Category Archives: GOD’S PASSION

For the past few months my preoccupation has been how relentless God is in enticing people to come back and be “at home” with him. The things you’ll find here are sort of provocative. You might have some feelings or issues with what I’m saying, but give it a read and then drop me a note if you care to. I’d love to hear what you believe about these things.

God’s Passionate Pursuit of People #5

God is after friends. He uses every means possible (and some impossible) to leave a bread trail back to him and his paradise…

(This is the final installment of this theme of God’s Passionate Pursuit of People. You can read the other installments in musingthemysteries.wordpress.com or view the entire paper on barneywiget.com.)

Field #5 – CHRISTIANS

If what I’m saying about God and his persistent pursuit of friends is true, I trust that you can see what kind of colossal influence it might have on our witness to these potential friends of his. It’s certainly affected the way, and the spirit in which, I share his love with people lately. As I tell you how, please know that there are many many other things that could be part of a discussion about “evangelism,” but I limit my focus to the topic at hand. These are some things that are changing in how I do what I do since I’ve been more aware of how much God does what he does to make people aware of his love. Continue reading

God’s Passionate Pursuit of People #4

(You can find this entire paper on barneywiget.com)

In the last post I wrote about the first 2 “fields” in which God plants seeds: creation and conscience. In this post you’ll find fields #3 and #4.

Field #3 – CULTURE

Sometimes when I hear Carlos Santana play the guitar (as far as I know, is not a follower of Jesus) I think I feel the presence of God. The same thing happens when I gaze at a painting by Rembrandt or read the novels of Twain. I’ve finally come to the realization that the artist doesn’t have to be a Christian to exude through his art the creativity of God. When he makes a sunset and when he gives the gift of artistic talent to someone, God reveals himself.

Through what he made directly (in creation:  eagles, snow-peaked mountains, etc.), God left clues about his power. But he continues to cultivate an awareness of his person through the things he makes indirectly ­through people (in culture:  art, community, science, tradition, etc.).

Continue reading

God’s passionate pursuit of people #3

(You can find this entire paper on barneywiget.com)

FIVE FIELDS

I propose that there are five fields in which the stubborn Sower sows his seed (and into which the furious wind of the Spirit wafts it). There may be more, but these are the fields that I’m aware of from both my understanding of the Bible and my own observation. He’s not passive but passionate in propagating his truth in every place possible.

His clues are like breadcrumb trails for us to find our way back home to him. These clues can be rationally and even instinctually unavoidable. He reaches out to every part of our being – I guess he knows something about our “parts,” having invented and installed them all. He’s not just trying to get into our heads, but our hearts. His breadcrumb clues actually nourish us on the journey back to show us he’s our sustenance. But he also drops hints like rose petals leading up to the bedroom! He’s not just interested that we know that he is, but that we know he’s a lover.

He’s not passive but passionate

in propagating his truth in

every place possible.

I hope I can convince you how prodigal the Sower is in his distribution of seed and the importance of each of these fields into which he generously sows his clues among the people he loves. I call these five fields: Creation, Conscience, Culture, Creed, and Christians. Continue reading

God’s passionate pursuit of people #2

This paper is called:  God’s Passionate Pursuit of People, and the introduction was called:  “I’m seeing God in More Places Than I Used To.” If prefer to see the whole paper and read it that way, go to barneywiget.com. 

We all know the stories about Adam and Eve and Abraham and Moses and the like, and how God went after them. But what about the less than obvious cases, the off-the-beaten-trail examples of non-Jewish people like Job the sufferer, Balaam the pagan prophet, Abimelech the pagan king, Rahab the prostitute, the Magi from the East, Cornelius the Roman Centurion, and many others? How did they learn about God, and how did they come to have faith in him without having a Bible to read or a person to tell them? What about people in places on the planet where there are no Bibles or Christians, Internet, or TV preachers? Or how should we think about people involved in other spiritual paths? Are all of them going the diametrically opposite way of The Way? Can God get through to them (either through their religion or in spite of it) or is the vast majority of the world going to hell without any idea of a God who loves them?  Continue reading

God’s Passionate Pursuit of People (Part 1)

Noticing God in more places than I used to…

A couple of things have been changing in my thinking about God. First, I’m noticing him in more places than I used to. I’m used to seeing him in the Bible, in other people (mostly Christians), in my experiences in the Spirit, in the Church, in sunsets, and such places. But I’m starting to think he plants ideas about himself in more fields than I had previously thought. And then I’m becoming more aware of his passionate pursuit of people through those ideas that he’s sowing throughout the world. I just don’t believe that God is sitting on his hands, waiting for someone to volunteer to be a missionary! He is already at work in every heart in every place before anyone ever goes there to tell them about Jesus. Yeah, he’s patient but I don’t think he’s at all passive. God is the ultimate missionary. He’s more obsessed about bringing his children back home than we are in trying to convince them to do so; and he does something about his “obsession.”

When I look back to the time when I found Jesus, it is crystal clear to me now that he actually found me. He’d been following me around all my life, and I finally looked over my shoulder and noticed him. The day I asked Jesus to save me, it was much more because he was drawing me to himself than because the preacher said I should.

I point this out because I think that many of us hold to the less than worthy idea that God finished his outreaching when he sent Jesus to pay for our sins, and that now he sort of sits back and waits for people to take advantage of it or not. He completed the active part of saving us, but now he’s more passive as he waits for people to believe. I never thought of him as apathetic so much, but primarily sympathetic as he patiently waits for people to receive the gift he offers. But I’m beginning to see things a little differently now. I envision him in an unrelenting search for the people he loves. I think he’s as relentless in his quest for people to enjoy his redemption as he was eager to send the Redeemer in the first place.

I have ongoing conversations with a couple of friends of mine:  Bazim, a young Iranian man with whom I’ve recently made an acquaintance, and Steve, a young guy who became a Christian about a year ago. When I first brought up the subject of Jesus to him, Bazim said to me, “I love Jesus.” He wouldn’t consider himself a Christian yet (and neither would I), but everything that he knows about Jesus has led him to the conclusion that he was (or is) a very good man; so good, that he felt he could say that he “loved” him. Granted, the kind of “love” to which he was referring seems to be more of a fondness for the kind of life Jesus lived than the faith-filled love of a disciple. Bazim is not a Muslim nor does he have the slightest inclination for any “organized religion” (if people only knew how “disorganized” we Christians are), but he claims to have a “love” for Jesus, at least in as much as he knows about him. Where did he get this affection?

Steve has a love for Jesus also, but he is what we might say, further along in his revelation of him, and he loves the Lord in a much more personal way. Steve met Jesus when he O.D.’d on a dozen hits of ecstasy and a preposterous amount of nitrous oxide (these are street drugs, these amounts of which would’ve killed him had God not intervened and saved his life at the same time he saved his soul!) God turned the volume all the way up in Steve’s spirit and spoke audibly to him while he was stoned out of his mind. He became an avid follower of Jesus that day and hasn’t looked back since!

So, I’ve been thinking about God and the ways he reveals himself to his lost and confused people, how resilient he is to our rejections, and how relentlessly he vies for our attention until he gets it one way or the other. I think he’s been this way from the beginning. Even though he’s wrapped in mystery and sometimes “hides in darkness,” he is a God whose personality it is to reveal himself to the people he loves. To put it more bluntly, he’s “after people” all the time! Some people talk about “chasing after God” (and their point is well taken to mean that we should be pursuing him with all our hearts), but I’m talking about him chasing us, especially the lost ones of us.

I’d like to share here about what God has been showing me lately about how wide is his mercy and how stubborn is his love. He’s all about convincing people that he exists and that he wants a friendship with us. Since learning some of these things I’ve had more faith for my friends like Bazim to become full-on followers of Jesus and for more people like Steve to get born-again while hallucinating on lethal doses of drugs (or whatever the sources of their God-denying hallucinations). He’s relentless about revealing himself to Iranians, druggees, and pretty much everyone on the planet. Rather than passively sitting back hoping that the world will believe; he’s on a persistent quest to bring people back into friendship with himself.

I’d like to show you how generous God is in the distribution of revelation about himself. My purpose is to stimulate your thinking about this passionate pursuer of people and encourage your faith that wherever you live and wherever you go, he’s gone before you to show himself to people. And though you play an important part in his plan to make friends for God, you’re not alone in this pursuit. He’s a Relentless Redeemer.