Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Door Called Aldersgate

I get John Wesley. Before he became the guy who said, “I look upon all the world as my parish”* he preferred his parochial, amicable studies and libraries rather than the great halls. He was a cave-dweller. Ministerially, he was a good Oxfordite, a proper Anglican priest, who toed the party line and desired things be done decently and with order. He had some OCD in him, I’d wager. In short, he went with the program.

I do like my cave, but, granted, that last bit is quite unlike me. I have Baptistic roots but there are doors closed to me because of my ‘aberrant’ theology, and, likewise, I have not found a home among their polar opposites (I’m too Baptist I’m told). Ah, well, such is life. My wife quipped a few years ago that if I were the type of person to “play the game”, I would be set for life with meetings and denominational appointments. She followed that up by saying, “I respect you more because you don’t.”

She so completes me.

John-surnamed-Wesley was a fussy dresser, I’m told, always neat and fashionable without being conspicuous, starched to the gills and spotless. Hands soft and manicured, Wesley’s skin was probably sallowed from dwelling indoors by candle’s glow. Continue reading

Die, Self, Die, For Pete’s Sake!

Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work; I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires that you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself; My own will shall become yours.’
–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances…so you will be My people and I will be your God…
I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Lord God…

(Ezekiel 36:25-28,32)

When the actor John Wilkes Booth (the George Clooney of his day) jumped from the Presidential Box to the stage of Ford’s Theater in 1865, two things happened. One, he snapped his leg just above the ankle because of an awkward plant, and two, he looked out onto the stunned crowd and shouted, “Thus always to tyrants!”

Moments earlier, he had aimed a pistol at close range behind President Lincoln’s left ear and fired a round into the great man’s head. The bullet traveled a bit crossways and lodged behind the President’s right eye. By 7:30 the next morning, the sixteenth president of the United States lay dead on a bed too short for his legs.

I have a would-be tyrant aping me, called my “flesh”, the carnal mind, the sinful disposition. I, along with many others, call it “self”. It cannot be trained, tamed or ignored. The only way to deal with it is to execute it. Sadly, it won’t stay dead. And if you commute its sentence, it grows larger and casts monstrous shadows over one’s soul. Continue reading

If Revival Is…

Quote:

REVIVAL is a work of God among Christians bringing them to…

…conviction
         …repentance
                       …confession
                                     …restitution
                                                   …reconciliation
                                                                       …separation from the world

AND

…submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

(Vance Havner)

Closed quote.

If this is indeed what stipulates genuine revival…then…

(And I think you know where I am going with this)

mournerDare we not fall upon our faces right now? Confessing, Repenting, Mourning, and Getting off the Throne?

Should we not be appealing to God for kindness which leads to repentance?

Should we not be pining for a holy wind to stir the flames of passion within?

Is love abated?

Are the embers turning to ash?

He has charged us to buy gold, refined in the fire. What could this possibly mean? Remember, the Laodiceans boasted of their riches and self-sufficiency (Rev. 3:17). They arrogantly strutted atop the pedestal of prosperity, deceived by the wealth they rolled around in, seeing it as God’s favor all the while pushing Him to the outer margins of their existence. They blindly played at religion and made a good living at it.

Their All-Knowing Judge saw it differently:

“You stink with poverty.”

“Your Sunday best cannot hide your indulgences and adulteries.”

“You no longer look to Me and I have removed light from your eyes.”

“You’ve turned sour in My stomach.”

But there was grace even for them. Yeshua called them to seek—to ask for, to eagerly want!—a crisis in their fellowship. Such crisis as would lead to purity, transformation and a baptism of renewed Love! He said, “I counsel you to BUY FROM ME gold, refined by fire…” The word translated ‘counsel’ means to partner with, agree with…to come to the same conclusion! He’s telling them, in essence, There’s no other way…

But to trust and obey. 

“Buy from Me?” Just how was that possible? He had just told them they were POOR. With what currency could this transaction be completed?

You must let Me place you in the furnace.

No God, anything but that! we say.

It’s the only way, Child.

You will never learn to Love Me until all of self is abandoned. Until then, there will always be an obtrusive challenger for My affections… 

Now…

This is going to hurt…

But I love you too much to let you go away. Remember My promise to never leave you?

It’s still binding, even in this horrible, beautiful place.

I know the flames scare you. But those very flames are your freedom.

And you want to be free…

Don’t you?