First, let me make a pitch again for people to check out the book I’m writing online and give me FEEDBACK. Ideas, arguments, support, editing … anything you’re willing to help with.
Basically, I’m just writing on a few topics that I think are either really important or really liberating, in the sense of answering nagging questions about the Scriptures. Because of the subject matter, it has a working title of Things As I See Them.
You can read the intro and get to the 4 chapters that are finished at Christian History for Everyman.
Okay … "It"
We’re out in California for a while so we can … uh … do something.
That something is hard to define. I asked one lady here what she’s looking for, and she said, "It."
She explained that she couldn’t explain "it," but that whenever we’re out here, she has it. She doesn’t know how to have it without us, so she wants us to come help her establish "it."
"I Found It" Bumper Stickers
I think it was back in the 60’s when the "I Found It" bumper stickers came out. Back then, it meant that they had been saved by King Jesus and they were excited about it.
Both back then and now, though, there is really one deeper meaning: We are craving something inwardly, something that satisfies the soul, and "it" is the satisfying of that craving. It’s the filling of that God-sized hole that Christians sometimes talk about.
I have a friend here at Rose Creek Village who told me about a rather large "home fellowship" that he had visited. I put "home fellowship" in quotes because it’s really too large to be a home fellowship. However, they eschew church buildings, and they meet house to house, so "home fellowship" fits the bill.
Anyway, that fellowship/church was everything my friend agreed with. It was what he would have pursued and tried to create.
Nonetheless, despite visiting them several times, he never felt like he should drop everything and move more than a thousand miles to be with them.
Then we came along.
We were not what he would have created. There were some odd things about us, and in some theological matters, there were significant differences, especially on the issues of works, judgment, and the role of rituals like baptism and the Lord’s supper.
Worse, there was a very serious practical difference on the subject of authority and leadership in the church.
But after we visited for one weekend, he emailed me to tell me we’d ruined everything. He couldn’t go back to his normal life. He, his family, and even a couple friends were longing to continue the fellowship we’d experienced that weekend.
What was the difference between that fellowship he visited and us?
What Is "It"
I know one thing about "it." "It" is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. "It" is supernatural. "It" comes only from heaven. You cannot create "it" on your own.
We cannot create "it," but we can preach the Gospel that is the source of "it."
The Gospel, as the apostle Paul once said, is the power of God to salvation. In it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith (Rom. 1:16-17).
The Gospel’s simple.
There is a King, chosen by God and proven to be divine and judge of all by rising from the dead. His name is Jesus, and those who believe him get to experience everything that God has from man. They get to become sons of God, partakers of his divine nature; their sins are forgiven; and they are made into brand new creatures by this King.
But don’t be mistaken. It’s no small thing to believe in King Jesus.
Jesus has no regard for the world. He has no regard for your comfort or anything else that concerns this world or your physical comforts. He has regard only to bring you into a love relationship with God and with God’s family—a relationship that goes deeper than the emotions, sinking down into your innermost being, the very depths inhabited by your spirit.
There the Spirit of God joins you to God and to everyone else that has been so joined by God.
Nothing is so satisfying; nothing is so right.
Nothing is so costly.
Consider your life over. Spiritually, you will know what you should and shouldn’t do. But that knowing is deep. It is easily overlooked by the lazy; it is easily ignored and explained away by those that find they don’t like discomfort, pain, or embarrassment.
But for those willing to suffer, it is the greatest and strongest power on earth.
You are joined to God. No one and nothing can stand against you in the will of God. You will speak in boldness to kings and princes, to presidents and governors.
Joy will sink into your soul, never to be removed.
"It" and "Us"
We all experience that in varying levels.
Together, however, we can advance in it (Eph. 4:11-16).
God’s not looking for a good program and powerful Sunday morning services. He is looking for a people, a family composed of his children, who will grow together into the full maturity of Jesus Christ—who together will give themselves up to serve as his body on earth, being joined to him in the Spirit.
Those people will be kind; those people will give; those people will lay their lives down all the time for everyone.
But those people are not about being good; they are about being joined to God. They do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, seeking to walk by laws, rules, and principles. No, they eat from the tree of life, and they are moved by the same heavenly life that mobilized Jesus the King through a life of poverty, humility, and immense power on the earth.
Those people have "it."
Others long to be joined to "it."
"It" is satisfying. "It" belongs to and comes from God.
"It" is simply paid for by dying and entering a new life.