To HELL with church!!!

angry

Yes, that’s passed through my mind a few times over the years… Maybe it’s made the craggy trek across your mind too? It may have never left your mind! In either case, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from…

You might think that church is a dusty old place where people go because they need a “crutch” in life. Or, you might believe the church is a money grubbing group of selfish thieves looking for a payday out of the folds of your wallet! You may even believe that the church is littered with a bunch of “wandering zombies” flailing around with their hands outstretched spouting the mantra, “praise the Lord, praise the Lord, praise the Lord.”  Point being, most of us have experienced church in different ways; some good and some down right ugly…

Let me propose to you that the church is simply “people” just like you and me. It’s not a building and it’s not a belief, it’s people.

Some of us are broken, a few angry, many sad, many more disconnected, but all of us are sinful and often downright tired.  Sadly, many people miss that we (the church) can also be filled with joy, peace and an unquenchable love!  A love that can only come from a people that have experienced the grace found in their savior, Jesus.

And the best thing about finding a really great church is that it’s a place where you can find rest… Real rest… The kind of rest that all of us really want deep down inside.

Are you tired? Maybe it’s time for some rest. The “church” is filled with people just like you and me that help each other, encourage one another and bring the healing and rest we all need.  And remember, you might just be surprised what you find!

(Revised re-post)

How to Follow Your Dreams with #NoRegrets

Wow, what a great post and dose of reality. I see this play out in the church (and in my own life) big time! Thanks for the truth Joe, even if it jabs a bit…

rebel pilgrim

The following essay is a (rather extensive) rewrite of a post from last year. After teaching this weekend on the topic of No Regrets at The Vineyard, this seemed timely. If you missed it, you can watch or listen to the message here. (Skip ahead to the 22 min. mark to see the teaching.) You can aslo read my previous post called Dying People Have 5 Big Regrets. The following addresses the #1 Regret: Living the life others wanted me to live, instead of the life I wanted.

“Hey, Joe. How can I become a _________?”

I get this question all the time.

The fill-in-the-blank changes with the questioner. People ask me how to become an author or screenwriter or actor or movie producer or pastor. These are all things I do, so I suppose it makes sense that people would ask my advice. I still reach…

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Quote of the Day ~ The Changes We’ve Made

Great stuff!

Holy. Just. Love.

First dentistry was painless;
Then bicycles were chainless
And carriages were horseless
And may laws, enforceless.

Next, cookery was fireless,
Telegraphy was wireless,
Cigars were nicotineless
And coffee, caffeineless.

Soon oranges were seedless,
The putting green was weedless,
The college boy hatless,
The proper diet, fatless.

Now motor roads are dustless,
The latest steel is rustless,
Our tennis courts are sodless,
Our new religions, godless.

 

Aurthur Guiterman, Gaily the Troubadour, 1936.

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Living this life often times feels very lonely…

…and often appears as if God has completely left us. Just ask Jesus…

He was betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by one of his best friends, left with only silence by his Father as He pleaded for the cross to not be the only way, insulted and shamed by his own people and family, beaten senselessly by the Roman soldiers and hung on a cross to experience an unbelievably agonizing death. But God had a plan in Jesus’ loneliness and pain… You. You were His plan…

And God has a plan in your silence too. But it often takes time.

When your world feels like it’s crashing in all around you, take a moment to remember what Jesus went through on your behalf.  You will gain a completely different perspective, knowing that God is working in your life in a way that you simply don’t see.  AND, it’s an awesome work that will be revealed in its due time…

Want to know why we can’t stand the religious zealots?

You know who these people are…
– They are the one’s that demand you live the way they do; righteously…
– They pretend they have it all together, but we know the truth…
– They are total hypocrites and don’t fool us for a second; we see them for what they really are…
– They think more of themselves than they do of others… they’re pathetic!

But why do they make us so angry?  What is it about them that gets our blood boiling? Maybe it’s because often times, we are the one’s that are religious.

Can you relate to the following?
– Your spouse needs to get with the program and take care of your needs… Isn’t that what the bible says?
– A friend of yours just blew it, and you say to yourself, “I’m glad I’m not that stupid. He needs to get right with God!”
– Someone flies by you going 80, and you think to yourself, “What an idiot.  I hope a cop nails that jerk…” as you roll through the next stop sign.

Religion stinks, but the reality is that we are ALL religious and we simply don’t like to see it when we look in the mirror.

Folks, it’s time to get REAL!
– Real with our own struggles, admitting that we can be just as sinful as the next person…
– Real in our relationships with others, knowing that we need as much grace as they do…
– Real with a God who loves us; daring to accept His forgiveness after we confess how wretched we’ve become…

Once we have this incredible realization, we see people differently.  We see them with grace. We give them compassion. We accept them right where they’re at, and we come to the place where are are no longer “looking” for things wrong in them, rather we pray for them, asking God to bless them, even when they sin.

And, finally we accept that we are a desperately fallen person that needs an immeasurable amount of grace our-self!  This is what give us the freedom to love those that fall short all around us.  We act like Jesus towards them, instead of like a judge looking for justice.

Dare to see people through the lens of grace.  It’s a freedom that deals a death blow to your anger, resentment and piety.  It’s a freedom that only comes from being real with ourselves, God and others…

big fog ponders… prison

Joseph spent 13 years in prison. He never turned from God but stayed faithful.  In the end, after his faithfulness, God gave Joseph an incredible blessing.

Two questions to ask yourself…

What prison do you find yourself in today?
Are you willing to endure, to finish the race; even if it means suffering in your prison for an undetermined amount of time?

Your blessing could be right around the corner… Hang in there!

I think my dog represents Jesus…

I think my dog represents Jesus...

…better than most people that I know, including myself…

– She’s excited to see me when I come home…
– She crawls up into my lap and just loves on me when I’m feeling down…
– When I get mad and yell at her she always forgives me immediately…
– She accepts me unconditionally…
– She actually makes me a better person…

Yup, my dog is just like Jesus… But what are we like to those around us?