Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I have a confession to make.

I engage in a lot of theological/doctrinal discussion, and part of me desperately wants to pull all the loose threads of christendom and the nature of God and man together, as well as the salvation of all mankind.

I read lots of books, endless articles, all discussing minute aspects of scripture - revealing incredible layers of revelation that weave through all biblical history. Heaps of testimonies about healing, miracles, near death experiences, provision, victory...

But they are all at odds with each other. Yeah, lots of common ideas, but lots of complete contradictions. Even scripture is full of contradictions/paradox. People forever trying to disprove each other and gather supporters, tearing down and belittling others in the process.

And I'm rather tired of it all.

I know in my own heart what God is showing me, and its really simple. So what is to say I'm any "righter" than any one else? Nothing I guess. But it's where I'm at (ask again next week). So what's so simple?


We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16).

These simple words are the underlying truth that everything stands on. They summarise all theology and doctrine. Its the beginning and end of all we are. Its the only message that any man needs to know. It's the Gospel. Read these words carefully, look at the construction of the sentence (in any translation). If John was actually right, then all our endless discussions are just for entertainment value at best, and a total waste of our lives at worst.

I guess I'll still discuss and argue doctrine, but it all turns into clanging gongs in the end - just our stupid ideas... and how precious those ideas can become: healing, salvation, atonement, holiness, anointing, hell, calvinism, baptism, rapture, prophesy, armageddon, and the list goes on and on and on.

I find myself more and more just wanting to grab people and shake them, saying stop!! get your head out of all this and just let God love you! That's all! And the best news is; all who live in love, live in God and God lives in them! Am I basing my entire life on one scripture. You bet!! Are there other scriptures that need to be considered? Only if they line up with this as the centrality of all we read and understand. And yeah, its not just one scripture - this message is woven through all scripture, we just keep missing it!

Oh yeah, my confession? I don't care about christianity any more, its dead. I just love Jesus because He loves me.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Scary Now

The changes tear
Eyes squint to strain
Wind spiked tears bleed down cheeks
Salty tracks crack with a smile
To what am I led
   With delightful wisps of promise?
To where am I dragged
   Through gravel loss and sweet meadow gain?

Past chains drop link by link
Yet bruises still grip, rusty skin stains burn.
Face the warming sun, the breeze green grass
This moment, this moment
Is freer than the last, but -
There is no past to compare now
There is no future to despair now
This moment is I am, is who am I?
Is untried baby steps, is floating
Is not-fear, peaceful confusion

An open space, so open
Could I have dreamed?
Am I still hoping, to heal the bruises?
   Scrub the rust from from tender skin?
Nothing is as it was as I thought
And this new light blows
   Through everything
Singing and sighing
Like spring's first blush

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Stuck in the middle with Jesus

What, only a few hours since my last blog? The old brain cell is working overtime again!

Stuck in the middle of what with Jesus?

The middle of the two covenants! The death of the old and the creation of the new. And in my humble opinion most of us get stuck in the middle of the two covenants, not being able to figure out quite which way to go.

Now I know most of us are quite happy about walking away from the old and embracing the new, and for many of us its the most cathartic experience in our lives when we realise that the old is totally and utterly gone and we are now living in complete freedom, in union with God.

BUT...   What do we do with the teachings of Jesus?

Most of us are taught that we are to live by his teachings, first and foremost. That the words of Jesus are the most important guide to life we have. But if we take a closer look at them and compare His teachings to Paul's, we start to see a lot of discrepancies! Jesus preached a VERY hard lifestyle. He raised the bar on sin so high that it is impossible to live by those standards. All his parables, allegories and metaphors, paint hard pictures, harsh consequences, and strict judgement. But Paul's gospel is different. Full of God's unconditional love and acceptance of us. The bar on sin was raised so high it just disappeared - Jesus removed it from the equation.

So what do we make of Jesus teachings? It's really simple. He hadn't completed the transition to the New covenant while he walked the earth. He was born under the Old, lived under the Old, preached under the Old and died under the Old. Yes, he often pointed to the New, but nobody understood until the gift of hindsight brought its wisdom! When He was raised from the dead, the New began (some even say it wasn't even until the Holy Spirit came - who knows, the issue is really about what He taught).

Jesus audience was the Jews. He bumped into a few Samaritans and gentiles and spoke to them in quite a  different tone. But most of his teachings were to the Jews under the Old covenant. They don't apply to us!


But like it or not, they don't. Even the beatitudes, as good sounding as they are, are all just to show up the failings of the Old. The Lord's prayer, same, with a bit of pointing to the New just to top it off.

Here's a challenge... just try reading the gospels with that in mind, that its sole purpose is to the Jews under the Old covenant, to show how hard it is to live up to the standards they had created. To show them the burden they had created for themselves and the mess they had made of everything. (I'll leave the purpose and validity of the laws with their harsh demands and consequences for another time).

If we are trying to live by Jesus teachings we have completely missed the boat, we have stepped off the wharf and are about to drown with the boat sailing off into the sunset. Paul's gospel is the truth of the life we are to live. He was given a snippet of the depth of what Jesus did and how incredible God's heart for us really is. And dare I say, Paul was only the beginning and it seemed he struggled with coming to terms with cultural values, social applications etc. He even sometimes threw some bits of the Old back into the mix without realising, while trying to sort out misunderstandings and the general mess left by many who just didn't get it!

Reading the New Testament with this lens, it all starts to make sense. It becomes really simple. It unravels a lot of doctrinal mazes and presents us with a clear, understandable, beautiful picture of God's heart.

Yes, this puts the bible into a different light. Suddenly it's not the literal "Word of God", its the record of how God made the way clear for us to live loved. Its His heart spoken through the shakey words of men in awe of what He's done. Men who were still grappling to apply this amazing gospel. And it gives us the keys to do the same. Its not an instruction book on how to be a christian, and neither are Jesus' teachings the way to live.
Our union with God, through Christ, and Holy Spirit, is the source of all our revelation and knowledge of Himself. The bible supports that knowledge and encourages us to relationship. Relationship is what its all about!

Don't get stuck in the middle with Jesus - move on into the fullness and freedom of the gospel!

To War!!

Recently, I've been posting and responding to comments on Facebook about war.

I've discovered there are many christians who actually endorse acts of war and even some who harbor anger and hate for anything "foreign" behind a christian mask.

There are many christians in the military, all for their own various reasons, and its not for me to question that. But I do question the whole waring mentality ESPECIALLY amongst christians. I'm surprised at the type of reactions I get from these comments, especially amongst those who profess their understanding of grace and the unconditional love of God.

After some interaction with a guy who openly declared his loathing for certain other faiths, I responded with this:

"No one would despise those who truly fight to defend the lives of loved ones. But those who die for an ideal that may or may not be truly founded in reality and love, have probably died in vain. Their loss is no less, and those who grieve should be comforted, because the passion of those who fought was founded in sincerity and the commitment and loyalty to a cause that seemed to be the right thing at the right time.
But, as with many things, we grow and understand that there are always other solutions, hindsight should give us wisdom, although history usually proves that we learn nothing from history!
If we see a "fight for freedom" exclusively expressed through violence, we have truly progressed no further than the Dark Ages, where greed and power were the only motivation to brutality inflict "God's will" on the world.
To endorse war as the only means to peace is deny the very nature of God."

Perhaps I would feel differently if we were invaded, and I'm sure I would attempt to defend my family. But I would definitely encourage those who understand God's heart to intervene before it even got to that point.

I don't give a stuff about politics (although I can like or dislike policies as much as the next person), but really, it makes little difference. If we are prepared to bring God's heart to the world from the ground up, to live from our intimacy with him, then and only then will we see change. Not just in our own neighborhood, but to ALL nations.

Its a big call, but I challenge anyone to tell me its Gods heart to go to war!

Monday, 1 October 2012

All roads lead to Rome

Now that's a title that's bound to get some interest! Jim's lost the plot and headed for the fires of hell, yet again.

Well, I'm not broaching the subject of other religions, I'll save that for some time down the line... But I am talking about doctrines, denominations, theology, paradigms, blah, blah.

I had a run in with someone about "sound doctrine" and if you don't have it you're headed for damnation and need to repent immediately! It was their job to publicly determine who was "sound" and who was a heretic. It doesn't take much to imagine what my response would have been, but I was nice about it!

Sooo, let's take a couple of the most currently contentious doctrines floating around, say, "all are in Christ" and maybe "Universal Reconciliation", "Inclusionists" perhaps, subjective vs objective reconciliation, all that sort of stuff. Its a huge battle as people throw scriptures around trying to prove their points. Books and countless articles, videos and posts about it all. Now you probably know my personal views on some of this stuff, but that's not really the issue.

The point is we need to encourage each other to go for it! Yes, that's right, support and help each other in our quest for truth!

We can trust God in us to guide us, its really that simple. All we need is the integrity and honesty about our journey and the humility to be wrong and the willingness to be stretched. He has given us intelligence, reason, common sense, curiosity, passion and a desire for truth. We need to use these faculties to their fullest. And the best part is He's right there with us in that journey.

Now I can hear some of you saying, "well that's fine as long as its based in scripture, otherwise we'll just drift off into spiritual anarchy and deception". Well, I kinda think God's a little bigger than that. If we are truly living in the integrity I described above, then we can totally trust God to guide us.

The thing is, His grace leads us to intimacy with Him - that's the whole purpose of it. In that place, doctrines become a non-issue, its all about Jesus and us, living loved and all that entails. And from that place we have the permission and the ability to freely pursue all that we put our minds to. His universe (physical and spiritual) is so enormously huge that even the bible is quite a limited document.

That's got a few of you going too, I would guess, but I've covered that in a few previous blogs. Suffice it to say, the bible is awesome and definitely something He left for us to cross reference our life in the Holy Spirit with, but its also been the fuel for the worst atrocities in history.

We are made in His image and we are in union with Him. We are free to use all our God given capabilities and character to pursue His truth, in complete trust that He will guide us. Jesus WILL lead us into all truth.

So my original point? All these doctrines aren't either/or, they are expression of God's heart through us, and we have nothing to fear by pursuing these ideas. Lets help each other in this exciting journey into the enormity of Daddy's heart!!