Get Real

“Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”

Matthew 5:3 GW

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”

Matthew 5:10 GW

Imitate God, since you are the children he loves.

Ephesians 5:1 GW

How do you tell a false prophet from a true prophet?

Or teacher, evangelist, etc.

The false will tell you what you want to hear.

The true will tell you what you need to hear.

The size of a local church body is no indicator of how good that church is.

Some of the largest churches in America teach false doctrine because that’s what greedy, selfish, self-centered people want to hear.

It’s a product.

There’s customers.

And there’s salesmen.

I have nothing against large churches.

I just don’t like phony preachers.

Thankfully, I think we are coming into a new reality.

Millennials aren’t into fake stuff that doesn’t work.

Their lack of engagement with traditional religious games tells us that it’s time to change our game plan.

It used to be there was going to church and there was sinning.

The line was pretty clear.

Now, it’s hard to tell the sinners from the saints.

Celebrity Christian leaders keep falling left and right because God is bringing their moral failures to light.

If our political system is any indicator of our social climate, being a self-serving bully or charlatan has paid off for too long.

We’re sick of it.

In politics, in churches, in the workplace, and in our families.

It’s time to get real.

When I came to Christ, I was desperate.

I was suicidal.

I prayed, “God, if You’re real, save me. And save the rest of the world while You’re at it.”

See?

Even back then, lost in sin, I wasn’t motivated by selfishness.

I just wanted to relieve suffering.

Life is suffering.

The cause of suffering is desire.

I learned that in Buddhism.

Which is a pretty nifty philosophy, but it’s not a religion.

I got as far as I could in Buddhism.

I attained enlightenment.

I realized I was one with the universe and I could not die.

(Physical death is still a reality, but the breath of life returns to its Maker.)

But I still had a problem.

I was addicted to drugs and alcohol.

No amount of wisdom could break those chains.

That’s when I discovered Jesus.

Our human wisdom is foolishness to God.

I needed a Savior.

I needed someone who had power.

Someone who loved me.

And who could help me.

I found Jesus.

He broke my chains in an instant.

Instantly delivered from my bondage with no withdrawals.

I have friends who have experienced the same type of miraculous deliverance.

The trouble is, you need to fight to keep it.

If you turn your back on God.

If you open the door to sin.

The devil’s ready to pounce and take back that territory.

And he’ll send even more demons to possess and oppress you so that he won’t lose his grip on you again.

But God is always greater.

All you need to do is repent.

True repentance.

See your sin for what it is.

And truly be sorry, horrified and heartbroken at your sorry state.

Then, God will graciously, faithfully, and mercifully forgive you and restore you to right relationship with Him.

I want to live in that place.

Always in faith.

My life, in my hands, is a trainwreck.

My life, in His hands, is a masterpiece.

My prayer for you is that God would reveal Himself to you this day.

May you be filled with His Holy Spirit anew.

May rivers of living water spring up within you.

And may we all drown the world in His Love.

Amen.

What’s going to work?

What will bring the youth of our nation to faith?

Inviting them to join us as we serve.

There’s plenty of more entertaining and engaging things to do than listen to somebody talk.

But there’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone in need.

I was out on the streets again this past weekend with my friends.

My faith family.

Serving up food from the back of a pickup truck.

Handing out clothes, shoes, backpacks and blankets.

One guy said, “Portland Christians are the best.”

I tend to agree, but I’m biased.

The spiritual high I experienced after a couple hours of serving the most vulnerable, marginalized and despised members of our city beat any high that drugs or alcohol could provide.

There’s real change taking place.

A little love and respect go a long way.

You can’t save them all.

But for the lives that you do touch, it makes all the difference in the world.

Set the world on fire with His love.

Your light won’t be diminished.

We’re all one in Him anyway.

Who cares who gets the credit?

It’s all for His Glory.

May the love of God invade all our hearts.

In Jesus’ Name I pray.

Amen.

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