What is the heart of the Gospel?

I just read an article that highlighted five signs of ‘Progressive Christianity’. I’d never heard that term before. The article was interesting and informative and when it exampled sentences or expressions that might come out of this movement, I realised I have actually heard of it before but didn’t know there was a name for it.

However, what I found interesting was that the article stated how ‘Progressive Christianity’ had moved away from “the heart of the gospel being sin and redemption” to now being about social justice. Firstly, let me say that I get what they’re saying. I’ve certainly noticed a strong diversion away from the gospel toward social justice and social issues from within the church. Social media is saturated with it.  But what disturbed me most was that the author of the article said the heart of the gospel is sin and redemption. I sincerely beg to differ.

The heart of the gospel is Christ. From beginning to end it is about Christ. The entire scriptures from beginning to end are about Christ. All of time and creation is about Christ. Before time and creation, was Christ. Outside of time and creation, is Christ. The church exists for Christ and is in Christ, and is the body of Christ. In fact, all things exist in and through, by and for Christ.

Sin and redemption are realities for all humanity, pointing out our need for Christ. Redemption is available to all of us, through faith in Jesus Christ. Sin and redemption are not the heart of the gospel. The gospel is Christ. He is the good news. He is the purpose of redemption. Saving us from sin is not the purpose of redemption. We are redeemed, that we would know Christ, that He would have a body and a bride, through whom He can be expressed. Christ is the All in all. Christ is the One in whom all things will be summed up.

So the heart of the gospel is not even a matter of ‘what’, but ‘who’.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:10

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

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Is True Love Science-Fiction?

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Sometimes when I imagine what the gospel sounds like to someone who’s never heard it before, I imagine it would sound a little like a comic book, like science fiction. Accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into time from outside of time, Eternity, and saved the human race sounds like a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? An awesome one, at that. But do we realise that it is the true original and authentic historical and eternal reality from which all science fiction stories (and love stories, actually) have been derived?

But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because spiritually they are discerned.(1 Corinthians 2:14, Berean Literal Bible)

It seems like throughout the history of story-making, writing, film & television, that old Devil has weaved an almost perfect plan by blinding us with creative and entertaining science fiction stories to make the reality of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done, appear somewhat ‘comical’ and ridiculous to the ‘natural’ minds. To those minds, that do not have the Spirit of God in them, what we as Christians believe concerning Christ can be likened to believing in Thor, Superman, Batman and so on.

In the 80’s & 90’s there was an Aussie band called Divinyls who had a hit song called “Science Fiction”. Here are some of the lyrics;

I thought that love was science fiction
Until I saw you today
Now that love is my addiction
I’ve thrown all my books away
When I was young I was so naive
I didn’t believe no I didn’t believe
I didn’t believe
Never thought that we’d last this long…….
When I was young I was, so naive
I didn’t believe no di didn’t believe
I didn’t believe
I’ve been waiting for a man from space
To come to earth to meet the human race……….

In a way, a man from outer space did come to earth to meet the human race, didn’t He? We can look at those corny words to that corny song and see something of Christ in it can’t we? Of-course, He didn’t come from outer space, He came into time from outside of time, from Eternity.

Please bear with me now as I express a little bit of poetic license of my own, to build on my point;

In a land far, far away….. imagine a time when human beings exist but are filled with somebody else’s life instead of their own. Their own actual life died years ago.  One person had reached right into every individual and took their life out of them and killed it and replaced it with His own life. And this one person’s life is the very same life inside every human – they’re all living by the same one person’s life from then-on.

This One person let individual’s personalities and uniqueness remain because He wanted as many variants as possible to express His own life and He loved their individual personalities and uniqueness.  So each person remained an individual but living by the one life that they shared with every other human being, expressing that one shared life in many different ways. Each would think as He thought, each would do as He would do, each would express His characteristics, but differently according to their own personality and uniqueness. So in essence, all of humanity had become one man but with many expressions through the individuals, with the appearance of male and female, black and white, etc.

Why did this One person do this? Because He actually created them in the first place to live by His life, knowing that His own life was the One True Life and nothing could compare with it’s glory and power. But by their own naïve choice and independent nature, all their lives had been hijacked by a darkness from which He knew there was no return. He saw that they were all heading down a spiral of death and there was no way out for them. He actually loved them so much that He couldn’t bear to see them disintegrate and the only way He could save them was to give them His life in place of their own, as He always intended. The only way He could do this was to become one of them and die for them, giving His life to them. That way, He knew that they would have abundant Life to live by forever and ever because His Life was an Eternal Life, which overcame death.

So there’s a lot more to the story than that, I know. But in essence, did you know that the true and normal Christian life is that of Christ’s life being lived out in us? Did you realise that this is what happened when Jesus was crucified? Did you realise that’s when He took our old lives as fallen human beings and killed them, crucifying them with Him on the cross? And that when He was resurrected He became a life giving Spirit, placing His very own Life inside of us for us to live by from there-on-in?  This all took place outside of time in Eternity and inside of time at Calvary.  And it takes place on an individual level inside of time every time one of us human beings comes to believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and make Him Lord of our life.

It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him!… (Romans 5:7-9)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13)

Although I imagine an awesome science fiction movie could be made to represent this story, this amazing love of God’s which is given to us through Jesus Christ, is not science-fiction at all. It is our reality!

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Now, we who are in Christ, through faith in Him as the Son of God, by the grace given to us to believe, live by the life of another. What does this mean for us? It means so much that I could never cover it in all my life, let alone in one post!

However, simply in some practical terms, it means that His dream has become our dream. His purpose and vision has become our purpose and vision. His desires have become our desires. We have become one with Him, and one with His Father, and so Christ has become our All.

It means we can draw from His life on all occasions.  When we are tired, we can draw from Him as our strength and energy.  When we are afraid, we can draw from Him as our courage and comfort. When we are uncertain, we can draw from Him for His confidence and guidance. When we are hungry, we can draw from Him as our food! When we are tempted, we can draw from His well of Life as our way out. When we feel weak in faith, we can draw from His faith to believe. When we are tested, we can draw from His life to stand and persevere in hardship. When we feel we cannot go on, we can draw from Him as our endurance. In other words, Christ is All.

We are never left to our own wisdom, devices, resources. We no longer have to rely on ourselves or the world, to meet our needs in any way.  We don’t have to work hard to be a better person, to improve ourselves, or to achieve great things for Him or for anyone else. We don’t have to come up with the answers on how to live this life or how to help others. We have another life living within us which is all the resource of Heaven. In other words, Christ is All.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms(Ephesians 1:3)

Our own wisdom, devices and resources are useless.  Since we like Paul, have been crucified with Christ, there is nothing of us that can attain to anything of any value in this life. In other words, Christ is All.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

But as for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. What counts is a new creation.…(Galatians 6:14)

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.(John 10:10)

Perhaps now we, just like in that silly song by the Divinyls’, can declare that once we were naïve and we didn’t believe that the gospel was true. Perhaps we thought it was only science fiction?

He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (John 6:65)

But now, since we have been born of the Spirit, and no longer living by the capacity of our own natural man which cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, we see that this blinding love of God through Christ Jesus, is real. We have now thrown away all our ‘books’ (to speak of our human reasoning, philosophies and human wisdom) that feed our natural mind that has no Life of Christ in it, and we are now led by the Spirit of God as the Father has enabled us.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. ……(Romans 8:14).

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it. ….the True light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. ……..The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1)

And that’s a love, that is not science-fiction.

The Riches of Christ and the Richness in Christ

 

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In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ. (Colossians 2:9,10 NIV)

We have said that Christ is a heavenly revelation, but Christ is also a heavenly fullness. If God has revealed His mind, His thought in Christ; if all that God intended has been brought to us in a personal revelation: God has followed that up by the fullest provision in Christ for its realization and its attainment. So that every need of ours is supplied according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. In Christ there is not only a standard set, but every kind of provision for attaining to God’s standard. All the secret resources of God to reach His end are there in Christ for us. If He has come out with the mind of God in fullness, He has also come out with the resources of God in fullness. All the fullness dwells in Him, and we are made full in Him (Col. 2:9). God could never judge us at the end by His standard of revelation if He had not made all provision for our realizing of that standard….

By T. Austin-Sparks from: That Which Was From The Beginning – Chapter 1 

This Christ is so deep that His riches are unsearchable!

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ  (Ephesians 3:8)

This Christ is so enormous that He fills the universe!

And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself (Ephesians 1:23)

This Christ is so magnificent that the FULLNESS dwells in Him!

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Colossians 1:19)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9)

This Christ is so beyond our wildest imaginations that He lives beyond death!

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (Rev 1:18)

This Christ is so mighty that all things are held together in Him!

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17)

This Christ is so wonderful that He continues to increase!

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever  (Isaiah 9:7)

This Christ is so vast that He is the beginning and the end!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.” (Revelation 1:8)

This Christ is so amazing that God chose us in Him before creation!

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes (Ephesians 1:4)

This Christ is so loving that He gave His life for us to be reconciled back to the Father!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16,17)

This Christ is so high that His rule and dominion reigns over all other powers and authorities of the heavenly realms!

…who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (1 Peter 3:22)

This Christ is so rich that His mercies are new every day!

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:23)

This Christ is so creative that nothing that has been made, was made without Him!

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him(Colossians 1:16)

…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe (Hebrews 1:2)

This Christ is so unconditional that He gives His life to whoever believes in Him!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

This Christ is so full that He is the Head and the Body of the Church!

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12)

 THIS CHRIST IS UNLIMITED!!

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Is Christ Enough? Power and Wisdom

In case you don’t follow the blog of Milt Rodriguez, I want to share with you this brother’s latest post. This post is part of a series called “Is Christ Enough?”. I pray that we are reminded over and again, how big and all sufficient our Lord is.

The Blog of Milt Rodriguez

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For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

(1 Corinthians 1:22-25)

Here, in this passage, Paul sums up the gospel that he preached in the face of insurmountable odds and extreme opposition.  It is a gospel that is so radical and so extreme that it called down unbelievable persecution upon his head everywhere he went.  This persecution was not only dished out by the heathen but more so by the religious folks, namely the Jewish nation.  It is a gospel that is so different and so outrageous that you can really only tag it…

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Lessons From The Wilderness Part Five: The Revelation Of The Son

Cheryl from Bread for the Bride has written this series on the Wilderness, and she writes in the language that is only in my heart but I am unable to express. I do hope you are encouraged toward our glorious Christ through His testimony in Cheryl’s writing, as I am. Thank you Cheryl for being an available vessel crying out in the ‘wilderness’, helping to point the way to the Well of Jesus Christ that never runs dry. Christ alone is King.

Bread for the Bride

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The Spirit that guides, counsels, comforts and shows us things to come is a Spirit of revelation (Jn. 16:13). He is a revealer. And that which He reveals is Christ. It is always the purpose and ministry of this holy, revealer Spirit who is the very living breath of God, to reveal Christ.

There is nothing that gives God more pleasure than the revealing of the Son. Try it some time. Tell God the Father, sincerely, how beautiful His Son is and then soak in the unmitigated joy that floods you. The natural created world around us, and the heavens, are all a revelation of Christ the Son. Everything to which God has ever set His mind centers on the revelation of the Son. And among all the ways that God has found to reveal the Son, none give Him more pleasure than to reveal Him within human…

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Do you feel like leaving church?

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What’s ‘church-hopping’ all about?

“Don’t be a church-hopper” I was always hearing. “Oh you know them, they’re church-hoppers, they never stay in the one place for long….”people would say. “They’re not stayers….they’re always moving around”.

*By  the word ‘church’ in this context, I am referring to the building/denomination where you attend a Sunday or Saturday service to hear a sermon and sing worship and praise songs etc, in the company of a congregation where there are positions of authority and programs and man-made traditions.

I realise there’s a myriad of reasons why people ‘leave’ or ‘change churches’ and many of those reasons are let’s say, less than Christ-like. Things like,  not liking the music or some of the people there or there’s not enough activity for the children or there’s a disagreement with someone and so on. Jesus and His apostles teach us in the Word of God to love our enemies, to daily encourage one another in the brethren, to bear with one another in patience and forgiveness, and to love others as Christ has loved us and we could go on. I myself, am guilty of ‘changing’ churches for such reasons. But is there a right reason to leave church?

In my humble opinion, the best reason to leave church is because you are dissatisfied with your spiritual growth.  Brother or sister, do you feel like you need to leave church for good because no matter how many different churches you ‘check out’ or ‘sow into’, as they say, you remain spiritually dissatisfied? Are you at your “this is my last try” and find you have not experienced any significant spiritual growth?

A lack of personal spiritual growth might be interpreted through not finding the sermons meaty enough, finding the worship shallow, feeling controlled by the leadership, feeling stifled in being able to move freely in the Spirit, feeling unable to contribute, feeling you just don’t fit in, having a sense that all is not well in the church but feeling it must just be you with the problem. All these things can be indicators that you are not growing spiritually and would leave you feeling that this church thing just isn’t working.  At that point, many up and go and look for another church congregation to see if they offer something more (note the emphasis on ‘my’ needs) and hence the term ‘church-hopping’.

However, if you are of the conviction that you are not growing spiritually in church life as you’ve known it and have a deepening holy dissatisfaction, and if you are sensing that it is in fact the Lord who is calling you out, (though many you fellowship with would contend this – especially those in leadership) then I’m excited for you! I am excited for the Lord and for the whole body of Christ! Because that calling out will ultimately lead to a calling in! And the ‘calling in’ will be into the Life of the Body of Christ that fulfils the Father’s deepest desire – the full expression of His Son through the Church!

Well 13 years ago I was called out too! And after some years in the ‘wilderness’ (ie not going to or being part of any church fellowship yet deeply desiring to know God more) and then being called in to an organic expression of Jesus Christ amongst other believers, man, things have changed for me. Or should I say, ‘in’ me.

Someone asked me the other day, has my view of Jesus changed since leaving the organized or institutional church system 13 years ago. My answer was an unequivocal and resounding yes!

So here are just four ways I see Christ differently now, since He called me out to call me in.

1.I used to see Jesus as external to me.

I saw Him as the Son of God, my invisible friend and I loved Him because He was God’s Son and I loved God.

Now I see Jesus as this Christ who lives in me and through me. He expresses His own life through me and He fills my being. He lives and breathes through every believer! So I have millions and millions of brothers and sisters who He lives in and through as well!  He is no longer external but has become this Life giving spirit who indwells all believers, His church, His body of which I am just one member.  I see Him as enormous and filling all things with Himself, and whose life, peace and government will continue to increase throughout all eternity! (Isaiah 9:6-7) He is huge!!

2. I used to see Jesus as a figure

Now I see Jesus as a person, the Son of Man as well as the Son of God, and a person whom I know very well but am still getting to know and to whom there is no end. We are in relationship with one another. He is closer to me than anybody could ever be and we are intricately connected as one! We can’t get any closer than that! He knows me completely and because He dwells in me, He knows me from the inside out! I now see that this person Jesus Christ, is my purpose, my whole heart and my whole reason for existence.

3. I used to see Jesus as God’s Son but not much more to God than that

Now I see that Jesus is God’s obsession! He is God the Father’s consuming passion and desire! The Father is captivated by His Son and wants all things for Him. The Son is equally captivated with the Father and wants all things for Him! The two are inseparable! They are completely one – as Jesus has now made me (and you, believer) one with Him! (John 17…)

4. I used to see Jesus as the middle ranking member of the Godhead

Now I see how the Godhead dwells inside Christ! It pleased the fullness to dwell in Him! Christ contains the Father and the Holy Spirit, they are both inside of Him and it is their pleasure to have it this way.  I see now that they are not separate from one another, there is no hierarchy because their relationship is love and this love is giving their lives for one another. There is no jealousy within the Godhead, they love to dwell inside the Son and the Son loves to dwell inside them – just the same way that Paul describes us as being in Christ and Christ in us! The whole of the fullness of God dwells inside the Son and the Son dwells inside the fullness – they are One!

Brother or sister, I share this with you to encourage you.  If it is the Lord who is calling you out, you can be assured that it is to call you in. He will take you through a wilderness experience more than likely (it seems to be the way of every believer I know who has walked this path) and He will eventually but in His good time, bring you in.  What will He bring you into?

Just like the Israelites, which are a shadow and type of the church, they were brought out of Egypt through the wilderness and into the Promised Land (though only two of them remained faithful and received the Promised Land – yes, the Wilderness is a time of testing our faithfulness).  This place the Lord is calling you into is the Promised Land of His Son Jesus Christ.

Whilst you and many others you may be ‘in church’ with, are already in this Christ since you are born again, there is a mystery that is this gospel we live by and that mystery revealed is Christ in you (that word ‘you’ is plural, it’s corporate), the hope of glory!  We have a Promised Land to inherit, the mystery of God revealed to us by the Holy Spirit of God the Father, Christ indwelling His body, His church,  and we therefore can live by His indwelling life.  This is more than attending church services and singing 3 fast songs and 3 slow ones!  This is an indwelling Lord living in and through His church! Now, that’s a vast expanse of land flowing with milk and honey!

A holy dissatisfaction with where you are should lead to a desperate heart and intentional pursuit of the Lord, to seek to see Him and know Him more. There has to be a ‘seeing’ before there is a ‘knowing’. This desperation will delight the heart of the Father because it is His desperation in you. It is the Father’s heart-cry! God the Father, wants more than anything (it is His ultimate intention and His eternal purpose) to have you, me and everyone who is called, see and know Christ the Son of God, the Son of His love in His fullness and this life of Christ in His Church. In fact the scriptures tell us that the church IS the fullness of Christ!

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything FOR the church, which is his body, the FULLNESS OF HIM who fills EVERYTHING in EVERY way (Ephesians 1:23).

Wow!! Is that our experience of the church?

So once again, may I encourage you brother or sister, that if you sense the Lord is calling you out of church as you’ve known it, with its hierarchy, traditions and programs, He has put a cry in your heart for the very thing that is the obsession of His own heart and that is for you to see and know Christ Jesus in His fullness.

There is a holy exodus, people, and those who thirst and hunger for the Promised Land, remaining in Him, will find it because it is the Father’s good pleasure to reveal His Son in us.  It is not about us, it is about CHRIST IN us. Amen.

Be bold and courageous!

Please go to this link to read more on this same exciting subject with great richness of insight from a sister in the United States at 3rd Race.

 

Are You Wearing Yourself Out For Nothing?

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Man, Fairy Wrens are so cute. They are so tiny and with skinny little legs. They flitter here and there, close to the ground, very fast and have a rather loud vibrant whistle.

It’s springtime here in Australia and here on the East Coast, the fairy wrens are out to play. There’s just one problem. For some strange reason, one of them is trying to get inside the house!

Tap, tap, tap all day long. Tap, tap, tap and then a frenzied flutter up the outside of the window from the ground, with little stick-feet frantically and desperately scratching at the glass as she goes up and down, up and down, up and down, accompanied by a determined and frustrated rather up-tempo whistle. Then tap, tap, tap.

What on earth is she doing? Is she looking at her reflection? Does she think she sees another bird and feels she has to show her, who’s boss? She’s the funniest thing. Those little legs and feet go ten to the dozen and she never gets anywhere. She is relentless. I feel dreadfully sorry for her. I wish she could understand that there’s no other bird on the other side, that she’s really wasting all her energy and frustrations. She’s never going to achieve what she’s trying to achieve.

She’s looking at me now as I write. She’s hopping from the outside table, to the barbecue, to the outdoor chair, back down onto the sill and back at it again, all the while staring into the glass like some obsessed maniac. Poor love. What a waste of effort.

She reminds me of us, the church. How we have for so long, and still so many of us, frantically tried and tried for year after year, to enter into to a certain place, believing with all our might that that’s where we needed to be. Oh, the prayers! Lord, please, please, please (stick-feet scratching) let me into Your presence! Let me into your throne room, I want to be in there Lord, please, please, please let me in! I’ll do ministry, I’ll pray every day for 3 hours like Daniel, I pray the ‘Jabez Prayer’ (?), I’ll pray The Lord’s Prayer 10 times a day, I’ll give more than my tithes, I’ll attend every church service, I’ll go down the front to every alter call, I’ll join the greeting team, I’ll be nice and friendly to everybody, then surely you’ll let me in there!

Hmmmm. This little fairy wren just doesn’t get it. She’s already in the greatest place of all. She’s in her natural habitat! She’s in the wide open free space, where she can mingle with other fairy wrens. Where her food is free, her natural instincts can thrive and bear fruit in her little adorable life. She’s completely free and safe and no-one can catch her and lock her up into a little cage.

It’s the same for us. We’re already in! We’re already in the presence of the Almighty every day because we’re in Christ! As our dear brother Watchman Nee says in The Normal Christian Life – we are praying and praying to get into a room we are already in. It’s as silly, as absurd and as sad as that little fairy wren.

The church needs a revelation of just what almighty and outstanding work God has done for us, through  and in Christ Jesus. If there’s any prayer worth praying 10 times a day for 3 hours at a time, it’s for a revelation of Christ and all that He is.  Then we’ll see what already is and unlike this dear little worn out fairy wren, we’ll find rest.

(Oh, and maybe say a prayer for the fairy wren!)

 

What You’ve Got To Know About The Christian Life – An Interview By Rocky – Part 2

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Hi everybody (& especially to all dog lovers)! Rocky here & welcome to my second guest blog post where I continue my extraordinary interviewing skills with Donna!

If you missed the first part of this interview you can go to it by clicking on this link here Previous Post. I suggest you check that out before reading on so that this one makes sense.

In this second interview, I continue to discuss with Donna this whole ‘Christian life beyond salvation’ thing we were talking about. Unfortunately, I’d been up to a bit of mischief earlier that morning and subsequently, needed a good wash! So to save time, we conducted this interview whilst I was having a bath…

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Rocky: Well, Donna….(gurgle gurgle) welcome to our continuation of my interview  guest blog post.

Donna: Thanks Rocky, pleasure to be here. (keep still!)

Rocky: So, we finished off last time when I had found that old shmacko under my blanket…

Donna: Well, yes, um, and we were talking about how big Jesus is and how much of Him there is to discover, so much more than just our salvation.

Rocky:  So how did you find out there was more to Jesus than what you’d always known?

Donna: Well, I think we have to return to that word ‘revelation’. Like we’ve said, revelation only comes from the Holy Spirit, it’s not something we can bring about ourselves. Everything in this Christin life is by God, for God and through God. God is always calling us to know Him more. So He introduces circumstances and people in our lives that will lead us to a point where we realise we have a certain lack or a need as far as knowing God is concerned.

I remember reading from Watchman Nee once, how revelation comes when there’s a need. So for example in my life, when I observed my husband’s Christian walk I realised that I didn’t know Jesus in the same way. I realised that my emphasis in my understanding was on God the Father only and that the name ‘Jesus’ was a little awkward for me. It was like when I said His name, I was trying to be comfortable with it, but I wasn’t completely.  So there was my need…..I needed a revelation of Jesus!

Rocky: Ohhh, right. (don’t get soap in my eyes!) So there was the need, and then what happened?

Donna: Well, I suppose the Lord made me more aware of that need over a number of weeks. It became more painful and obvious that I didn’t know Jesus Christ intimately, Himself. So I began to ask God to reveal His Son to me. And then, one morning the Lord gave me a vision of Jesus and with it came this new understanding that EVERYTHING is about Jesus. That was the revelation and it blew all my old paradigms out the window!

Rocky: What sort of paradigms were they?

Donna: A whole bunch of things – the way I looked at prayer, tithing, scripture, worship, ministry, gifts of the Spirit, especially the church, the kingdom of God, God’s purpose, what actually took place through Christ’s death on the cross, and so much more, what it means to live by the Spirit. Some of these aspects of the Christian life were just that – aspects of Christianity, rather than Christ Himself. I had embraced these ‘things’ through faith and through the filters of my religious past but not subjectively by revelation. Not all in my experience had been life to me.

Rocky: Oh, so it sounds like it was ‘stuff’ that you knew, but not actually Jesus?

Donna: Spot on! Jesus is a Person! When God opened my spiritual eyes to see Jesus and to understand there was so much more to Him than I’d ever known, He then put the hunger and desire in me to want to discover this incredible Christ. So yes you’re right Rocky.

Rocky: Tell me more about the hunger and desire to know Jesus more…(can I have a treat when I’m finished with this bath?)

Donna: ( Yes Rocky, only if you don’t shake everywhere!)…Well that’s the thing. I realised I didn’t need or want to know more ‘about‘ Him, I needed to know ‘Him‘ Himself. (I talk more about this in my post Knowing Him).  So, there was the need to know Jesus, and of-course God wants us to know Jesus. God the Father even told Peter and his companions when Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus, to listen to Him, Jesus! There was Elijah representing all the old testament prophets and there was Moses representing the law. Now God was saying “Here is my Son, listen to Him”! So He put the need in me to know Him. Then came the revelation and then the desire to see that revelation become a reality in my own life, to become a part of me. Learning that Jesus is everything became a need to experience Him as my everything.

I mean, listen to these verses…

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything (supremacy). 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.…(Colossians 1:17-19)

and…

…but Christ is all, and in all…(Colossians 3:11)

Rocky: I see. You’re saying He’s everything. Sure sounds like it! So can you tell me specifically, apart from salvation, what else is He then?

Donna:  I’ll list a few of His characteristics….that aren’t just things about Him, but who He is…

He is our Teacher, He is Joy, our Peace, He is the Prince of Peace! He is love of-course, He is the air that we breathe, He is creativity, He is light, He is our provision in everything. He is our sustaining strength, He is our Future and our Hope, He is the Resurrection, He is Truth, He is the Gospel, He is our life!

He is our purpose, He is our capacities, He is the song in our heart, He is our fulfilment and satisfaction. He is our portion, He is our completeness, He is Righteousness, Holiness, Perfection.  He is our suffering, He is the narrow path, He is the whole purpose of God, He is the fullness. He fills the universe, He is the exalted and eternal King, He is the food we eat, He is the drink we drink, He is our Rest, He is our best Friend, He is our brother, He is our Lord!

He is the answer to every need, He is bigger than everything else, bigger than any sin, any problem, any threat. His riches are unsearchable, His kingdom is endless, He is mercy, He is grace, He is the River of Life, the Tree of Life, the Good Shepherd, the gate and the Gatekeeper, He is our healer, He is healing itself! He is the joy of the whole earth! He is His Father’s delight!

Shall I keep going?

Rocky: I could be stuck in this bath for hours if you do that! (Can I shake now?) Wow, He sure is more than just salvation and salvation is pretty awesome!

Donna: Oh yes, He is certainly our Saviour! And that’s where it all starts for us. When we come to that point of salvation in our lives, turning from a life lived without Him, to a life lived in surrender to Him as our King and Saviour, we discover just who this Christ is and what He’s done!

When we are saved (become a Christian) this following scripture from Galatians 2:20 becomes our reality ….

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and this life I live in my body, I live by the faith of Jesus Christ…

So we don’t have to live by our own strength, abilities, intellect, wisdom or will. We have been crucified! So now it is Jesus living inside of us instead! All that Christ is, lives in me, lives inside His Church, every member of His body. All that He is! Can you imagine that? Can we even fathom all that He is? God wants us to know all that Christ is, so we can rest from our labours and let Him live instead.

(Yes, you can shake now….arghh!)

Rocky: (Ahhh, that’s better…) So mum, if Jesus is all those things and even more, no wonder God wants people to know Him. (Treat please?)

Donna: Yep, and this is why I do my blog. (Here’s your biscuit…) I am hoping that by sharing the little bit of Christ that He’s helped me come to know, experience and love, other believers will be encouraged to know and experience Him as much more than just their salvation.

Rocky: I see. I think I’m finally getting it mum. If Jesus is all this, I can see how everything is about Him. He wants us to know Him, shows us our need of Him, He reveals Himself to us, He gives us the desire to know Him more, He changes us, He gets more room in our lives, He is expressed because it’s more Him than us and…wow…..He is amazing.

Donna: That’s beautiful Rocky. (Come here little fella, let me give you a snuggle while I dry you off…)

Rocky:  There’s just one thing I don’t understand yet.

Donna: What’s that Rocky?

Rocky: Well, I noticed when you were telling us all these wonderful things that Jesus is, you said He was our suffering and our narrow path? What did you mean by that? 

Donna: That’s a really important part of who Christ is and really the true Christian life cannot be lived without it. Suffering with Christ is key to knowing Him deeply and that subject really deserves a full blog post of its own. I think we might need to leave that for another day Rocky…

Rocky: Well, maybe we better end the interview here for now. Maybe we’ll do another one another time? (I think I’m getting the hang of this interviewing/guest blogging thing). 

Donna: Sounds good Rocky. This has been fun. And your interview skills are surprisingly good for a shoodle (shitzu x poodle).

Rocky: Thanks mum!

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So thanks everyone for reading my guest blog interview with Donna Batty (tee hee, that’s you mum). I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have and if you’d like to hear from us again then just let Donna know in the comments section.

In the meantime, I’m getting snuggles off mum to keep me warm after my bath!

So this is Rocky Batty, interviewer and guest blogger extraordinaire, signing off! Woof Woof!

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What You’ve Got To Know About The Christian Life – An Interview By Rocky – Part 1

IMG_1118Welcome to Drawing From The Well’s first ever Guest Blog post!

Yup, I’m a dog. My name is Rocky and Donna, the author of this blog, is my mother.

The way I came to be a guest blogger is, I noticed she’s become very busy lately, in her office. So I trotted on in there one day and asked just what she was up to. Well, I was so intrigued that we decided it might be fun for me to interview her! (tail wagging). We had such a ball (ball?? did somebody say ball??) and there was so much ground to cover, we thought it would be better still, to turn the interview into a little series of posts. So -here is our very first interview together with me as ‘interviewer extraordinaire’ as well as guest blogger!

Rocky: Hey mum, why are you on your laptop so much more these days?

Donna: Well Rocky, I’m working on my blog ‘drawing from the well’.

Rocky: You’ve been writing on there since November 2014, but you seem busier than usual, what’s changed?

Donna: Well, while I’m not working, it seems like every day is an opportunity to see more of Jesus & I feel like the Lord is really encouraging me to share my journey with others who are interested. This is a great way of doing it. What’s changed of late is that my hunger to connect with other believers who want to share a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ has deepened.

Rocky: I see…..but how is blogging helping with that hunger? (hmmm, I’m getting hungry now…when’s dinner by the way?)

Donna: (Dinner’s hour’s away Rocky, you know that). Well, I’ve discovered through blogging that there are many other believers out there who have so much of Christ to share and who are equally hungry and desperate even, to connect with the wider body of Christ. I find that by connecting with these brothers and sisters and reading their blogs, I am seeing more of Christ and I hope that’s what happens for them when they read what I write too.

Rocky: Ok, great. Is that the only reason you’re blogging and can I have a biscuit?

Donna: Good question Rocky and no you can’t. No, also there are so many believers who are ‘lost’ out there, having left church life as they’ve known it and are disillusioned, confused and lonely, many who have never had a revelation of Jesus Christ Himself! Just like I didn’t have a revelation of Jesus until 4 years ago when I’d already been a Christian for 38 years!

Rocky: Wow, that seems crazy! It’s a bit sad there are others like that.

Donna: Yes it is sad but Jesus is always found when we truly seek Him, that’s one of the things that makes Him so cool.:-)

Rocky: I don’t really understand. How can someone be a christian for so many years and not have a revelation of Jesus Himself? Don’t people become christians in the first place because they’ve had a revelation of Jesus?

Donna: Well, you’re right Rocky. People become christians firstly because the Holy Spirit has drawn them to Him, so even this is by God’s sovereignty. And people become christians by believing in and accepting Jesus as the Son of God and their Saviour, and the One who forgives sins. Jesus said : No-one comes to the Father but by Me: So there has to be some level of insight into Jesus to do that, you’re definitely right there Rocky.  But ‘becoming’ a christian, is only the first step. That’s our initial salvation and it’s just like opening the door to a house, stepping inside and standing in the entry. 

Rocky: What do you mean? Do you mean there’s more to being a christian than salvation?

Donna: You’re a very clever boy! (Rocky wags tail) Salvation is that initial transportation from darkness into Light, from death to Life, from the kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of Heaven. Sticking with the analogy of entering a big house, the entry is just inside the front door and there’s so much more to a house than just the entry! So salvation is like moving from outside the house, to inside the house and the house is Jesus Himself!

Rocky: I think I get it, but you better explain more (while I finish off this shmacko treat I just found buried under my blanky…mmmm)

Donna: Righto, the thing is Rocky, this Jesus is sooooo big! He is enormous! The bible says He fills the universe and His kingdom has no end! How big is that?

Rocky: Wow! That’s huge! (crunch crunch) So I guess you’re saying that there’s heaps more to a house than just the entry, there’s heaps more to explore of Jesus beyond the point of salvation? Especially if He fills the universe!

Donna: You bet there is! Heaps of christians set up camp in the entry, just inside the front door and don’t even know they’re in this incredibly enormous extravagant house that is just waiting to be discovered! They think that’s all there is.

Rocky: Wow, it sounds really exciting to know Jesus like that. So why do people stay in the entry of their salvation and not go looking around to discover more of Jesus? Is that what you did for all those years? And what’s this got to do with that word ‘revelation’ you used?

Donna: One question at a time little fella. Let’s see…..people stay at the entry point of their salvation for lots of reasons, and yes it’s just like how I was for all those years Rocky. Sometimes we stay there because other believers who show us in, have stayed there and they don’t even realise there’s more. Sometimes we stay there because we’re comfortable there and believe there might be too much risk if we step further in and look for more. Sometimes even though other believers have gone on ahead of us and are calling to us from other rooms, per say, we’re just a bit blind or deaf, possibly even prideful or simply immature. I was one of those!

Rocky: So how did it change for you then?

Donna: That takes us back to your previous question, “what’s this got to do with the word revelation?” A huge part of the Christian life is all about revelation. Revelation means to have something that was not made known to us, revealed to us. Like you said before, we first come to Jesus by revelation by the Holy Spirit, that God even exists. Imagine that house again.  So the house is Jesus. The front door that you enter through is called ‘revelation’ into Christ. And then every door after that is another revelation further into Christ. So Jesus Christ is the house and the doors and every room.

Rocky: Oh I get it now. So….(tail beginning to wag)… if I think of it in ‘dog’ terms, it’s like when you first rescued me. That was my salvation. I’d gone from being lost to being found. But years on, I roam all around the house we live in, wherever I want and whenever I want, you take me out in your car, we go for walks together, you give me food and drink, you massage me, play with me, look after me when I’m sick, give me lots of cuddles & treats and call me your baby boy! Oh wow mum! My life is so much more than just being rescued! I’m blown away by how awesome it is!

Donna: Oh Rocky!!! Sounds like you just received a revelation!! You and I both! See how you now understand something wonderful about this life you have that you didn’t realise a moment ago? Now you have a greater insight into just what your being rescued really meant for you. That’s exactly how it is with Jesus! This christian life is a house of many doors, that by revelation, lead us into a deeper and richer knowledge of Jesus and we begin to see more and more just how increasingly glorious and wonderful He is!

Rocky: Wow, this is very exciting! I’m thirsty for more! But we’ll have to leave it there for now folks, so be sure to tune in again for our next post in a few weeks time and hear all about exploring this great big Jesus! (that’s Jesus, not ‘cheeses’…mmmm, I looove cheese)

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TO BE CONTINUED…

Are you like many other believers worldwide, desiring a deeper journey in knowing the Lord and just can’t find others to share this with? Then this might help – Go to http://www.thedeeperchristianlife.com and follow the provided guidelines to become part of a new online community of like-minded christians. See you there!