Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Becoming a Cool Monk (or Galatians remix pt 2)

Finishing the first chapter of Galatians has brought to the surface a former (and constant) desire that i have had to become a monk, at least temporarily. Monks seclude themselves from the world in cloister of solitude where they meditate on God and are filled with the knowledge and mystery found in God. This sounds attractive to me, yet i dont think i could make it more than a month, check that, more than a week without wondering what is going on in the world of Facebook and Twitter. Therefore i want to be a "cool" monk. But not the kind that lives in the inner city in some cool commune with some trendy Christian/Science Fiction name like, Synergy, Sanctus Virtuosity or The Elements. I want to be a temporary cool monk. Only from time to time. I even have it all planned out. Rent a cabin by a moving bidy of water that has a cool deck with a hot tub. No entirely rustic, but who said i was grizzly adams. Of course i would not want internet acces, but i would enjoy plenty of books that would hel me meditate on Christ and being set apart. Id take a supply of my favorite CAO cigars and live off of bacon, eggs, country ham, steak and beef jerky.
Seriously, when reading about Paul going away for 3 years, i sat and wondered what he did during that time. Im sure he involved himself in some sort of environment that i created, with the intentionality of focusing and seeking Christ. He did this for 3 years. Sometimes i find it hard to do this for 3 minutes. The idea is not that we must separate ourselves for months or years at a time, but rather retreat away to seek His face alone and with intentionality. Christ has called us to love others. We cannot adequately love others with being full of the one who is love Himself, God. Being intentional with prayer, scripture and fellowship is something that i have become convicted of. We are called to separate ourselves from worldly ways, yet id venture out and say that it seems that 90 percent of my life is concerned with the world. That is a generous guesstimate at that. I feel convicted over the way i have been concerned with the world and its ways. "It is when we stop actively loving Him that we find ourselves restless and gravitating toward other means of fulfillment." Francis Chan said it best to me. I find that if we are not intentional with Christ, we definitely gravitate towards the world and find our love in temporary pleasures in the world. Having times that we separate ourselves from all but Christ, is essential to the growth process. There is nothing better than being with Christ in a cabin listening to the flowing water, in the hot tub with a lit cigar and some good worship going. (of course singing worship to my king so loud that the bears, coyotes, and "deliverance folk" would not want to be within 5 miles of the cabin.)
My hope is that as Paul took this time to prepare for ministry, that i would not forget to take time out for the Lord, not just daily, but at times for full weekends-weeks in which the intentionality of worship, listening and meditation will become common place. I want to meet God and experience Him in ways unimaginable. Feeling the glory of his presence and becoming satisfied in His mystery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Galatians L.C.'s remix pt1

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am i trying to please man? If i were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

As i let the fullness of this statement sink in, my mind is filled with thoughts that i don't want to entertain, let alone admit. Luckily, few people read this, let alone know who i am, as i write under a pseudonym. The thoughts of pleasing man over God cause me to shiver with the thought that i long for man's approval most the time. Pleasing man (or woman) seems to be fulfilling, but seeking after this acknowledgment is self-seeking. I seek the approval of man so that they will accept me, or like me for being relevant and interesting. In other words, that i provide some sort of inherent value to them that will cause me to become, to a certain extent, noticed. Then maybe, just maybe, i will become liked by mankind. Then if i should ever be so lucky, i will find a woman who does not disdain my flaws and find love. My life is nothing more than a 1970 VW mini-bus that is trying to get people to "get on board" with my existence enough that i can trick them into thinking that i am really a state-of-the-art tour bus that is full of fun and adventure. I want people to like me and i want them to like me more than i want God to love me sometimes. My life, in its current carnal state, has been in a constant fluctuation of God-World-God-World. I long for God, yet i must not really long for Him because i turn to the pleasures and acceptance of the world over Him.
These words of Paul cut to the current state of my existence. I am not serving God, i am not serving Christ in the manner i am called to. My life needs to be denied. I must deny myself, and take up Christ. Words that sound simple, yet are so hard. What does God want out of us? What do we truly have to offer a God of infinite worth and majesty? A God of love and grace? I have nothing of value to offer God. Absolutely nothing, my life is a failure of existence in which sin perverts my mind and cause me to seek after fleeting pleasures and temporary moments of false joy. Sin has become like a drug that sucks me in and getting that next fix becomes all that my life is about. Drug addicts are reliant upon the next "fix', much like i am reliant on the fleeting pleasures of sin. Going to the depths of a cyclical sin attachment has cause me to become numb to my existence and even the existence of those that i love. I live in a daze of numbness that envelopes all that i am. A Haze that permeates my mind and causes me to become distant from everyone, including my savior. I sometimes feel like i have become the Usain Bolt of running from God, his call on my life as well as running from his commands. My heart cries out to a God of mercy, a God who is graceful and sovereign.
The one thing that comes to my mind in all of the depths of depression from sin, is that He lives. He lives so that i might live. This brings me back to a question. What do we have to offer God? The answer is nothing, but the answer is also everything. We were created as beings that are not complete. And in our incompleteness we have nothing to offer a God who is perfect. We have nothing to offer God for we are sinners, imperfect. We cannot be in the presence of God due to our iniquity. But Chris came to cover us in His blood, each sin we have and will commit have been washed and forgiven by Christ. Christ came and took all of our sin upon himself and died a sinners death in order that we may have access to the father. We are selfish individuals, this is why i say we also have everything to offer Christ. The most difficult thing for a person to do is to deny himself and give it all in self sacrifice. Christ did this, so that we may live with God and be in the presence of his Glory. Although we have nothing to offer Him, if we off everything that we are, we will experience Him. I must give Him ALL of my life, sacrificing all that i am, because he sacrificed all that He was, in order that i can have All that HE is. My life, for His Glory.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baptism is thus the death of our selfishness and self-sufficiency and it is the "likeness of Christ's death", because Christ's death is the unconditional self-surrender. Alex Shmemann

This quote has made me think about the life i lead and the ways i live. I am selfsih and self sufficient. I have lost the denial of my self that i need. Who am I to live a life that is not my own, Who am I to control the things that occur in my life with a filter of worldly gain and interests? My life should be found in Christ and Christ alone. This quote rips to my heart. It hurts me to think of the way my life is lived and how far removed from the image of Christ it is. I desire to realign my life with christ, but to get there i must deny my selfishness and become dependent upon Christ and Christ alone. Nothing the world offers if of value, yet Christ offers the world the only thing that is valuable. Communion with a God of love who WANTS to be with us, who IS with us. How do you find and experience this love? By becoming completely and utterly hungry for what God has, Joy...I desire to be continuously satisfied by a God of love, if i can be satisfied in Him, He WILL be glorified. God IS glory and deserves all that we have to worship Him, not as an all powerful being, but as a loving Father who desires us to passionate long to be in His presence. His presence is constant, we should live our lives with that knowledge in every aspect of life. Worship that is reverent, yet LOUD and joyful, filled with dancing and crying out to a God who WANTS US!! Oh that i should hope my selfishness will dwindle and that my joy in Christ will grow with a insatiable gravitation to His magnificent grace.

Baptism has lost it's beauty in the modern church, the imagery of the ancient church regarding this sacrament is so beautiful, i pray that we can re discover the magnitude of the glorious imagery found in this act. (as well as other sacraments) I wish to write more on this subject, yet i write this as a reminder to myself to approach this topic at a later date.