Category Archives: STUFF JESUS SAYS

Confronting Compulsive Consuming (Part 1)

OCD-hoarding

“The amassing of property, without an accompanying love Godward and manward, is suicidal. Increasing material and power are not safe except with proportionately improving character. Society can endure for a time without new inventions; it is doubtful how long it can endure without a better spirit.” George Buttrick (1901)

In the previous post we eaves dropped on what Jesus said to the siblings who asked him to settle their dispute about their inheritance. “Watch out!” he told them. “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

To reinforce his point he told a parable about a hoarder. 

I knew a card-carrying hoarder once. Her tiny apartment was stacked with old magazines, wrappers, and God knows what buried underneath. I always cut my visits to “Glenda” short and I couldn’t wait to get outside again where I would breathe. She’s gone now, no friends to speak of, the ones she had, had long since wearied of the clutter and chaos.   Continue reading

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Every Christian for Himself!  

black friday fight

Come over here, Jesus, and bless me first! My brother can’t wait his turn!

Who would pray a prayer like that?! Most people wouldn’t have the audacity to say it out loud or say it in just those words, but I’ve heard a lot of prayers and observed a bunch of “Christians’” lifestyles that say just that. They seem more devoted to the philosophy of Ayn Rand than the teaching of Jesus, and are so interested in getting “theirs” they couldn’t care less if it comes at the expense of those who couldn’t reach theirs with a fireman’s ladder! Under the auspices of the American Dream, they retranslated the Golden Rule: Do to others before they do it to you.

It’s: Every Christian for himself (and herself)!

The first shall be first and the last shall be last! Continue reading

Demons and the Divided Soul (Part 2 of 2)

demons 2

If you haven’t already read Part 1, I urge you to do so. I broke this essay into pieces just to keep it from being too daunting to tackle as one long post, but this one will make a lot more sense alongside what we said last time. Plus, I encourage you to read the passage we’re unpacking: Luke 11:14-28.

In some Christian circles demons and demonization are never discussed and in others, that’s about all they ever talk about. Whichever camp you’re in I hope to encourage you to move to a place somewhere in between the two where you recognize demons when you “see” them and know what to do about it. Continue reading

Demons and the Divided Soul (Part 1)

demons

I’ve experienced an uptick of spiritual assaults lately. It might not be more than usual. Maybe I’ve just been more aware of it or more vulnerable to it by token of my own divided heart. It’s well known that hell has committed a sizeable legion to my city, some are of Satan’s foot soldiers rage out in the open and others, more subtle, do their best work in more secretive ways. Since I doubt that San Francisco hosts the only satanic military base in America I thought I might share a few thoughts about spiritual battle from one particular passage that has appeared on my radar recently.

The point of these few posts is not to say everything you wanted to know about demons or to reveal some special prayer to pray to get rid of them. I don’t claim any sort of expertise on the matter of the mechanics of deliverance or taking down territorial spirits. Instead, I want to share about the danger of divided soul and how the adversary is skilled at taking advantage of a “house divided against itself.” Continue reading

Who Was That Masked Man? (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 2)

walking

You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.  Luke 19:44

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  1 Corinthians 2:10

I’ve been bemoaning the relative depth of my own commonplace Christianity and what seems so typical among many Christians and their churches. In my last post I talked about how we shut the door to exploring the realm and the Person of God any further than our initial salvation and have no expectation or intention of delving any deeper. God’s invitation to a deeper place begins with our dissatisfaction with the place we’re in.

After his resurrection Jesus made some curious appearances, including his stroll with a couple of befuddled believers on the road to Emmaus.

As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him . . . we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel . . . it is the third day since all this took place. Luke 24:15-16, 21

Strange episode. Right? They were walking with Jesus complaining to Jesus that Jesus was gone and wasn’t coming back! If that doesn’t depict us when we’re hot and bothered about something going on in our lives and interrogating God about why he doesn’t hear our complaint. Continue reading

He is not here; he has risen! (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 1)

deeper

“If you were to fall into the sea, and were that sea infinite, you would fall from one depth to another for all eternity. This is how it is with the Christian who is continuously abiding in him. He is sinking with inconceivable swiftness to the most inward depths of God.” Jeanne Guyon

“Put out into deep water…” Luke 5:4

No one plans to be a shallow Christian. But it does take some forethought and action to be a deeper one. Deep spirituality doesn’t happen by default.

Some people are shallow in their walk with God simply because they didn’t realize that the form of faith that was modeled to them and into which they were invited was shallow from the start. Superficiality is all they know, all they’ve been exposed to.

Others were blessed with a better beginning and were on a trajectory to dive progressively deeper into the mystery of who God is, but somewhere along the line they got waylaid and took a detour into a decidedly thin version of Christianity. Their faith became increasingly trivial. They read the Bible, pray, go to church most Sundays, give offerings, and even help other people when they get a chance; but their spirituality is more superficial than not. Continue reading

How Wide Is Your Welcome? (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome matIn Part 1 I noted how the twelve, like us, had a hard time accepting people outside their own spiritual circle. “Those other so-called Christians might believe in Jesus but they believe a little different than us. They don’t worship enough, or maybe too much. They don’t evangelize the way we do or pray in a way that is unfamiliar to us. They’re not strict enough in their practice of faith or they’re too strict. They have a different name on their church sign than ours, so they can’t possibly be as right as we are!”

There’s a church in our community whose sign you can see from the freeway called “The True Jesus Church.” It’s a clear message to all who pass by that there is at least one church in town that presents the True Jesus. I guess all the others worship an untrue Jesus?

As we saw last time, we don’t have a very wide welcome if we seek to shut up those who belong to a different expression of the Kingdom. But, as Luke’s adjacent story reveals it becomes obvious that these same disciples had such a narrow welcome that they prayed to burn up people who reject them and their Jesus. Continue reading