Refugees from sin

Refugees fleeing from
Guilt and self-destruction,
Shame and addiction,
You are welcome
In the kingdom of God

True Christians are refugees
Who are escaping
From the chaos
And destruction of sin.

The best refuge
For refugees from sadness
Is the living Jesus.

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Your mental bouquet

Every day
You pick
Your own bouquet,
That plant
The seeds
Of misery,
Or flowers
Of kindness
And hope.

Filling your mind
With bouquets of weeds
Only succeeds
In making you miserable.

Gather good thoughts
Into a fragrant
And beautiful bouquet
Of inner peace
And make it
The centerpiece
Of your mind.

In a balanced bouquet
All the flowers
Contribute to the beauty.
One big sunflower,
Towering over a crowd
Of little pansies,
Is an ineffective way
To make a bouquet.
May all God’s people
Be allowed to share
The beauty of their testimony
When the body of Christ
Gathers in His name.

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The mental wealth of inner health

True mental wealth
Isn’t information that
The mind has memorized,
But a mindset
Overflowing with inner peace.

Too much analysis can deconstruct awe and wonder and make you feel like your life’s just a blunder. Spiritual blindness may be humanity’s biggest problem. The ordinary-izing of the wonders of everyday life hardens our heart to the spectacular world that we live in and to the actions of God that occur both within us and around us, until God sightings become extremely rare.

Breathing the air of arrogance can seem aromatic, but it’s very toxic. Instead of deconstructing the Bible with my analysis, I read the Bible to deconstruct my pride. When my mind and heart are being bombarded by tormenting belligerence, I shelter with the risen Jesus.

God’s touch on a human heart is as tangible as a gentle touch on the skin. Religion without personally experiencing God is like a baby’s pacifier. It offers comfort but no nourishment. Listen-to-a-lovely-little-lesson Christianity falls far short of the inner transformation and daily interaction that the living Jesus offers!

God wants to show you scenes that eye hasn’t seen. Then you can look at eternal things that are unseen and behold His glory! (See 1 Corinthians 2:9 and 10, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 2 Corinthians 4:18, Hebrews 11:27.

After a tormenting night, I was laying on my couch, trying to get some more sleep while praying and resisting the worry that was trying to overcome me. Suddenly, the sun was in my eyes annoying me, so I got up and noticed the scene in this picture on my pillow. (I had never noticed it before.) Then the words came to my mind, “Trust in My promises.”

When church focuses
On intellect,
Christians neglect
To connect
With Jesus.

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The beauty of hearing beyond words

A lot can happen
If you will listen
To silence.

Let stillness
Settle your inner storms.
Then in the quiet
Enjoy the sweetness
Of peace.

Be still
Until the hush
Of unhurried silence
Opens your heart
To awe.

The beauty
Of peaceful silence
Is beyond words.

All isn’t quiet in silence.
If you listen with stillness
You hear beyond
Sounds and words.

In all of its quietness
Can make beautiful sounds.

Imagine a calculator
That’s never cleared,
All its calculations
Would be skewed.
Let quiet
Clear your mind.

The language
Of the conscience
Needs no translation
In a heart
Willing to hear.

When you go
Over the edge
Of deception,
Silence can help you
Get accurate truth reception.

The substance of silence
Can be heavy.
It requires strength
To listen to it.

If you don’t get tired
Of continual noise,
You may be running
From the truth.

If you find quiet
To be painful
Perhaps you’re hiding
Something shameful.

In peaceful silence
Moments merge
And disappear
Into a timeless unity
Of now.

Silence is threatening
If you’re afraid
To face yourself.

The fear of silence
Enables much noise
That keeps
Imaginary threats

When people
Attack you with words
They don’t expect kindness.
Surprise them.

Some people say
That God is silent
But within me
He expresses Himself
In many ways!

If you’re silent within
God will echo
In your emptiness.

People say
They want to hear
The audible voice of God,
But His quiet, inner voice
Is just as powerful!

Throwing inner fits
Makes you unfit
For inner peace.
Let Jesus
The inner fitness coach
Get you fit
For it.

When the only thing
Between you and God
Is silence,
You’ll hear His voice.

Christ in me
“Inner-gizes” me
From within.

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Church-swap Sunday idea

Let all the Christians
(Including the preachers)
On a certain Sunday
In a particular town
Ask God to send them
To a church other than
The one they normally attend
And when they gather
Say and do
Whatever the risen Jesus
Tells them to.
Would that be chaos or glory?
I believe that the Holy Spirit
Would take control
And the glory of God
Would flood that town
With rivers of living water.

When church is always presented as a 1-man presentation, there’s no room for anyone else to manifest the gifts of the Spirit.

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What’s the source of creativity?

In the stillness of quiet
Sounds of silence
Gather together
And arrange themselves
To compose this poem,
Words that I didn’t hear
With my physical ear.
From what source
Did they appear
In my mind?
Ancient Greeks said
The silent inner sounds
Of inspirational creativity
Come from goddesses
That they called muses.
The early Christians believed
That inspiration flows
From Christ in you
And taught how
Not to quench
God’s Spirit.

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Explan-actions to make faith explicit

Let me explain a new word I coined–explan-actions. It means “to show and demonstrate your faith with your actions, not just to proclaim them with your words–to go beyond making plans and having good intentions and to begin to implement a daily lifestyle of caring about and serving other people.”

Modern Christianity is desperately lacking in explan-actions–actual demonstrations of the presence and power of the living Jesus, instead of merely presenting lectures and ceremonies about religious plans and ideas. Churches give too many explanations of theology and far too few explan-actions that demonstrate the reality of the risen Jesus. They consistently ignore the Bible verse that declares: “Faith without works is dead,” and settle for one-man Sunday talks instead.

According to the Bible, the body of Christ is made up of many parts, not two parts–a preacher giving religious explanations and a congregation passively listening to the preacher’s presentation (clergy and laity). When the body of Christ is set up to be 1% mouth and 99% ears, it vastly veers away from many Bible verses.

All Christians need to be engaging in explan-actions, not just while attending church, but in every area of life. We all need to demonstrate the reality of Jesus with explicit actions that convince people of God’s presence and kindness. We need to do more than to passively hope that people will somehow absorb it implicitly.

Here are a few examples of explan-actions:

  • Doing unexpected acts of kindness.
  • Considering other people’s needs and feelings before your own.
  • Asking someone you have offended to forgive you.
  • Refusing to cooperate with evil.
  • Sacrificing to serve someone.
  • Offering to pray with someone who is hurting.
  • Openly humbling yourself.
  • Refusing to lie or be dishonest.
  • Giving money to someone who needs help.
  • Peacemaking.
  • Showing mercy by forgiving all who have offended you.
  • Loving your enemies.
  • Blessing those who curse you.
  • Pursuing justice for all.

When the Gospel of Christ is demonstrated by consistent explan-actions, it unites people by leading us out of darkness into the light of Christ and transforming our heart so that we can see the truth that sets us free from the deceptions that cause divisiveness. When we see the truth that all people are loved by God and created in His image, we will embrace them as fellow human beings, regardless of our differences. By the power and presence of Christ living inside us, we will even obey Jesus’ command to love and to bless our enemies through explan-actions.

Christ-bearers have a special kinship as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Even if they’ve never met (and come from different backgrounds and racial groups), they recognize an inner, spiritual relationship when they encounter each other in the Spirit. I wrote a book about how God has often connected me heart-to-heart with people who look and think differently than I do. It’s called: Off the RACE Track–From Color-Blind to Color Kind. Search for it on Amazon. 

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The inner calm of transfiguration

The transfiguration of Christ
Isn’t theology to figure out
But a calling to live out.
We can learn to be still
And listen to Jesus,
Ignoring our own impulsive and
Self-motivated marching orders
That satisfy our desire
To build monuments.
Then Christ’s inner presence
Can release a movement
Of living water
That continually flows
And ever-grows
Within and around us!
Instead, church has listened to
And built like Peter,
(Even building three chapels
On Mt. Tabor
Where it is believed that
Jesus’ transfiguration occurred.)
It’s time to learn
To listen to and follow
The inner promptings
Of the Son of God
As we relish the words
Of the law and the prophets
And the holy writings
Of the first Christians
Until we’re transfigured
From within
And our faces shine
With the light of the Son.

Jesus offers inner rivers
Of flowing water,
Not stale puddles
Muddied by routine.

For the calm of your life
Let Jesus’ pure
And peaceful stillness
Undisturbed by desires
Replace your inner storm
With calm contentment.

Life is not designed
To be dominated,
Driven and defined
By desire.

Instead, be still and go
With God’s gentle
Inner flow,
Then you will know
And grow
With Jesus.

Dear Jesus,
Transform me!

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Tanning bed or real sunshine?

Jesus is like sunshine
Radiating in human hearts
For all to see.

Few people want
To sit indoors and hear
Weekly lectures
About the sun.
They’d rather
Be in the sun’s presence
Basking in and absorbing
Its beautiful brightness.
That’s how I feel
About the Son of God!

Jesus shines
With glorious radiance,
As sunlight
Beaming in my soul!

Ceremonies and sermons
Can describe God’s Light,
Like a scientist describing the sun,
But until Jesus enlightens our eyes
Faith hasn’t fully begun.

Spiritual awakening happens
When the light of the risen Jesus
Breaks through the shadows
Of religion’s tanning beds.

Like the sun shinning
In the atmosphere,
Let Jesus shine
In your inner sphere.

There’s no need to settle
For a tanning bed
When real sunlight abounds.
There’s no need to settle
For programmed religion
When the living Jesus
Is brightly shinning
As the Light of the world!

Amazing grace
Let’s you behold
The glorious face
Of God’s Son.

Clouds try to block
Jesus’ sunshine
From my heart
But when their storms
Quench His light,
I watch and wait
Until His brightness
Breaks through their night.

Remove the shades of sin
So the light of Christ
Can freely shine in within.

You don’t have to
Sit in a church yard
To experience the sunshine
And you don’t have to
Sit thru a church service
To experience the Son of God.

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“Where in Christendom is the Christian?”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

When Jesus prayed,
“Your kingdom come,”
He wasn’t talking
About Christendom
Where church and state
Compelled all to hum
In obligatory

Finding passionate, heart-felt, Spirit-led Christianity is sometimes like finding Waldo. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Where in Christendom is the Christian?”

To call the world today “post-Christian” is a misnomer. The world has never been Christian. Jesus told His followers, “You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

The world of Christendom was never a “Christian world.” It was a world of compulsion and coercion that was full of obligatory religious acts. It frequently persecuted people who seriously tried to follow and obey the risen Jesus.

When Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world, He turned them down. Christendom, however, embraced and glorified political power. Christendom, religious authoritarianism set in motion by Emperor Constantine’s use of Christianity for political purposes, is a great Christian heresy that binds church and state together.

When you examine history, you see that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was not the Lord of Christendom and its compulsion, conflicts, cruelty, wars, and authoritarianism. When setting Christendom into motion, Constantine declared the Cross a sign of military conquest, not the act of God’s love.

Christendom tried to prevent people from having direct access to Scripture. We continue to see the remnants of that today when church members are trained to spend more time listening to sermons than reading the Bible for themselves.

For more than a thousand years, people born in church-and-state lands, were baptized as infants and declared Christians by birth. I grew up in the final days of Christendom when people were still assumed to be Christians because of their nationality.

In the aftermath of Christendom, the concept of church has splintered into thousands of divisions pointing out each other’s errors. Martin Luther set in motion a centuries-long process of fracturing and dismantling the authoritarian control of Christendom, that continues to this day and is clearing the way for Spirit-led Christianity.

For many centuries Christendom replaced early Christianity. It still lingers today. The body of Christ urgently needs to be an alternative town hall meeting, with God’s eternal perspective, not a partner in human government and manipulative control.

Having a relationship with the living Jesus is eternal. Church attendance only last about an hour.

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