulp! treading in thin ice here!
Of course our wonderful Father inspired those amazing documents we now have - they contain descriptions of the depth of his passion and how that was made real in us. But maybe he never intended them to come first? Maybe they were meant to be supportive to the life of the indwelling Christ, the words that confirmed what we should already know in our hearts, the touchstone of the simple truths of the gospel.Is it possible we've got it round the wrong way? Could it be we are trying to figure out this awesome life in Him by a handful of letters rather than using those letters to bear witness to the Holy Spirit in us? Maybe we are so scared of the personal responsibility that would bring, that it outweighs the freedom? And possibly we just can't handle the thought that its not our problem to "guard the faith" - maybe God can do that better without our help?
Hmmm, can't help wondering...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A prophesy?

It is with much fear and trepidation that I dare to call this a prophesy. I have never had the guts to put something in this form before, but it is what I feel Father is saying. I make no claim to being a prophet, it just seemed right to express it as if it was Father's heart. 

You've longed for a revival.
You've hungered for more of me and seen the pain in yourselves and my creation.
The cry for holiness and justice.
The outpourings of my spirit in past times creates a yearning for my presence and power.
To see broken hearts mended, lost ones found, repentance, remorse
Miracles and healing, passion for my word and truth, the glory!

But its not coming on your terms, my reformation is coming instead.
It has started in sparks everywhere, no one person, no one movement,
Fires beginning to spread from one end of creation to the other
But not revival fires, they are freedom and passion fires!
Love fires, a declaration of my heart and passion for you
A new light that shakes each of my children to the core
A reformation of my life in you, of our unity, of your identity
Its a quiet fire that is my doing, born only of my desire for you
Nothing you have done could bring it, nothing you could pray will release it
I will open eyes to plainly see what has been hidden
To see the simplicity and power
To experience freedom unimaginable
To know love indescribable
It doesn't look like revival, it looks like division
It doesn't sound like the roaring of holy fire from heaven
It sounds like the whisper of my breath as I draw close
It is radical, bringing you back to the roots
Back to the childlikeness that sees my kingdom
That sees my love

No, there will be no revival
But the world will be changed by my heart
One person at a time.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Alphabet soup

Maybe the bible is like a bowl of alphabet soup.

Lots of letters that you can spend hours arranging into words and trying to make into something meaningful. Like kids we could have fun and discover many interesting things. We could keep playing with that bowl of soup, day after day, trying to find more and more different words. We could start to grow up and forget it was fun and still keep pushing those letters around. The soup could get really old and mouldy, but we might still be tempted to try for a few more things, or just keep arranging those same old ones we like to find every day. Of course, the soup would be pretty disgusting and we might not be able to see any letters for all the mould and yucky stuff!

Or we could just eat the soup when it was fresh and nourishing, the whole lot, yum! All those letters floating around and we could smile and laugh at the words that form, but the soup is too good to sit around for long. Just eat it up!

And tomorrow we can have another big bowl, made fresh for us with lots of lovely letters ready to have fun with! Yay Dad - more soup please!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Just Jesus

I've been thinking a lot lately, and more so after some comments today, what a complicated mess we have made the gospel, what a horrible burden of half truths and complicated theolgies that all contradict each other. A huge quagmire of methods, principles, doctrines, and of course every one is right ;-)
But if a child can't understand it, its just all crap!! You can read the bible like its an intruction manual and study every little nuance of Greek and Hebrew, but so what?! It was never meant to be an instruction manual on how to "do christianity".

It took many years for me to realise that its just Jesus, Jesus plus nothing. Father's unbelievably outrageous love for us that defies all logic and cuts through all theology. I don't care if I never hear another doctrinal statement in my life. I have the complete life of the truine Godhead living in my right now. He loves me to bits and never lets me forget it. The more I realise that the more that love just comes out of me, I can't help it. And it doesn't matter what doctrines I believe or don't believe because I can trust Him in me, I can trust Him with every thought that runs through my tired brain.

God IS love, nothing else, it all comes from there. I am finally realising what it is to truly love God, because he is loving me first. I will only operate from that place now, even if I stumble because my mind is still being renewed, I will not take my eyes and heart off Him. I won't look to doctrines and principles and fads for help. Just Him, Jesus plus nothing!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Sometimes, day light, every day
Sometimes, night light, every night
Death and taxes, for certain.
The beat runs its own beat
Pulsing its own rhythms
I'm running out of sync, stepping on bar lines
  loosing melody, slipping in harmony
Oh but life-beat is certain, deep-beat pounds
  love-beat at the heart, my heart takes on the heart beat
Internal synchronisation, locked in time codes
  Rhythms fall in surprising places, new rhythms
Is certainty the pulse never ending?
  is certainty the love-beat never ending?
So I run in counter rhythms, counter melodies
  free and in time, just in time, but never late, never early
Certain is the joy, certain is the freedom
  certain is my harmony, perfect harmonies in three parts plus one
dancing and intertwining, moving through and around
    melodies in melodies bouncing from beat to beat
      Oh I'm complete,
        Certainty, sweet certainty.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

There is no need to put on an act!

There is no need to put on an act, the Christian lifestyle is not a choice, it is a spiritual orientation, so to speak; it is precipitated automatically by the indwelling Christ, or it is not even real. For the soul abiding in Christ, it is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. This is either the natural outcome of a real relationship or it is the manufactured facade of self-righteousness. The lies fall away and the clarity emerges as we grow in grace and as a result, all things are pure, the Christian lives rightly because that is such an attractive opportunity, people are perceived as that precious, and the hoped for outcome is yearned for by an involuntary hunger. It is such an automatic fruit that it is not even an issue. ~Bob Greaves

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Scriptures

This is a copy of a post on Harvest Now by Steve Hill
I was going to write something similar as a follow up to my last post Trees and Forests, but this really captured it for me. No point in reinventing the wheel!

The Scriptures
Mar 3, 2011 at 17:20
Category: Centering on Christ
Steve Hill

Friends, It is common for many to refer to the Bible as "The Word of God". However, this is not how the Master identifies it. In John 5:39- 40 Jesus confronts the religious scholars of His day, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you might have life."

In the scriptures the designation "The Word of God" applies only to the Living Word, Jesus. This same Jesus declares that the purpose of the scriptures is to testify of Him and that it is entirely possible to study them and miss Him. If we make the Scriptures "The Word of God" rather than Jesus, we have created an idol. Your faith is not to primarily be in the scripture, your faith is to be in Jesus. That is why Jesus opened the understanding of the disciples so that they could see all that was written in "the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms" concerning Himself (Luke 24:44- 45). The primary purpose of the scriptures is to create a history and a context in which Jesus can be clearly seen. The scriptures are not the Word of God. The scriptures testify to the Word of God.

Actually the only words that scripture records God writing directly are the ten commandments. The testimony about the rest? " All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work." (II Timothy 3:16).

Now here it can get technical but "by inspiration of God" is a very different reality than "by the finger of God". For example, under inspiration the gospel writers wrote four very different accounts of the life of Jesus. Those accounts highlight their different personalities, educational backgrounds, life experiences and writing styles. Yet we do not say one or the other was more inspired. The Word had become flesh in them and was expressed through them. God did not posses them. God did not control their pens. God inspired them. They testified to Jesus.

If we understand that the scriptures are primarily about bearing testimony to Jesus (even as we are to be primarily about bearing testimony to Jesus!) that changes how we read them. The scriptures were not intended to present a rational system about God but a relational story about Jesus. Rational systems are rationally determined which leaves the mind in control. That is why we can argue systems of theology forever- they are controlled by our minds. A reality controlled by my mind makes my mind god. Not a good story.

Relationships are morally determined, that is, they are determined by our choices to love and serve. The purpose of the scripture is to introduce us to Jesus so that we might know and love Him and in so doing love and serve one another. If we love Him, we obey Him. That is a good story. It leaves Jesus as God. There is no true knowledge of Jesus without relational obedience to Him.

If we talk about the scriptures as the Word of God there seems to be a tendency to take little bits and pieces, cut and paste them and declare that little bit to be "the Word of God". That way lies deception. There are enough bits that you can make the scriptures say almost anything you want. Your favourite little bit is not "the Word of God" . It is a portion of the scriptures that testify of Jesus. It only has meaning in the whole of the scriptures and ultimately only has meaning in relation to the revelation of Jesus.

Sand is little bits that have broken off the mountain and washed to the sea. To build upon sand it to build upon bits of the scripture broken from their place in the Rock. If we wish to build upon the Rock and know that our house will stand, we must build upon the Rock who is Christ Jesus.

When Jesus opened the disciples minds to understand all in the law, prophets and psalms concerning Himself there was, of course, no New Testament. Once portions that would become the New Testament began to circulate around Paul spoke to Timothy about studying to show your self "approved unto God" by "rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). There can be discussion about what this means but it seems to me that the most important division is between Old Covenant and New, Law and Grace, the nation of Israel and the Body of Christ. Many of the present errors of doctrine and practice amongst believers come from taking Old Covenant practices and teachings and dragging them into the New where they replace grace and the life of Jesus. What do I mean?

Tithing taken out of its Old Covenant context and applied as "the Word of God" for today. Giving 10% in order to be blessed makes God a miserly book keeper rather than a generous Father. But how does tithing speak of Jesus and His kingdom? If you actually study the three tithes of the Old Covenant and the other financial laws around them, it becomes clear that the focus was not just on provision for the priest and temple but on social justice for the nation and the care of the poor. Jesus came to set the captives free not put a legalistic financial burden upon them and then tell the poor they are cursed if they do not tithe.

Worship in the Old Covenant had its 24/7 practice and its experience of God who came and went from the tabernacle or the temple. When we drag that practice into the New Covenant we have people shouting at the ceiling for hours and asking God to come down and touch them and send revival. That is totally destructive of New Testament reality which is "Christ in you the hope of Glory". Such practice makes mockery of the words of Jesus who said that He had given us all authority and that we were to go and make disciples of the nations. Jesus cannot come down. He is already in your if you are HIs. Jesus will not send revival. He has sent you. Such 24/7 shouting and crying matches are manifest rebellion against the words of the Master. They are traditions that make his words of no effect.

What does Old Covenant worship teaching and practice show us about Jesus? It shows us a contrast. As was prophesied in the Old Covenant, God no longer dwells in temples made with hands but in His people. When God

dwells in His people, they never thirst again- they have nothing to cry out for. Their task is to take water to those who do not have it. When God dwells in His people, they have His indwelling presence to take to the world.

We could go on but, please, let us stop using the phrase "The Word of God" for the scriptures. Let us stop using bits and pieces of the scriptures as "The Word of God". Those bits and pieces are sand. Let us know that the scriptures testify of Jesus and that testimony is divided into two Covenants. Let us divide the two correctly. Let us discern what is Old Covenant practice and terminology and let that speak to us of Jesus. It is there to reveal Jesus, not for us to practice. The One who is the fulfillment has come!

Let us understand clearly that there is no life in the scriptures but that they testify of Jesus who does give life.

He is the only Word of God.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Trees and Forests

One of my battles since becoming a christian 40 years ago has been all the apparent contradictions in scripture, as is made obvious by all the differences in theology and doctrines. And always new ones rearing their ugly heads!

Way back then I determined to get to the bottom of this, otherwise I could not say I had "integrity" as a christian. So I've always tried to view scriptures as part of scripture, always taking the step back from the trees to see the forest. I never realised what an amazing path it would be to try and keep that level of perspective! We are constantly bombarded with what the nearest tree looks like, and how many observers demand that all the trees are the same! And then they try to tell you what the forest looks like based on their view of one or two trees.

Whenever I have spoken out to question a tree's importance in the scheme of the whole forest, I get some interesting reactions, as if I'm suggesting that the tree is something other than what is staring us in the face! Many have spent most of their journey gathered around one tree, or wandering around a picturesque stand of pines, or a glade of willows, or a patch of thorns! And others venture on through the forest to find other trees searching for one that looks better and provides better shade, or lets in more sun, or good protection from invading hordes of nasties. Hopefully you get my drift!

What if we could rise above the trees and see the whole forest? What if God said only Jesus will lift you up high enough to see it all! What would the forest look like from such a great height? Would we see individual trees any more? - maybe some shapes and outlines as they merge into the big picture.

So how do we read the bible? Is it possible that we are so obsessed with being biblically correct and finding scriptures to fit our ideas that we can't see what all scripture really says? Maybe when Paul said all scripture is beneficial he meant "all", as in when you look at scripture in its entirety and not individual scriptures.

The big picture is of a God who wanted to share himself so much that he created creatures of free will that could love him without coercion, without seeing his glory, that would find him in the wonder of his creation and recognise that He IS love. Creatures that could choose to become one with Him in their own uniqueness. And He created this huge plan and set it in motion - a plan involving love, redemption, sacrifice, pain, loss, joy, all to bring us to a place of incredible peace and unity where we experience Love - who is God - who is Love. Jesus is the centre of the plan, all of the purpose of life in heaven and earth hinges on Him who was before the foundations of the earth and for all eternity. He who brought the fullness of love into his creation, his people, transformed them, and now lives in them. The fullness of ALL He is, all glory, power - the entirety of the triune God, in these fragile bodies. Made for this purpose. Made for this unity. Made for love.

This big picture is there staring us in the face, if we can step back enough to see it. If we can stop getting obsessed with doctrine after doctrine and embrace the simplicity of God's grace, the centrality of Jesus and his "too good to be true" love for us.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Grace 101

"Perhaps the best definition of grace is “God has done it.” 
The primary declaration of Christianity is not “this do," but "this happened.” The Gospel is not an announcement of something to do, but the good news of what has been done. Martin Luther says “The law says do this and never is it done. Grace says believe in this One and it is already done. We don’t do anything, we don’t give anything to God, but we receive and allow someone else to do all the work for us and in us and it’s God that does it”. God is the subject and we are the object. Of course it helps greatly to be a receptive and responsive object. The gospel is the good news of what God has done, not an announcement of what we are to do. What we are to do is to respond to what God has done. We respond by faith to God’s gracious provision for us." 
Mike Quarles via Steve McVey

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Fruit of Life

Age defies, grows and dies
Love, deep - a lake of longing
  Smooth, calm, drifting, sparkling
The heart's seasons ebb and flow
  Cycles of passing through realm to realm
Leaving and arriving
A violent sadness subsides
  Peace comes slowly, joy infuses its rest
    New growth brings new fruit
      Roots once deep seek new soil
        I can smell it, feel it...
How can pain and joy be friends?
  How can they lift a soul in hands of passion,
    Compassion, old hands, old friends
Does the fruit of life find its ripeness in eternity?
  Does life lost find its completion as it falls to the ground
    New shoots bringing forth a new species
      Tastes unknown, unthought, unbelieved
Age defies, dies and grows
Love draws His own to peace.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Natural Christian

I've always battled with integrity.

I don't mean in the sense of "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values" so much as "the quality or state of being complete or undivided" (thanks Merriam-Webster). I want to live and "be", consistent, undivided, un-schizophrenic.

Since the day I met God and he turned me upside down I've been at odds to reconcile my heart and mind to my spirit. Now that's good christian terminology there - heart, mind, spirit, reconcile; I could use lots of words like that, but I think I need to elaborate so I can be a bit more "real". I'd read the bible and enjoy the wonders of this incredible God who offered new life, a new perspective, and eternity. But the church didn't match what the bible was saying - this was to a new christian who just read the scriptures, and wondered why they meant something different to the senior church type people who were supposed to understand these things. And then there was what happened inside me. My brain said "this is amazing" but another part of me said "so why isn't anything changing?". So there's three things battling against each other, scripture, the church and my mind.

Now I could pursue this line of thought in depth but I'll save that for another post. What I want to talk about is reconciling all this to create a life style of integrity that is natural and normal. What happens is I would adopt a religious attitude in my actions and relationships that satisfy the church side of things, and a formal relationship with God that tries to shape my thoughts and actions to fit what the church tells me is the correct way to, well. be in relationship, Then there's the part of me that just chats away to God most of the day. Now the strangest thing is these parts often don't come together. I totally devalue the bulk of the time Jesus and me talk about things through the day, and think the most important thing I can do is spend quality time praying and reading scripture and maybe worshipping. Then there's the whole range of expectations that I have to meet when talking to other christians, especially at meetings.

I desperately need to pull this all together to achieve a functional level of integrity! The mind, the struggles, the expectations, the scriptures, the spirit, relationships. So here's the thing; I realise that the bit where I chat away to God through the day is the most important bit. Kind of obvious really, but not with all the other stuff thrown in the mix. So according to the new covenant, that Jesus set up with his death and resurrection, I'm now one with him and he's one with me, my spirit has been remade sin free, and my battle is now to just renew my mind. This is so simple - why didn't someone tell me this 40 years ago!! I've discovered that I can just let go of all the expectations of the church (that includes other christians as well as the institution). I can let go of the perceived religious demands of quiet times, scripture reading, intercession, worship, all that stuff. What I've realised is the most natural relationship I have with God is also the only real relationship. All the others are worthless at best, a lie at least and destructive if the truth be known. So do I read the bible? Yes, when I feel like it. Do I pray? All the time. Do I have quiet times? Whenever I stop to gather my thoughts is really a quiet time, but I do love to go for walks where we can talk about things uninterrupted. What about disciplining myself to study and pray and listen for his voice? I discipline myself to be natural in my relationship with Him. To not listen to religion or the flesh, to allow his unconditional love to infuse every part of me so I can stand one with Jesus and Father, and Holy Spirit. To resist the lies that say "I must", I should", "I need to", and rest in the absolute peace and confidence that I have the entirety of the triune godhead in me now. To let everything that I am come from this place.

Here's some other things I can let go of. The need for waiting in his presence for the glory to come, the need to evangelise, the need to have communion, the need to be baptised, the need to fast and tithe, the need to learn Hebrew and research Jewish history, the need to learn Greek and buy lots of commentaries and concordances and set aside study times, the need to go the the latest greatest conferences, the need to worship and praise him. The need to do anything really. I only have to rest in Him and allow myself to become who he made me by the indwelling and union of his spirit. Then I'll just do whatever he recons would be the best thing to do. If that happens to be any of the above, then great. If not, I'll just soak up as much love as I can get until it just pours out of me so much I can't stop. And the best thing is I can trust him to do this. I can trust Holy Spirit in me to take me on this journey. He is totally trustworthy. He loves me more more than I could imagine.

Do I have scriptures to support all this? You bet! The whole of the New Covenant. I discovered its really easy to think the old covenant is still around and I have to mix it into the new. But the old is gone, Jesus fulfilled it and put it to rest. If I read anything in the new in a way that sounds like the old, I'm reading it wrong!

This is being a natural christian. This is integrity! Jesus plus nothing!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I'll Wait


2 months down the line, and I think I can breath again, most of the time. My Minnie has gone to be with Him. And she got there before me - for some reason I thought I would be first. I always thought I was the waste of space, and she... she was the one with the wisdom, the heart, the insights, the giftings, the integrity.

No, Father didn't want it this way, I guess. So many unfinished dreams, that might not have come to light anyway. But they were there. Our heart for the broken, our love of music, worship, our hunger for truth, for love. Our struggles, battles, victories. He didn't want it this way, but it is, none the less, this way.

I could (will) write tributes. Her greatest heartbreak was for Jesse, that he would no longer have a mum, to hassle and nag him, and spoil him. You'll be OK, she told me, just get on with life, do all the things you always wanted. Yeah, I guess so...

But Father has been taking me on a different journey, showing me such awesome simple truths that...
I don't think I could have made it.

Healing. So many books, teachings, prayers. Healing. Our obsession. But I think I knew she would miss it. The journey was too hard, the simple truth of Jesus "in us" seemed elusive, and yet His love and passion for us kept growing. I knew it, and so did she, but the obsession got in the way. But to die is gain, and she is more healed than any earthly healing could give! And she is using all her wonderful gifts and talents for whatever eternity is offering.

There are so many empty words offered in prayer, so many vain words offered in prophesy, none that even come close to just holding a hand. So much well intentioned activity, from hearts that truly care. But the peace of God that passes all understanding, the resting, the all consuming love, the comfort - that's what matters. And if healing comes here and now, what more can we ask for!

So onwards and upwards, with a limp, and knowing that it will all make sense in the fullness of time!

Min's Funeral

Hi everyone!
Our families were chipping in to help with Min's funeral expenses, but circumstances have prevented the bulk of it from being covered. I'm still needing just over $5000.
This has left me in a very embarrassing position so I thought I'd put it out to all you people in the interwebs, if you feel to make a donation. No compulsion, and not tax deductible. Feel free to download her songs!
Donate button is just down on the right.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Observation on Grace

While setting up my website I've been looking at so many books that talk about grace (supposedly) but really talk about getting serious with God and being a real christian, getting real with God, etc (ad nauseum). They all keep saying we have to be more like Christ, do more, strive more, die to self every day, put Him first, do this, do that, blah blah blah... so few actually talk about the real gospel and the truth of what Jesus did...

The gospel is so simple. It saves us and stays with us into eternity. It IS good news. Nothing about it is bad - there is no "yes but". According to Paul in his letters, Jesus is IN us and we are IN Him. He is IN the Father, we are seated with him next to the Father - not will be - we ARE. Our spirit is there already, not when we die. We can't do anything to get closer to Father, we can't get more "anointing", he doesn't "come down" to us, we don't have to beg for more of Him - we have it already!!

The implications of this fact are huge. All we need to do is believe it and let it work in us. We have full unlimited access to the heart of Father right now. He will show what we need when we need it. How to pray, when to pray. He is intimately involved with every aspect of our lives.

We are no longer under ANY law, we don't even have to think in terms of law. We just allow Holy Spirit to be himself in us and us in Him. If we sin, we are forgiven - every sin we will ever commit is already forgiven. We don't get separated from God because of sin, its already gone! If we sin, just thank Jesus for what he did on the cross and go on - he'll give us the grace and strength to fix any mess we make with our sins, so we don't have to worry.

It's all there in the Paul's letters, staring us in the face. Paul was given the revelation of the gospel for the gentiles (that's most of us - and it applies to the jews anyway). He continually talks about the fulness of Christ in us, our position with Him, with Father, Holy Spirit, he keeps saying it over and over, but we just keep missing it and want to "get more of God" in some way. We want to pursue some religious activity to feel more worthy, to make sure we don't distance ourselves, keep repenting of sins, get lots of inner healing, pray more, tithe (don't get me started on that), intercede. None of these things are even good "principles". If we live by "principles" we are back under the law - yep, that's right, principles are just more laws we hang around our neck! Its just Jesus, nothing but Jesus in us, Jesus plus nothing. That is the gospel, the GOOD news. When we get it, all the other stuff becomes a non-issue, we live Christ, He lives through us. We don't have a license to sin - we don't want to sin when we are one with the fulness of the triune God.

I could rabbit on for ages. I have a library of nearly 1000 books, and I feel like throwing most of them out. They just keep telling me to do more stuff, live by principles, 10 easy steps to intimacy, on and on... even many famous authors and theologians, just keep dumping on us to try harder.

Jesus' yoke is easy, his burden is light, gospel = good news, if it isn't, you aint got it!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Theory of Everything Part 3

Well, there is so much more on my heart that just won't go away, so I'm going to throw around a few more things. These are just ideas and not presented in a very logical flow. More of a "stream of consciousness" (meaning directionless ramble) than a theological expose, but I hope you get the gist of it and don't write me off as a nutter.

In my efforts to keep it simple and get down to the Theory of Everything I seem to keep uncovering more complexity than anything else. I mean this in so many different areas and yet I just can't get away from the feeling that there is a common strand through everything.

OK, that sounds a bit nebulous so I'll try to narrow down on a few things.

Due to our personal circumstances, healing has been the primary focus of our lives at the moment. I have read so many books and scoured the bible on the subject and reached a few conclusions, but none that really "hit the spot", so to speak. Things I know for sure? Jesus healed everyone who came to him, we are instructed to do the same, he provided physical healing for all in his death and Resurrection, so we can heal and know that God wants to heal. But despite all our best efforts there is no guarantee, as yet, not everyone gets healed.

Then there is the whole prophetic thing. There's a huge "revival" in this area and amazingly accurate words have been spoken and God uses many prophets in powerful ways. But there are so many fruitloops and vain, money and power hungry ones around that you don't really want to trust any of it sometimes.

Then I think about the new Grace movement. It is the most freeing and wonderful move of the spirit on the earth at the moment. But there is a tendency to go too far and drift into Universalism. But God still uses it powerfully.

So many revivals, new revelations, new doctrines and all proclaiming they are the latest greatest (that is a generalisation of course). It is so easy to denounce other beliefs and doctrines and throw out the old in a rather ungracious manner. And then have the guardians of the old denounce the new as heresy!

Martin Luther was totally radical in his time with doctrines that changed the course of history. But Wesley came along and added a whole new dimension. If Luther had come across Wesley he would have thought him a heretic! And so the cycle goes on. Each new revelation of the wonders of God, opening up new understandings of His character and grace! And they build on scripture that was staring us in the face but just didn't see it before!

So looking at the current scene in Christendom it seems like we don't know what we don't know - yet. We say we have all we need to know in the scriptures. That the word is what it is and yet our eyes are always being opened to new things - personally and "globally". Until God opens up something new we don't know that we need something new!

Now I keep coming back to this (in some vain attempt to tie things together). We keep reading "scriptures" rather than reading "scripture". We keep looking at the words of Jesus and the apostles for individual instructions about specific things and how to "do" christianity. But all the bible was written in a totally foreign language and culture and the best of translators can only approximate what they think was originally meant. Now before you drag me off and have me flogged, you'll have to bear with me for a bit. We say that its the inspired word of God, but which words? The original Hebrew/Greek? The Greek translation of the Hebrew? And we have to remember that Jesus spoke Aramaic so the original gospels are a translation into Greek of what he spoke anyway. And then the KJV is claimed by many to be the truly inspired translation. And on it goes! So we can say God inspires all the translations over the years so they are all accurate. But there are so many internal contradictions that we just keep running headlong into - this is the very reason we have so many denominations and cults, all claiming to be truly inspired by scripture. But we all know that you can prove anything with scripture!

Are you still with me? As far as I can see God knew exactly what would happen with the bible (one would hope so!), and that's not just with translations but even how the original canon of the bible was put together. Now after all that, I'm most definitely NOT saying scripture is a mess and is uninspired by the Holy Spirit or not the written word of God!

Its possible that we have ALL been right about a lot of things, and ALL been wrong about equally as much. And here is another interesting thing, if I trust that God is drawing you into union with him by the same act of Jesus that allows me to be in union with him, then I have to trust that what he reveals to you is his heart for YOU - not me! So he could tell me one thing that I know is supported by scriptures and he could be telling you something else about the same scriptures! My only job is to encourage you to take full advantage of Jesus sacrifice, that enables you to embrace the Father with no sin (guilt, shame or otherwise), so you can become one with him and he with you - and bring all the treasures of the written word to life.

So back to the bible itself. We have to remember a few basics:
  • The Old Testament was written without the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus - it only looked forward to it
  • All that Jesus spoke was before he completed his sacrificial work so much must be read in that light
  • Paul spoke mostly to churches that were battling with different problems, some even heretical, and to different audiences in different cultures
With that in mind there is no hope if we try to apply everything that is written literally and build doctrines around it. Look at all the books that have been written over the years - so many that are in complete disagreement, so many that give "revelation" about some matter that was God's key to that particular person but then thousands grab it for themselves claiming it for their own!

To be responsible for our own revelations, to take the time to embrace Father and listen to him, to walk in the incredible depth of the freedom of Jesus' death and resurrection is a huge undertaking. It most definitely is not abandoning the wonders of the written word for some wishy washy personal "God can be anything to anyone"! It is the most wonderful responsibility that he has given us, to take the gospel at face value, come to the Father and let him bring ALL the written words to life in our hearts so that we can be the life of Christ, NOT a people who just argue over a bunch of scriptures and laws and how to apply them and live by certain standards.

Did any of this make sense? I'll keep working on it...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

New Breed

I think a new breed of christian is being birthed.
The seeds have been there for a long time, the whispers of the spirit.
A breed that isn't concerned with the law, with principles, obsessed with applying keys and steps.
The law becoming a distant memory - grace superseding the law
A breed that isn't obsessed with cause and effect, with living up to expectations.
Creatures who are so in love and passionate about Jesus that they don't even think about if they are sinning or not - they are just living in Father's presence - gladly, joyfully, playfully doing life with Father.
Not even concerned about being obedient but happily living, loving, crying, partnering, worshiping their wonderful God - who talks, plays, confides, laughs and cries with them.
Birthing a new era of freedom that ascends way beyond the walls of church buildings, doctrines, denominations.
A thing of such incredible beauty and power that the world won't know what's hit it.

Of course, I could just be dreaming, but I can feel it...

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mins songs

To all you fans of Min's songs. I've put all of the songs we did back in '94 up for listening and download. 

Please bear in mind it was a fairly primitive recording setup and the keyboard was dreadful (to say nothing of the guy over-playing it).

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Theory of Everything Part 2

Its been some time since my last post. I've attempted a followup many times only to end up scrapping it.

The last few months have stretched me to the limits and I've had a chance to really think about and apply my Theory. It comes down to this: If I don't have an intimate friendship with God based on the absolute freedom given to me by Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection, then I have nothing.

Nothing sounds a little extreme but that is really the truth. I tend to end up applying a principle or method to a situation to get a result. I can see what the bible says about a particular problem and apply all the right principles and expect the right result. The scary thing is, it works most of the time. If I apply all the principles of blessings and curses in the Old Testament (not just the Mosaic law but stuff in Psalms and Proverbs etc - good stuff that makes sense, I'll live a good life and be blessed. But will I walk in the power and wisdom that comes from knowing my loving Father as a friend/lover/master/brother? Will I hear the whisper of His loving voice guiding and directing in every step of my life? Will I know without a doubt then when he says "pray for that guy and he will be healed" that he will? Can I live a truly miraculous life doing greater things than Jesus did (which he said we would)?

I don't want to live a good life and just do the good things we are supposed to do. I have tasted enough intimacy with God to be spoiled for anything else. When I was first "saved" as a teenager, it was totally amazing. I only knew the Anglican church and yet I was overwhelmed by this amazing God who lived a miraculous life in Jesus and poured out his love and power, for us to do the same, into his church. I was spoilt for it from day 1.

So I can hardly pray sometimes because its just a ritual - a good ritual, I know all the right things to do and I know God hears me. Its not like there's anything wrong as such - its just not good enough, not like I'm relating intimately to a lover, or confiding in my oldest bestest friend, or cuddling into my daddy's arms and just resting there feeling loved. And yet this is what the bible screams at me every time I read it. Its like, this has to be the centrality of my christian life and everything comes from there. I pray something because that's what Father said I should pray, as I sat snuggled on his lap. I help someone because my "best friend" told me that's what they really needed. I actually healed someone because Holy Spirit said that they were ready and all I need to do was lay hands on them. I don't read the bible and do all the good things it says because that's what it says - I do it because I love my Dad so much and I have such an amazing relationship with him that I just wholeheartedly and willingly do the very next thing he says to do without any thought of "doing the right things". I read the bible then to keep me on track, to draw me closer, to pull me back to him if I wander off, to help in the hard times when I can't get close because the pain and circumstances of life get in the way.

I can't go back, I can't live like a good christian. I want to live in his wonderful presence every moment. And the strangest/scariest thing of all, is that's how he wants it and is inviting me to live like it. Its there in his word - all the way through from Genesis to Revelation, and I just keep missing it. Or calling it too hard and/or super spiritual and/or unrealistic. But its the greater reality, and once you taste it, anything else is just compromise and second best.

So that's where I'm at, heart on my sleeve, and a not really adequate description. But this is no sudden thing, its 40 years of a journey that really feels like I've just begun.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Theory of Everything

In the field of theoretical physics the holy grail is the "Theory of Everything". There are lots of theories about the nature of matter - from sub-atomic to the massive interactions of galactic proportions. But most physicists are trying to put together an underlying theory that explains all matter, the most fundamental thing that makes all of the universe what it is (I have no concept of what the maths behind that might look like even though I do try to wade through papers on String Theory, Dark Matter, Relativity and Quantum Mechanics).

As a christian I've always wanted to have a "Theory of Everything". This may sound really odd to most, but it does my head in trying to piece together all the different theologies and doctrines, the contradictions of scripture, methodology, eschatology - so many different thoughts, processes, ways of being, doing, praying, worshipping - 6000 years or so of God interacting with us and still no definitive form of unified christian thought.

I look at all the denominations, even the cults that sit on the edge of Christendom, and see threads of truth, at times intertwining with each other and other times tearing the fabric apart. I can understand how so many thousands of different beliefs and interpretations can exist, our sole source of doctrine is the bible, a book of amazingly detailed and complex accounts of mans relationship to God. There is so much room for interpreting these words into any given culture, paradigm, personal circumstances, mental state, you name it, that it makes me wonder if God really knows what he's doing!

Thus my desire for a Theory of Everything that could bring it all together. I haven't found one yet, but every so often a piece drops into place and something of that big picture starts to make sense. So here's a bit of where I'm coming from, bearing in mind that I may also be as far off the track as our friends from Wako (well hopefully not that far off).

You can take it for granted the the most important thing is having the the eyes of the Holy Spirit when reading scripture. Without his guidance we are totally up the creek, because the bible is, on the surface, just a bunch of stories written over a long time that have some common strands. Only the Holy Spirit can show us the truth behind the words and indeed show us the living word himself. So many questions could be answered immediately by the assumption that most people/groups don't have the Holy Spirit to guide them, thus the disorder and differences. And yet most proclaim the basic principles of Christianity and on close inspection, are obviously living godly lives and are blessed by Him. But then there are huge differences (enough to cause devastating splits in movements, broken relationships, damaged lives, and even in the past, wars). So what's going on?

The bible is the complete representation of God in a written document. If someone wrote a book that was a complete written representation of me (heaven forbid), they could read all the different chapters at different times and think, so this is what Jim is like! Then they might go back to one chapter about my murky past and focus on that for a while and think, "hmm, not so sure about this guy. If that's what he's really like then I don't know about the other stuff". Or they could read an amazing chapter about peace, love and happiness and totally forget about the other stuff that makes up the totality of who I am (that's a bit simplistic but I hope you get the point).

So maybe when we read the bible, first up, we need to read it to get the big picture. We have to know WHO God is as the underlying factor in all our understanding. All those books and chapters about all those different people, seeing some part of God's character, sometimes at the expense of other parts. The thread of Gods character starts to become apparent through it all. The amazing, complex character that created us, who made us in that same image (that's scary).

For me, as a christian for nearly 40 years, who's read the bible consistently through that time, done bible college, read zillions of books, numerous conferences etc., the one main thing that comes through is this God that created us as his partners/friends/lovers. It is a consistent theme from the very beginning through to the end. The problem is he had to make us capable of loving him of our own free will, to realise on our own, the extent of his character - his love, power, mercy, grace - his plan for us, our eternal destiny. He couldn't spell it out, swamp us with the whole thing, overload us to the point where we had no choice but to fall on our face and believe, because it would override our free will. The will he gave us to look at something and decide whether for ourselves if we wanted it. To build a unique relationship built totally on the unique character he gave each of us.

Now it gets a bit scary and weird again. That really means that each of us has our own unique relationship with God? Well, the bible seems to indicate that. The problem is how do we have a unique relationship and yet not drift from the written word into crazy Wakos. Well for me, the entirety of the written word is the representation of the living word (cosmic!) - its who God is, who Jesus is. If you chop out bits of a living organism it dies. If we chop out bits of the bible as we try to understand it it dies for us. We then spend our time trying to breath life into the bits we chopped out.

So... as we approach the word with that attitude He will show us the bits that especially relate to us, the parts of His character that will uniquely bless and change us into the wonderful person he designed. Just like if you get to know me there are things you would be attracted to, common interests and so on, and other things that you might say "well I don't understand that but hey, that's what makes you who you are". And we would grow together as friends and over time the bits you are unsure of would start to become clear and you would understand how they fit into who I am and even get to like everything about me (this analogy is beginning to scare me!). you would soon see that that book that was written about me was accurate, but wasn't the same as actually getting to know me as an intimate friend so you would actually understand me!

So that's how it is for God. We can easily take the written word and take all the little bits and never actually take the time to spend with the living word and let him piece them altogether into a unique understanding based on that relationship.

The good thing about this is we can then look to each other, with our own unique relationships and draw insights from each other, and then turn back to Him and say "oh, I didn't know that about you?! how cool!" and add another level of depth to our relationship with him.

Now, my Theory of Everything? Hopefully you can see where I'm heading. RELATIONSHIP! The written word is nothing more and nothing less than a tool to to enter into relationship with the living word, Jesus (Give me some poetic license here thanks, although I think it may be truer than we realise - have to pray about that one...). Our relationship with God is deep, intimate, ever unfolding and is the source of everything to us. All scriptures must be interpreted through that relationship - and that is really scary! What if the relationship is not too good or non-existent? Could explain a lot.

I may have left more questions than answers and I may well get branded a heretic, but that is probably because I need to build more on this subject - and you probably need to read that book about me to understand where I'm coming from (lol, unfortunately God is the author of that book and its definitely not on the best sellers list). I'll write more on this, as time and brain cells allow, as I have left out so much - This is as much for my benefit as yours, as I try to formalise all my rambling! I welcome constructive comments.