Tag Archives: What is true religion?

Brain Robbers

I’m restless this afternoon–probably dehydrated, I reflect–could the news from my friend put me in this funk? Don’t I believe God is good? I say it enough…so I should just start thanking Him that He has this too. And I’m sure He does. So I drink two glasses of water and began to write here. That’s one of my best processing strategies.

Did you know stress doesn’t kill us? There is now a great body of research to show it (Cohen, 2006). It is the state your body is in when the stress hits. Are you healthy? What do you do with the fear that presents itself with bad news? What are your feedback systems? What are your patterns? How do you cope?

We are emotional creatures. There is no way around it. We’re built to feel. We have to have outlets for emotions and pain. Fear is real when you hear a good friend has just been exposed to Ebola. No the fear isn’t for me–he’s in another country. The fear is for him and his family. It’s worse than hearing someone here has cancer–and that is bad enough.

And no, I’m not afraid of death for people who know God, their pain is over. I feel for the people who are left. The ones who suffer. I’m not afraid his wife and three children will get the disease–they are here. But how awful it would be to go on without him–he’s so full of life and fun. Humor is his second nature, as is adventure, and faith.

Sooner or later everyone comes around to the question. Why do good people suffer? Or Why does God allow suffering? Does He cause it? Those two have made many atheists.

I’m clear on both. Why is there suffering? Freedom. And no, He doesn’t cause suffering. He has no evil. So what’s my problem?

Part of it is the pathways I have. Fear used to be second nature to me. That network–mostly dormant is still there–ready to be activated at any time. Another part is that I know God sees what we don’t, and sometimes He sees that it is better not to intervene. I admit that one still gets me nervous from time to time. Faithful suffering speaks.

So what is the real problem? Do I know Him well enough to ask Him and listen for His voice? Do I take my shocks and fears to Him? Can I trust that He really knows best if He doesn’t do what I think He should? I am shocked to realize that I haven’t talked to Him about this yet!

Why not? I got caught in feeling–in the awfulness and emotion of what happened. That is purely human. But I could have turned to him immediately instead of wallowing in feelings for two hours. Now that is crazy! 

One of my friends even said the right words, but they went by with my agreement but not my action–not connecting with Him about this.

I even talked to Him about something else! Wow! I’m amazed.

Fear does NOT come from God. But neither will He jerk it away from me. I have to want to give it up. Processing helps. Can I trust Him? His goodness? Really?

Yes! Will I? That is my choice.



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Filed under A God perspective, Grief, Joy, Love ed, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Guest Post–Church Unaware Homeless Man Is Their Pastor in Disguise

Wow! Church membership might as well be club membership!


Seeded on Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:21 PM

DISCUSS: 297 131 !

Article Photo

Pastor Jeremiah Steepek transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning.

He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him.

He asked people for change to buy food – no one in the church gave him change.

He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back.

He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such.

When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation.

“We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek.” The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.

The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with all eyes on him.

He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited,

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.

He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”

He then dismissed service until next week.

note: Wednesday is my birthday and I just realized that the post publishing on my other site on that day is about this (the one that walks through Jesus’ life in a year) http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box–Your Inbox.

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God has a sense of humor.

I’m sure of it!

For the past few years He has been taking everything I thought I knew and turning it upside down. The crazy part is, it’s not so that it makes what I believed wrong, just so much smaller than reality. I look at myself and my beliefs and am embarrassed.

One of His first tricks was leading me to a Taoist author that I was in awe of because of her Christ-like life. I’m a deeply committed Christian, but I couldn’t get over how she out-Christed me at every turn in her life. While I was whining and worrying, she was accepting with joy whatever happened, believing Love would use this… and blowing me away.

I was puzzled.

Then we became close friends with a couple who lived and worked most of the time in Africa, and they saw Muslims totally differently than everyone around me. You mean they aren’t all terrorists, full of Holy War? Could Allah and Abba be the same? Then God sent me a Muslim client that I truly enjoyed and bonded with, and we were both amazed at how much we had in common.

There were a few other such anomalies but I’ll skip to my latest one that really has my head stretching. I’ve just spent a week with my daughter who clearly spent the last 9 years of her life doing what she thought was the right thing to do. She was back in my church, her husband even joined, they made good friends, dedicated a baby–and got divorced there. She had been working hard to make a perfect life, but God had other plans.

He wanted her to admit she couldn’t “fix” her marriage, become real, and have a much broader influence.

It is so hard to watch and trust the messiness that comes with it.

But here is the kicker: today she said something that made me wonder if I think I can only love perfect people. My head begin to spin. Theoretically and theologically I know that’s wrong. But I found myself washing lettuce in her kitchen tonight saying to God, “Jesus, I know you weren’t rigid, but yet I think I should be? How crazy is that?”

This is the second year I’ve been writing a short blog on Jesus life that publishes every week-day and takes you through his life in a year.* I’ve loved it. I feel I have gotten to know him so much better. It’s very clear that his life was “messy” to everyone in his church and his culture. Even his closest friends didn’t understand him until he was gone. Yet I believe he was God in the flesh–the only perfect man.

What a conundrum this poses for Christianity! In one ditch we want to proscribe how everyone should live and act. On the other side we say it doesn’t matter how we live because Jesus “paid the price,” He took care of our disobedience. But does this make sense?

Jesus lived in God’s presence; getting every day’s plans from the Father–total communion. And mostly it shocked the religious community and looked messy. Our world could only tolerate such a pure heart for three years before we killed him for being too messy–way too messy.

Does this mean that we have to trust that God is leading those of us who want to be led by Him even if it looks and feels messy?

Do we have to let go of controlling others, and trust what God is doing with them? Trust their relationship with God and not try to correct it?

*http://Godhelps.net/God-in-a-Box–Your Inbox

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Filed under A God perspective, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, When religion gets it wrong...